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March 22, 2007

Hoops Suggestion for Next Year: Find Another Takais


When a college basketball coaching staff searches the JUCO ranks for a power forward, they are looking for a guy exactly like Takais Brown. A 6'8" 240 lb. grown ass man that immediately walks into a power conference and averages 14.6 points and 5.6 rebounds per game. That is success. For Georgia to accelerate the pace of its turn around, I think we need another JUCO impact player.

Why now?
We've signed several front court players for the class of 2007-2008. But I don't think any of them are going to start for Georgia next year. Assuming Mercer comes back healthy next year, our starting lineup probably looks like this:
    PG - S. Gaines
    SG - M. Mercer
    SF - T. Woodbury
    PF - T. Brown
    C - R. Singleton
Singleton improved dramatically at the defensive end from Year 1 to Year 2, but his hands, rebounding, passing and offense still need a *ton* of work. Albert Jackson (injured) is still very raw, and Dave Bliss isn't a full time solution because of his bad back. We need another somewhat polished big man who can compete in the SEC. I'm not sure Jeremy Price is that guy next year either. Hopefully, he is. In my opinion, we need another JUCU big man.

Realistically, we also need another shooter. Hopefully, Terrance Woodbury and Billy Humphrey can combine to replace Levi Stukes' outside shot. It's more realistic to hope those two find consistency in their outside game than to hope Jackson, Singleton and Bliss become SEC Caliber starters at the Center position.

Obviously, JUCO big men like Takais don't grow on trees, and I'm not confident that we're even looking for one. But I think we should consider it.

That said, one of the most reliable sources around the UGA program is "elevator" on the message board. He's a former UGA player, assistant coach and radio color man. He says Georgia is looking at two JUCO guards that are "ready to step in immediately and make a real difference." If Felton can land a scoring combo guard or swingman like Tubby landed in '96 with Katu Davis, that would be huge.

Either way, we need 1 or 2 more players who are SEC Caliber starters immediately.

See Also:
-- Signing class for 2007-2008 -



Anonymous said...

I know the Elevator. As an impressionable 9th grader at HS basketball practice, I've seen the visiting Elevator take a ball in each hand, from a dead stop at the FT line, take a couple of quick steps and launch himself at the rim, spin 180 degrees so his back is to the basket in mid-air, then proceed to slam each ball in rapid succession. Until I saw Dominique Wilkins, I never saw anyone (other than perhaps Jumpin' Joe Caldwell) who could bring the dunking thunder like the Elevator. I havent seen many in his class since.

He was a hero around the place he grew up (also the place I grew up), he was a damn good (if somewhat undersized) player at UGA, and during his brief NBA career, he made it worth showing up early to just to watch the warmup. This guy knows hoops inside and out. If he told me a mosquito could pull a plow, I'd just hitch that sucker up in a heartbeat.

I also had the pleasure of playing in a pickup game with the Elevator many years after his playing career, when almost no one else in the game at the Y knew who the stocky 40ish guy who had ambled out on the court was. Dude could still bring it, too. He wouldnt know me if he postered me, but I'm still a big fan of his.

Donn said...

Katu, I'd totally forgotten that name, but he was one of my favorites. Average shooter, but prince of the pilfer. Like a shorter, stockier Rajon Rondo.

Could you do some historical player comparison for those of us whose memory and awareness of Georgia basketball hasn't been acute, well, for obvious, on-the-court reasons? Who's the best big man to play in Athens? Claxton? After the Final Four team, did UGA even field a squad until Litterial Green showed up? What kind of player was Willie Anderson? Where is D.A. Laine's place in the pantheon? How would you rate Pertha Robinson, say, against Wright--and where does Sundiata fit in that equation?

Just curious. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

Big men are nice, and Takais has been a huge asset to the team, no question about it. But we need someone to learn to run the point like Sundiata does worse. Next year, we have Sundiata, but we need someone being groomed. You can't run anything successfully without a point.

Anonymous said...

I agree Paul, and hope that elevator is right and that we land one of the two. I don't think we need a JUCO big with Takais and Bliss being SRs, Singleton a JR, Woodbury another JR who can help at the 4 some, Jackson once he gets back to full health, as well as Price, Barnes, and Jacobs. Provided all 8 are on the roster next year, that's 8 guys listed 6'6+, not sure we've had that kind of size in a long long time. We need the guys on the roster to get better, not add news names to the list.

And donnie,---
Who's the best big man to play in Athens? Claxton?
Nah, was probably Alec Kessler. Carlos Strong had some good years, and was a mcdonald's AA. Bob Lienhard from the late 60s, early 70s era, is the best statistically.

After the Final Four team, did UGA even field a squad until Litterial Green showed up? Yeah, but none were that special. Mostly just below the bubble type teams.

What kind of player was Willie Anderson? Great, one of the best wings to ever play for the Dawgs.

Where is D.A. Laine's place in the pantheon? Good, but not near as good as it could have been if he stayed for his senior year. As is, he's arguably the best pure shooter to ever play for UGA.

How would you rate Pertha Robinson, say, against Wright--and where does Sundiata fit in that equation? Pertha was right there with Rashad, a step behind #s wise. If Rashad had gotten that trip to the tourney his jr year, we might think of him a bit differently depending on how well that team would have done. Sundiata has a chance to be right there ahead of both in my opinion. By the time he leaves, I expect Sundiata to be right there with another Big Apple-bred G, Vern Fleming, as 1-2 in UGA all-time. Rashad would be just behind them at #3. If Litterrial Green goes in as a PG instead of SG, he'd knock them all down a slot.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Egger, I agree with some and disagree with some of your selections, all which seem will thought out and argued.

Best big man in Athens? Lavon Mercer was the best defender. Alec Kessler was probably the best offensively. Terry Fair was a touch undersized, but may have been a more complete offensive/defensive/rebounding combination. Bob Lienhard was a dinosaur who couldnt compete with any of them. I'd say Kessler and Mercer were probably even, Fair a touch behind. Claxton was not at their level, though a solid player.

There were some good players after the Final Four teams, but none special, partly because our pipeline to getting McDonald's AA caliber players (Wilkins, Fleming, James Banks) had gone dry, and some of the guys we did get didnt pan out (anyone remember Toney Mack?).

Willie Anderson was, in retrospect, one of the more underrated but excellent UGA players ever. As Mr. Egger, notes, he was a great wing. What Mr. Egger may have forgotten is that before Willie's junior year, Coach Durham decided to make Willie the point guard. Count me among the skeptics, but Willie did a great job and went on to a fine NBA career (though somewhat injury plagued).

DA Layne, who I had seen play at Wheeler, was a fine player for us, but not at the top caliber of PGs, in my opinion. He was comparable to Pertha Robinson, but without the supporting cast, I would say. And, for my money, the best pure shooter I've seen at UGA was Jacky Dorsey. The guy was a chiseled 6'7" and was automatic inside 20 feet. His turnaround jumper was amazingly soft and accurate for such a big man.

Wright was a better all around PG than Robinson, neither was quite as good as Litterial Green, and Litterial was not as good as Vern (who had twice the reach and was a much better defender).

To me, Vern Fleming was the best PG I've seen at UGA. Tony Flanagan was the best pure athlete I've ever seen, though the teams he played on were generally awful. Given an equal supporting cast, I'm not sure he wouldnt have surpassed all but Fleming.

Also, some category needs to be made for Rod Cole, who was the best utility guy I've seen at UGA. Rod could play the 2, he could handle the ball in a pinch, he could guard bigger guys at the 3 if needed, and he could score. I loved his work ethic and his effort, which is not to say he was a no talent/pure hustle guy. He was a damn good player for us, and we could use another couple of guys like him.

Anonymous said...

I agree with begger that I'd rather have Katu than Takais at this point, which is to say a guard (either one with a solid overall game or a plus shooter even without much else) rather than a big. Takais certainly needs help, but (a) lightening is pretty unlikely to strike again, (b) Price, Barnes and Jacob (I know he's a 3, but if he can give minutes there, it lets Woodbury play more 4) can help on the front line, plus whatever development we get from the bigs already on the roster, and (c) we need another backcourt shooter/scorer with Levi moving on.

As for history, if you're going to go back to Leinhard, I'd throw in Tim Bassett, a defense-first big man who play several years in the NBA as a shot-blocking and rebounding specialist. Jackey Dorsey in the early 70s was an explosive scorer for two years. Walter "Stinky" Daniels who played for Guthrie and for Durham's first team was a rock solid combo guard who was the program's leading scorer until Vern Fleming broke his record (since broken by Kessler and Green).

Between the Final Four team and the 1990 SEC championship was the Era of Cedric (Henderson), a couple of year-long hyperacrimonious recruiting battle with Don DeVoe at UT (including public charges of violations), one year of solid contribution from Ced (1985) when we won a tournament game and got beat by a good Illinois team, and then a lingering stench of grade and recruiting issues, that, coupled with Jan Kemp, never really went away for High.

Anonymous said...

ah, yes, how can I forget the infamous Cedric Henderson era?

I knew someone who was very close to the program in those days who swore that Coach Durham tasked Joe Ward to drag Cedric to class (with only moderate success). Lots of major basketball powers wanted him, UGA got him, and we got one decent year out of him. Odd case.

Tim Bassett went to the old ABA first, and hung around a couple of years after the merger. Walter Daniels was a good combo guard; he, too, was cursed with playing on mostly mediocre/flawed teams, but a very solid player and (far as I ever heard) a good guy.

The Jan Kemp era coincided with a dropoff in basketball recruiting (you decide if it was a coincidence that rising academic standards crimped UGA's ability to draw players versus other, somewhat less challenging academic environments). There was a surprising team of overachievers in 1990 (3 wins over Shaq and that crazy man, Dale Brown), but mostly, UGA never was able to capitalize on the Final Four team under Durham; for a little while, though, it really seemed like UGA was on the verge of breaking into a regular top 20 spot.

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