One of the renovations that Georgia fans will quickly notice as they enter Stegeman Coliseum this season to cheer on the Dawgs is the new wall-to-wall mural that sits above the scoreboard, hovering over the student section.
The artwork features former UGA stars from the men’s and women’s basketball teams, along with several former gymnasts (disclosure: I cannot name any current or former Gym Dawg, so apologies for that).
Going from left to right, the first two men’s basketball players, Kentavious Caldwell Pope and Jarvis Hayes, both seem like excellent choices. Even though KCP and Jarvis only played two seasons each in Athens, they both made immediate impacts in the scoring column while donning the red and black. Jarvis was named First-Team All-SEC both years, and KCP made it once. KCP is currently in the midst of building a solid NBA resume, while Hayes played 7 seasons in the league before moving on to greener pastures. Hayes also led probably the most talented UGA basketball team since the early 80’s during the 2002-2003 season, although that team’s campaign was cut short due to Jim Harrick running amok.
By choosing KCP and Hayes for the graphic, UGA covered both the early and recent 2000’s, meaning that an obvious choice for the third and final former Dawg would be someone from the pre-high-speed internet era. But the people behind this renovation decided to immortalize Marcus Thornton instead (me thinks Mark Fox had some input into this). Nothing against Marcus, he had a solid senior season, averaging over 12 points and 7 boards a game en route to a All-SEC Second-Team selection. But is he really who UGA fans think of when they recollect on former Georgia basketball greats?
Here are some other names I might have considered:
‘Nique is definitely the most obvious choice. I mean, he is 4th on the all-time UGA scoring leaders list, even though he played just three seasons. Wilkins was a First-Team All-SEC selection twice, and he was named a Second-Team All-American two times as well. A nine-time NBA All-Star and Hall of Famer, the Human Highlight Film also ranks 13th on the league’s all time scoring leaders. For you young bucks, here’s a clip of some of Nique’s best dunks (#6 is particularly nasty):
Vern Fleming might be less of a household name than Dominique, but his accomplishments while at UGA were remarkable. A two-time All-American and First-Team All-SEC selection, Fleming ranks third on Georgia’s all-time scoring leaders. He also captained the Dawgs’ 1983 Final Four team, which still marks the deepest a Bulldog team has advanced in the Big Dance. After Georgia, Fleming played 11 years in the NBA.
Kessler ranks 2nd among the Dawgs’ all-time scoring leaders, and he was named an All-American in 1990. Kessler was also twice named to the All-SEC First-Team, though his four-year NBA career was much less glamorous than his time in Athens.
Overall, I like the idea of the artwork, I’m just questioning some of it’s content. Any thoughts?