The Georgia Bulldogs (1-0) played their first game of what surely will be one of the strangest and most chaotic seasons in recent memory. After having the originally scheduled Gardner-Webb game cancelled due to covid, the Dawgs maneuvered quickly to invite the FAMU Rattlers for an impromptu basketball game on Sunday. Totally normal, right? This is 2020.
Without a doubt, this is the least informed I’ve felt in regards to the makeup of a Georgia roster. One-and-done Anthony Edwards is gone, along with recent UGA basketball household names like Rayshaun Hammonds, Jordan Harris and Tyree Crump. The Dawgs returned two starters from last year’s squad that finished 13th in the SEC; Tom Crean added five transfers to the team (3 grad and 2 JUCOs). This UGA squad will be a work in progress for likely the remainder of the season as all these different pieces learn to play with and off one another.
The one player that Tom Crean has to feel the most confident in this year is sophomore point guard Sahvir Wheeler. Coming off a freshman season in which he averaged 9 points and 4.5 assists a game, Wheeler is the best candidate to be the leader of this bunch. On Sunday afternoon against FAMU, Wheeler gave UGA fans a reason to be excited for this upcoming year as he notched a double-double with 12 points and 12 assists (to go along with 3 steals). FAMU struggled to stay in front of the Georgia sophomore as he found himself in the Rattlers’ paint for most of the game. Wheeler’s ability to innovate and facilitate offense should keep Georgia competitive in a lot of contests this year.
The most pleasant surprise of the day had to the production that Crean got from junior Tye Fagan and senior Andrew Garcia. Fagan provided his team with a double-double as well with his 21 points and 10 boards. Fagan is just an absolute joy to watch play as he is in constant motion on offense. The junior moved well without the ball against the Rattlers, which led to a number of buckets off of backdoor cuts. He also found himself the benefactor of 4 offensive boards, something Fagan has had a knack for during his time in Athens.
Garcia, the grad transfer from Stony Brook, led all scorers with 22 points. The senior netted over 13 points a game last season, so he seemed like an obvious candidate to help shore up some of the scoring load vacated by Antman and Hammonds, who provided over 42% of Georgia’s offense a year ago. While only 6’6″, Garcia looks comfortable playing with his back to the basket, and his wide frame and controlled movements made him effective against the FAMU interior.
Three-point shooting, which has been a shortfall of the Tom Crean era, looks as though it could be a handicap for the Dawgs again this season. FAMU held UGA to under 23% from beyond the arc on Sunday in Athens. Justin Kier, who transferred in from George Mason, seems like Georgia’s only legitimate three-point threat. The senior connected on over 45% of his triple attempts last year, and he made 2 of 4 from the outside today. Hopefully for Crean’s sake Kier remains consistent from beyond the arc or this team may not find many points from the three-point line.
Up next: Jacksonville Dolphins
Postseason prediction: Too early