Former UGA basketball signees abound in college basketball today

Over the past few years the Georgia Bulldogs Men’s basketball team has had a number of signees transfer to other schools for various reasons.  The five players that have left the program in the last three years – Zac Swansey, DeMario Mayfield, Ebuka Anyaorah, Daniel Miller and Cady Lalanne – would actually make a pretty decent starting five at a mid-major program.

Here is what these guys have been up to since leaving Athens:

Zac Swansey (Senior PG)

Swansey presumably left Georgia in search of playing time after losing the starting point guard job to Dustin Ware during the 2008-2009 season.  He ended up with the Tennessee Tech Golden Eagles where he has excelled at running this team’s offense over the past two seasons.  Swansey, a preseason All-Ohio Valley Second Team selection, is currently averaging 7.7 points, 6 assists and 2.4 steals per game, and his assists and steals numbers have him ranked  17th and 13th nationally in those two categories, respectively.

Demario Mayfield (Sophomore G)

Mayfield played just one year under Coach Mark Fox before deciding to take his talents elsewhere.  The 6’5″ sophomore from Royston, Georgia landed a starting role on the Charlotte 49ers of the Atlantic 10 conference.  This season Mayfield has really come into his own, netting 10.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per contest.

Ebuka Anyaorah (Junior G)

Like Mayfield, EA left Georgia after his freshman season, which was also Coach Fox’s first year as the Bulldogs’ head coach.  Anyaorah played a year of JUCO basketball before signing with the North Carolina Central Eagles, a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.  EA starts for NCCU and he is averaging just under 10 points per game.  His best game of the season thus far came against East Carolina when he went for 25 points; EA also scored 14 and 13 against Wake Forest and North Carolina State, respectively.

Daniel Miller (Sophomore C)

The 6’11” sophomore originally signed with Dennis Felton, but decided to leave in the off-season after Felton had been fired and Fox was given the head coaching job.  Miller transferred to in-state rival Georgia Tech where he is enjoying a nice second season under Coach Brian Gregory, scoring 7.7 points per game to go along with 6.3 boards.  In the Jackets win over the Dawgs in Athens this season, Miller dropped 10 points and snagged 9 rebounds.  He scored most of his points on an array of hook-shots and short jumpers, and he looked more skilled offensively than any big wearing the red and black.

Cady Lalanne (Freshman F-C)

Lalanne was Coach Mark Fox’s first commit as the UGA coach, but due to his test scores and deficient high school course work he was deemed a non-qualifier by the SEC, meaning that he could not attend Georgia.  After sitting out a season, Lalanne – ranked the No. 21 power forward coming out of high school by Rivals.com – signed on with UMASS, joining DeMario Mayfield in the A10.  The 6’9″, 250-pound Lalanne was named to the 2011-2012 A10 Preseason All-Rookie Team, and before suffering a broken foot in January he was certainly living up to the hype.  In his first 14 games of college basketball, Cady was ultra-productive in the paint for the Minutemen, averaging 6.7 points and 5.6 rebounds in just 14.9 minutes of play per game.  Losing Lalanne back in 2010 probably hurt the UGA basketball program more than was expected at the time, since he surely would be the Dawgs’ most significant inside presence this year.

I’m glad that all of the five aforementioned players were able to move on to successful basketball careers after departing the Bulldogs.  However, it is a shame that they weren’t able to develop into the players that they are today in a Georgia uniform.

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Roster Changes and Recruiting

Demario Mayfield and Drazen Zlovaric have asked to be released from their scholarships and will be transferring out of Athens before next season.

I am sad to see Mayfield leave, as I thought he showed a lot of promise (especially in the win against Florida) as a 6’4″ slasher with nice hops and strength. I am only speculating, but I am guessing that he felt that he should have gotten more playing time this year like his fellow freshman teammate Abuka Anyaorah – Demario only averaged 6.5 minutes a game. The addition of Gerald Robinson, Jr. to next year’s roster did not bode well for Mayfield’s PT either.

As far as Drazen (7.2 minutes/game) is concerned, best of luck to him. I didn’t really see where he fit into Coach Fox’s system – he’s not a very good outside shooter (26.3% from the field) and turned the ball over a bit much – but hopefully for his sake he will move on to greener (more Mid-Majory) pastures.

The one positive to take away from Mayfield leaving is that I think that it could be an indicator that Travis Leslie will be coming back for his junior year. Neither Leslie nor Trey Thompkins has officially stated whether they will enter their names into the NBA Draft pool, but with Mayfield’s departure I am more confident that Leslie will be back since they play the same wing position.

I am not as confident in Thompkins returning for his junior season – right now I’d say it’s about 50/50 (and man do I hope that I am wrong!). I scoured a lot of NBA blogs the past couple of days, and there is a growing consensus that if Trey entered the 2010 NBA Draft he could work his way into a lottery pick.

ESPN now has him listed as “late first round to early second”.

The latest 2010 mock draft has Patrick Patterson of Kentucky going 8th. In my opinion, Trey has a lot more upside than Patterson, and should he decide to enter this draft I could see him moving ahead of Patterson on draft day.

At the very least I fully expect Thompkins to enter his name into the 2010 Draft pool, with the option to withdraw by May 8th as long as he hasn’t hired an agent.

Picture this starting lineup for the 2010-2011 season – PG Dustin Ware; SG – Gerald Robinson, Jr.; F – Travis Leslie; F – Chris Barnes; F – Jeremy Price.

Not an awful starting five by any means, but I don’t see a Thompkins-less Dawgs squad winning more than 5 SEC games next year.

On the recruiting front, Coach Fox has locked up an official visit from Donte Williams. Williams is a 6’9″ center from Miller Grove High School in Lithonia, GA. Scout.com has Williams listed as a two-star recruit, with offers from Georgia, Auburn, Georgia State and Virginia Commonwealth.

His Miller Grove team won back-to-back state AAAA championships his junior and senior years.

I actually saw this kid play in the AAAA Region-6 championship game against Chamblee High School. He is REALLY THIN – Williams is 6’9″, yet only weighs 200 lbs (and that could be generous). I think he is probably being looked at as a “project” by most schools, and should he decide to become a Bulldog then his first order of business should be to live at the dining hall for the first semester.