The season-opener against Mississippi Valley State is just a little over a week away.
The Georgia Men’s Basketball team has been receiving praise all summer from ESPN analysts Andy Katz, Doug Gottlieb and Dick Vitale. The general consensus is that this is a team that should work its way into the Top 25 and make some noise in the NCAA Tournament.
Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie were named to the preseason All-SEC First Team, and Thompkins was voted the preseason SEC Player of the Year.
This Dawgs basketball team definitely doesn’t lack star power – Thompkins and Leslie should both excel during their junior seasons (most likely their last at Georgia). Last year, Thompkins averaged 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds a game; Leslie added 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds. Those are both excellent stat lines, and I expect similar numbers from both of them this season. However, the potential of this year’s team hinges upon the other six or seven guys playing around them.
If you remember from last season, the Dawgs’ offense usually (and abruptly) went into neutral whenever Thompkins came out of the game – whether it be for a quick rest or because of foul trouble (see the Auburn game).
Who is going to step up on offense for Coach Mark Fox this year when Big Trey is on the bench? Of if he, dare I say, is having an off night?
Gerald Robinson, Jr.
Robinson seems to be the obvious choice when thinking of a third scoring option for this year’s Dawgs team – there has been a lot of buzz from practice about both his speed and explosiveness. He scored over a 1,000 points in just two seasons at Tennessee State, while leading the team his sophomore year with 17.8 points per contest. The question is: can he be effective without Trey on the court? My guess is yes. While at TSU, he averaged 17.1 points in out-of-conference clashes against Georgia Tech, Indiana, Vanderbilt, Illinois, Alabama and Kentucky.
Last year, Price averaged 7.2 points and 4 rebounds a game in what was somewhat of an up-and-down season for him. He went into double-figures in scoring nine times, yet there was an eleven game stretch during the middle of the year where he didn’t top 9 points. He came on strong towards the end of the SEC regular season, scoring 44 points in games against Vanderbilt, Florida and Kentucky. During this stretch, Price was aggressive and attacked the basket on offense. With opposing defenses most likely keying in on Thompkins and Leslie, Price should be able to get open often on the opposite block. The senior from Decatur has the potential become a regular double-digit scorer for Coach Fox this season.
At first glance, it may appear that the insertion of Gerald Robinson, Jr. into the Dawgs lineup would hurt Dustin Ware’s production. However, Coach Fox has already stated that the two of them will be playing together on the floor quite a lot. With Robinson running the point and slashing to the basket, Ware should find himself primed to take over Ricky McPhee’s role of “Three-Point Specialist”. Last season, Ware averaged 8.2 points per game and knocked down an impressive 37.2% of his shots from beyond the arc. Ware will be open for a lot of field goal attempts this year with opposing guards helping and double-teaming Thompkins on the block.
Will the points come from somebody else? Maybe highly touted freshman Marcus Thornton? Or senior power forward Chris Barnes?