Hoop Dawgs

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Brandon Morris’s arrest a crushing blow to UGA’s basketball momentum

with 5 comments

In case you missed it, Brandon Morris was arrested over the weekend on a felony marijuana charge. Coach Mark Fox declined to comment on the situation, and Morris will face disciplinary actions from UGA’s Athletic Association Comprehensive Action committee, most likely sooner rather than later.

The best case scenario for Morris and the UGA basketball program is that this is the young man’s first marijuana offense, potentially resulting in a suspension of 10% of next season’s competition, or roughly 3 games. The first game listed on the schedule – which is still a work in progress – for next year is Georgia Tech on November 14th in Atlanta. The Dawgs played without Morris last season against the Jackets in Athens in a game that Georgia dropped 80-71, marking the team’s third straight loss to Tech.

The fact that Morris missed the first three games of last season, which equals exactly 10% of the 30 games that the team played, makes me somewhat suspicious that his transgression last year was marijuana-related as well. If that turns out to be the case, then Morris will be suspended for 30% of next season’s schedule, or about 9 games. I call this possible outcome the “second-best but still not so great” scenario.

Missing 9 games would force Georgia to begin the season without one of its starters from a year ago, meaning that the Dawgs would take on the Jackets, the preseason NIT and potentially both Colorado and Seton Hall, all without Morris’s services.

Georgia basketball enjoyed a major turnaround last year, winning 20 games and finishing 12-6 in the Southeastern Conference, and Brandon Morris was a big part of the team’s success. His height and length make him a tough defender, and he has a knack for slashing and getting the ball to the rim. Morris was the third-leading scorer for Coach Fox last season at 8.6 points per game, doubling his offensive production from his freshman campaign.

Losing Morris for nearly a third of the season would be a major blow to this team’s NCAA tournament aspirations, which were dampened this past season by a weak RPI (76) that was weighed down by some early season losses to Tech, Davidson and Temple. If Mark Fox’s team hopes to dance in 2015, they must avoid the out of conference letdowns that plagued them a year ago.

Of course another possible outcome for the Morris is that he is kicked off the team, leaving UGA with his shoes to fill for the entire season.

Right now, everything regarding Brandon’s situation is pure speculation, and until a judgment comes out from the aforementioned committee Morris’s fate will remain up in the air. One thing is certain though, and that is that he will miss some games next year, meaning that Fox will have a shallower bench at his disposal.

Without Morris, Georgia could look to Cameron Forte, who showed flashes of scoring ability in his first year in Athens. However, Forte’s defense was a major liability that kept him off the court for significant chunks of time last season, and if he cannot guard better this year Fox will have to get creative with his lineup by playing a smaller group that includes J.J. Frazier, Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann.

The Dawgs will definitely be dealing with some sort of setback from this incident when they kick off next year, but hopefully it won’t be enough to change the outcome of the season.

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Written by hoopdawg

July 14, 2014 at 10:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , ,

5 Responses

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  1. …and he’s gone. First we lose an NIT home match, then we lose our #3. Sigh.

    Harlem Bill

    July 14, 2014 at 12:09 pm

    • I just saw that – not much time for speculation, hey? Definitely a tough loss for UGA basketball…

      hoopdawg

      July 14, 2014 at 12:41 pm

  2. Forte and Maten (maybe little later) are going to have to do the job. This is clearly a bad loss as I thought Brandon might just break out next season. We may still be ok however if we get some solid senior leadership from Neme and Marcus. And who knows, maybe Geno will rise to the occasion. But there is no way around it–it is hard to spin this as anything but a big negative.

    Hoops Dawg

    July 14, 2014 at 12:54 pm

  3. I respect the hope about Neme, and Lord knows I’m a huge Neme fan, but he’s regressed each year. He’ll have that one or two games that gives us hope, then he’ll go 1 for 10 from three point range and foul out while getting ram hammered underneath by someone two inches smaller.

    Tyler Dawgden

    July 14, 2014 at 1:01 pm

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