Donte Williams’ importance and a quick look at future Bulldog Kenny Gaines

The significance of Donte Williams

Sophomore Donte Williams has grown tremendously as a player for Coach Mark Fox since setting foot on the UGA campus last season.  This year, Williams has established himself as Georgia’s most consistent offensive and defensive weapon in the paint, and he is currently 8th in the SEC in blocked shots at 1.8 per contest.  In Saturday’s huge upset of the then-ranked #12 Florida Gators, Williams set a personal best with 6 blocked shots.

Donte clearly has the mentality of a shot-blocker, making his best effort to swat anything near the rim.  However, Williams has found himself in quite a lot of foul trouble this season, which is common for aggressive post defenders.  When Williams has gotten himself into the foul trouble this year, his Georgia team has suffered mightily.

The Dawgs are just 2-10 in games this season in which Williams commits 4 or more fouls.  Conversely, UGA’s record is 11-5 when he only manages to pick up 3 or less fouls.

A similar trend can be found in conference games as well, with Georgia going just 1-7 in games when Donte commits 4 or more fouls, compared to their 3-3 record in games that see him get 3 or less personals.

The Bulldogs definitely need Donte Williams to block shots, but they need him on the court more than anything with their lack of inside depth.

Kenny Gaines preview

Two weekends ago I had the opportunity to catch the first quarter of the Region 9A tournament finals between Whitfield Academy and Landmark Christian.  The star player on Whitfield is one Kenny Gaines, who signed a letter of intent back in November to play basketball for Coach Mark Fox in Athens.

I actually saw Gaines play once last season in a rivalry game at Paideia High School – he went for 20 points in his team’s victory.

Watching Gaines warm-up before the Region Championship game last Saturday, I immediately noticed his smooth perimeter jumper; he must have made well over 50% of his warm-up three pointers.  Gaines, who is listed at 6’3″, already has a strong upper body, which enables him to shoot the ball rather effortlessly from long-range.

Once the game started, the “Kenny Gaines Show” really began.  Gaines had three dunks in the first quarter, with one of them being particularly monstrous – he drove baseline and then proceeded to take off on two feet from just inside the lane, flushing the ball down on the Landmark defender.

Defensively, Gaines is equally tenacious, using his athleticism to hound the opposing Landmark guards.  He did a great job of maintaining a low defensive stance, and I don’t recall anyone that he guarded scoring in the first 8 minutes of the game.

If you could somehow take Travis Leslie’s frame along with most of his athleticism, and then throw in Dustin Ware’s outside shot, the end result would be something similar to Kenny Gaines.

Needless to say, I am very excited about what this kid will bring to the table for the Dawgs next season.