About that new mural inside of Stegeman

img_0058

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:

Dominique Wilkins

‘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

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.

Alec Kessler

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?

Advertisements

Welcome back Georgia basketball

The Georgia Bulldogs returned to the hard courts for the first time since galavanting this summer throughout Spain, where UGA won all of its exhibitions.  In tonight’s exhibition game, the Dawgs played host to the Fort Valley State Wildcats, a team hailing from the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC).

The Wildcats were undersized and overmatched, and the Dawgs dismantled them inside Stegeman by a count of 94-38.  Even though this game meant nothing in regards to the win-loss column, Mark Fox’s team definitely showed up with a sense of purpose defensively, holding Fort Valley to under 25% from the field.  UGA subbed at an incredible rate, even for Fox, yet for the most part everyone who came in entered the game prepared to work on the defensive end.  The Wildcats had managed just 2 points after nearly ten minutes of game time had eclipsed.

Offensively, Georgia was led by Yante Maten, who looked like a man among boys on Thursday.  Maten scored a game-high 19 points on an array of hooks and dunks, and he even added a three.  After being selected to the preseason All-SEC Second Team, Maten certainly appears poised for a big junior season.

UGA’s other star, senior J.J. Frazier, who was a All-SEC First Team selection, scored only 9 points.  However, Frazier played sparingly, and he did have a nice stretch in the second half when he buried a series of three-pointers.

Both Maten and Frazier are two of Georgia’s known commodities, though.  Tonight, fans headed to Stegeman to see some of the new Bulldog players as well as some of last year’s returning sophomores.  The biggest surprise on the night had to be the play of freshman guard Tyree Crump, who comes from the same hometown as Kirby Smart: Bainbridge, Georgia.  The rumors circling around Crump after the trip to Spain were that he could get hot from the perimeter, and the freshman did not disappoint on Thursday.  Crump actually missed his first two attempts from beyond the arc, prompting Fox to sub him out. However, before a stoppage of play could occur, Crump knocked down a pair of three’s to get himself in the scoring column.  He hit two more three-pointers in the second half, and Crump also scored on a nice drive off the dribble.  Kenny Paul Geno and Juwan Parker may have started this game, but do not be surprised if Crump doesn’t play himself into one of the starting spots as the season progresses.

But in the end, it’s important to remember that tonight’s game was merely a surface-level look into this year’s UGA basketball team.  The Dawgs played a ton of guys, and their opponent resembled nothing of what the competition will look like next Friday when Georgia opens at Clemson.  Coach Fox does have two bonafide stars at his disposal in Frazier and Maten, though, and he appears to have a deeper bench than in years past.