Role Play

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.

Jeremy Price

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.

Dustin Ware

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.

Somebody Else?

Will the points come from somebody else?  Maybe highly touted freshman Marcus Thornton?  Or senior power forward Chris Barnes?

Any thoughts?



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15 thoughts on “Role Play

      1. Thanks, Hoop… it goes both ways. I really like your blog and look forward to your posts. And I’m truly excited to see Robinson this season after what Trey said about him. This will be a stellar season for a super-talented team (not to mention led by a super sly Fox) 😉
        Let’s Dance! Woof-woof!

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  1. I think Price is going to be a big scorer this year. I’ll put his over/under PPG at 14.

    This blog is timely as far as talking about how the Dawgs will fare with Trey on the sidelines. It looks like we could be playing without him for 2 to 4 weeks due to a high ankle sprain.

    Hopefully starting without Trey will get the backups plenty of PT and they will be experienced to contribute off the bench later.

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    1. My thoughts exactly Decatur Dawg. Don’t we also have another big (tall) freshman project in residence. This injury may also give him some PT that will aid his development (looking for any bright side here).

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  2. we need Trey back by the St. louis game to get one game under his belt before we go to Orlando and send a message to the rest of the country that we are a force to be reckoned with this year.

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  3. Anyone else see tonight’s exhibition against Augusta State? Robinson looked great–a double-double in probably about 17-20 minutes of playing time. Ware might prove to be very good in the “2” position if he workls a little harder than he did tonight to get open. Thornton looked about like I expected him to –solid but a long way away from being a force against SEC competition (although in all fairness, he’s had, what, 3 weeks of practice in CMF’s system?).The biggest surprise (for me at least) was that Donte Williams was much, much more athletic than I expected him to be. I have to keep reminding myself of who we were playing, but I’m much more comfortable with the D. Williams signing than I was when it was announced. Now just get the man into the weight room!!

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    1. Thanks for the update…I wasn’t able to make it to the game, but did see that Robinson had 12 points and 10 assists in only 20 minutes – pretty impressive regardless of who you are playing.

      I saw that Connor Nolte started and played 31 minutes? That seems a little shocking…I hope to see Robinson starting next Friday night against Miss Valley St.

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  4. I can’t wait for January 8th when we kick off the SEC schedule at home against Kentucky. That’s when things are going to get as intense as those four guys who wore the spandex outfits to the Steg last year.

    I think Leslie and Robinson Jr. might bring the Hawks’ “Highlight Factory” nickname to Athens.

    Speaking of nicknames, I hope Robinson earns one as good as the “Elevator from Decatur.”

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  5. I feel like if we can keep Barnes and Price on the floor while Thompkins is out, it will create enough of an inside presence for Robinson, Brantley, Thornton and Ware to get to the basket with regularity. While I don’t think we will get a bona fide third option, the combination of Ware, Robinson and Thornton will create at least 25 points a game. So if we can just get some scoring from Price and some non-dunks from Barnes, it will just be icing in the cake.

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