A plea to the UGA Athletic Association

The empty “Elite Eight” banner remains an eyesore inside of Stegeman Coliseum.

While the University of Georgia’s men’s basketball team has been competing at the collegiate level for over a century, the program’s history and tradition can be described as anything but “storied”.  In all of those years, the Dawgs have managed to reach the NCAA Tournament just eleven times – and two of those appearances – 1985 and 2002 – have since been vacated by the NCAA for rules violations (check out Jim Harrick’s Wikipedia for further details on 2002).

Georgia’s deepest runs in the tournament came in 1996, when Pertha Robinson carried UGA into the Sweet Sixteen before falling to Syracuse; and, the most glorious Bulldog postseason occurred in 1983 under the tutelage of Hugh Durham, who along with on-court leaders Vern Fleming and Terry Fair saw Georgia reach the Final Four for the only time in school history.

Other than these few and fleeting moments of success, the UGA basketball program has for the most part resided in mediocrity.  ESPN recently released a ranking of the top 309 basketball programs using a scoring system that they developed to analyze the past 50 years of competition – the network pitted Georgia at 171, just after American, Alcorn State and San Diego, yet immediately ahead of Mississippi Valley State, Akron, Lafeyette and Oregon.

Honestly, this ranking seems just about right for UGA.  In the past decade, the Dawgs’ have made just one showing in the polls (#24 in the AP during the 2010-2011 season).

Now don’t get me wrong – I am excited about the direction that Coach Mark Fox is moving this team, and I think that the Bulldogs have a brighter future ahead.

I am writing this entry as a plea to the UGA Athletic Association, begging them to please make an addition to one of the banners that hangs inside of Stegeman Coliseum.  Specifically, I am referring to the “Elite Eight” banner, which currently showcases a blank slate.  However, this situation can be rectified.  As aforementioned, the Dawgs did in fact play and win in the 1983 Elite Eight round, meaning that this banner is deserved of some ink.

While this request may seem meaningless and meager, I think that it would provide a small boost to the UGA fans, players and future recruits.  Having a blank banner is embarrassing to the school and the program, and I can’t imagine that it helps in any way, shape or form to bring in a recruit so that he may gaze upon its empty canvas.

Basketball Dawgs get their second 2013 commitment

J.J. Frazier finally has some company in the 2013 UGA basketball recruiting class, as two-star guard Juwan Parker chose Georgia over Memphis and Stanford, according to ESPN.

At 6’4″ and 190 pounds, Parker plays the two-guard position – ESPN’s scouting report of the high school senior states that “Parker has a solid handle and is a good shooter with range to 20 feet”.

Coach Mark Fox now has two verbal commitments for 2013, both of the two-star variety.  Fox must feel pretty comfortable with his young frontcourt because most of his offers right now are to guard/wing-type players.

Georgia has made an offer to 5-star center Kennedy Meeks of Charlotte, North Carolina, as well as 4-star power forward Jarquez Smith from Haddock, Georgia.

ESPN Highlights Georgia’s Italy Trip

Coach Mark Fox and his Georgia Bulldogs’ basketball vacation in Italy last week caught the eye of ESPN College Basketball guru Andy Katz, who focused on the Dawgs in one of his segments in his weekly 3-Point-Shot column.

The most exciting news for UGA basketball fans has to be that sophomore Tim Dixon (who was rarely used last season) tallied 9 points and 9 rebounds per game in Italy.  If Dixon can put up similar numbers in SEC play this year he would provide much-needed support and depth to a Georgia frontline that will be entering the season with a lot of question marks.

The only portion of the paragraph that might leave Dawgs fans questioning Katz’s knowledge of the team came towards the end of the piece in which he states the following:

“Marcus Thornton, arguably the team’s best player, didn’t play because he hadn’t been cleared since having surgery in the spring.”

I would say that as long as Kentavious-Caldwell Pope is donning the Red and Black that I would have to argue with Mr. Katz that KCP is in fact UGA’s best player.

Next season, Coach Fox is going to need to figure out a way to get offensive production from the guard position after losing his senior backcourt of Gerald Robinson, Jr. and Dustin Ware.  I am somewhat concerned that Vincent Williams wasn’t mentioned in this article (or any of CMF’s tweets during his time in Italy) as I think he will be the starting point guard to open up the season.

All and all, it sounds as though this trip provided a lot of good experience for several of Georgia’s players who as of right now haven’t had much of it.

UGA basketball news and such

First off – let me apologize for the long layoff from the blogosphere.  As many of you probably already know, college basketball tends to really cool off once the tournament ends in March and summer ensues.  However, since the Georgia Bulldogs Men’s basketball team is off in Italy taking gondolas to games and snacking on gelato, I figured that somebody stateside needed to update the fan base on the most recent UGA basketball news.

Apparently Coach Mark Fox’s team knocked off a squad just outside of Venice 83-58 last night.  While the competition is probably rather light in the Old Country, the greatest benefit of this experience is that for weeks leading up to the trip Fox was allowed to hold actual practices with this year’s team (coaches are not typically allowed to interact with their team during the summer so this is a huge benefit for a young team).  Newcomers like Kenny Gaines, Charles Mann and Brandon Morris had the opportunity to get their first live practice reps inside Stegeman Coliseum.

The Legends Classic bracket was finalized today with Georgia hosting Youngstown State and Southern Mississippi in Athens before heading to Brooklyn, New York to take on the likes of Georgetown, UCLA and/or Indiana.  Youngstown’s most famous alumni would be Ed O’Neal, who played “Al Bundy” on the hit television show Married With Children.  Southern Miss’s most notable alumni is probably Brett Favre, who played an NFL quarterback until he retired and became preoccupied by the camera function on his smart phone.

The Dawgs‘ recruiting list on ESPN can be found here.  Out of all of these players, it would be nice to see Fox advance UGA’s presence within the state amongst bigs by luring four-star recruit Jarquez Smith, a 6’9″ power forward from Haddock, GA.

If anyone else has any more recruiting news that ESPN has not shared please post it in the comments section below.