Category Archives: College Hoops
Jason Smith shares his thoughts on round ball.
The offseason is like crack for me.
I love it. I love everything about it. The peace. The calm. Relief from an utterly decimated emotional life. And then there’s also the “Price is Right” of sports: College Recruiting.
What’s not to love?
This year I needed the offseason really badly. When the final seconds ticked off the clock at the Gator Bowl, sealing Georgia’s ignominious showing against Nebraska, I didn’t feel any sadness. I certainly didn’t feel happy, but I also didn’t feel any anger. There was only one emotion I felt.
This cruel, hateful, king-douche of a season was finally over. Then UGA upset Missouri in basketball.
Then they kept on winning.
Now I won’t lie to you, I’m not ashamed to admit that I love UGA basketball. I immensely enjoyed my time in Stegeman Coliseum as a student. I can honestly say that I wanted the UGA basketball team to live up to its potential almost as much as I wanted Mark Richt to win a National Title. But I was always disappointed and so I stopped caring. Instead, I used that new gap to recover from football, watch the Masters, and enjoy the sweet sound of my March Madness bracket getting blasted to smithereens.
If they keep winning I might have to start caring about UGA basketball this year, and it’s killing me.
For two reasons:
1. UGA might actually make the tournament….so that they can then lose in the first round and dash my hopes on a jagged rock.
The SEC is as down as it will ever be. It is Florida and Kentucky then everybody else, and the “everybody else” is a cringe-inducing list of tournament résumés.
UGA is currently 10-8 overall following an all-out smackdown in Rupp Arena, but there is reason to hope they still have a shot at the tournament. As I said before, everyone is beatable this year. They’ve had their shot at Florida and Kentucky and come up short, but they still play LSU twice, Ole Miss at home, and Mizzou at home. Finish third in the SEC (a real possibility if you win the games I just listed) with some decent quality wins and you could make the tournament.
Now this sets up my second reason, and you’re not gonna like it.
2.) Even if UGA were to make the tournament I still think UGA should fire Mark Fox.
But he’ll probably earn an extra year if UGA makes the tournament…only to then lose in the first round and kick my hopes in the no-no place again.
So why should UGA fire Mark Fox? One word: Atlanta.
With Atlanta as a recruiting bed UGA should make the tournament every year. Even if you only manage to grab one of the top-10 players from Atlanta you’ll have the type of raw talent that is necessary to do more than just make the tournament. If you get two a year you’re building something real. If you own the state of Georgia the sky is the limit.
It is clear from his tenure that Mark Fox and his staff can’t get UGA over the hump in recruiting. He is proving this year that he is not a half bad X’s and O’s guy, but that’s not much of an asset with the low talent level of players UGA typically attracts. You need a coach that can make a splash. Fox just isn’t that guy.
But if he makes the tournament—losing in the first round and subsequently disemboweling all of my hopes—we’ll have to give him another year.
Now, one last point.
After we make the tournament (only to lose in the…well, you get it) who should we hire?
You’re really not going to like this…
3.) UGA should go get Bruce Pearl.
Now before you say that Fox is the polar opposite of Pearl let’s remember a few things: when Fox dressed up as a member of the Spike Squad during football season he was pulling a “Bruce Pearl.”
While Fox took a laughingstock of a program (Nevada) and made them a perennial tournament team, Pearl took the same caliber team and made them an Elite Eight team and, at one point, the number one team in the country. Finally, Bruce Pearl is an insanely good recruiter. He is not, however, a good liar.
You know who else wasn’t a great liar? Jim Harrick. He and his son committed egregious academic fraud while coaching at UGA. Bruce Pearl hosted a barbeque, got ratted out by Aaron Craft, and then (stupidly) tried to cover it up. He was then fired by an athletic director that is now almost unanimously considered to be one of the more incompetent AD’s in Tennessee’s history.
I think Pearl will work out fine.
UGA basketball can be good. It might even be great one day. But until we have a guy like Pearl in a red blazer I really, really don’t want to care. If we keep winning I will have to, and it is killing me.
I need my offseason back.
ABC is slowly transitioning into live-broadcasting via iPhone and iPad applications. So now new Georgia Grad Assistant Christian Robinson and I will be able to not only watch old episode of “The Bachelor” on the app (we’ve had that capability for a while) but also watch new ones as they air.
The new wave of awesome is starting in the Philly and NYC markets and expected to expand based on negotiations with local affiliates. It’s hard to picture the “live” stream not including “live” college football. Live is live.
We may soon live in a world that allows us to watch Brent Musburger ogle Katherine Webb (a 7 at best on the College QB Star Girlfriend Scale) on our own cell phones. Technology is the best!
That’s all I got/
Despite my high hopes for his return, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has declared for the NBA Draft. Through a statement released by the University he said:
I want to thank the University of Georgia for all it has done for me. I want to thank my coaches, teammates and fans for the love and support.
His production on the court last season was hard to argue with – 18.5 poins, 7.1 rebounds, 2.0 steals, 1.8 assists per game – as he was named SEC Player of the Year.
NBADraft.net (my go-to source for NBA Draft stuff) has KCP listed 17th on their Big Board. They have him going 17th to Phoenix in their latest mock (updated 04/10/2013).
ESPN’s Chad Ford has Caldwell-Pope as the 20th best player and the sixth best shooting guard in the class. He points out that scouts really like his tape and that he could sneak into the lottery.
Lost in the fact that Mark Fox now faces yet another gutted program is the notion that KCP was a steal for Georgia from the get-go as he was a five-star recruit (those don’t come to Athens to play hoops). So, thank you for your time KCP, and best of luck.
That’ all I got/
I had my doubts about the Final Four. Between the NCAA’s new paperless ticketing system, Atlanta’s reputation as an iffy (at best) sports town and the joint goal of bringing 75,000+ to the Dome for both the semi-finals and the championship game, prospects seemed bleak. I was wrong.
I knew I’d enjoy the basketball-side of the weekend, but the Final Four had “Atlanta can’t handle major sporting events” written all over it. By Tuesday of last week, I had already contrived a sob story of defense for my hometown (well, close enough). When viewers tuned in to watch underdog Wichita State take on top seeded Louisville, they were going to see empty seats – tens of thousands of them. This was not going to be Atlanta’s fault; I wasn’t going to let that happen. The seats were going to be empty because of the NCAA’s new – and slower – entrance process. That was my story, and I was sticking to it.
Did I believe my own story? I absolutely did. I even wrote about it. In the end, I didn’t need a story. Atlanta fans joined the ranks of loyalists from Wichita, Louisville, Syracuse and Ann Arbor and packed out the Dome. Georgia Dome employees hustled fans through the turnstiles with the security detail actually taking longer than the entirety of the NCAA’s new swipe, download, print ticket procedure. It was truly impressive and hardly an inconvenience.
The end result? Three fantastic games and a pleasurable fan experience. A total of 150,000+ fans witnessed three games decided by an average margin of five points, and the games felt that close for their entirety. The atmosphere was electric. At times the Dome rocked the way it did after Georgia cornerback Brandon Boykin took a reverse hand-off and raced 80 yards for a TD against Boise State in front of a contingent that heavily favored the Bulldogs back in 2011 (to this day that was the loudest I’ve heard the Dome). At other times the building felt more like a high school gym seating a couple hundred lucky fans whose passion had a greater impact on the game’s play than any coach or referee.
The energy never died, it was just transferred. From Wichita State to Louisville. From Michigan to Syracuse and then back to Michigan. And then finally from Michigan to Louisville for one last jolt.
Hats off to Atlanta, the NCAA and the corporate sponsors who pulled off an event that had everything:
- Incredible basketball
- Celebrities (Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Steve Carell, Jason Sudeeikis, even Rahm Emanuel)
- Great music (The Final Four Concert Series featured artists with a total of 25 Grammy Awards)
- Fun for the whole family (My apologies: there’s no way to describe the Fan Fest without sounding cheesy)
Well done. Especially by this guy…
That’s all I got/
Jake Sapp is an occasional contributor to DudeYouCrazy.net and an all-around good guy.
As the Final Four approaches we can now all review just how bad our brackets truly were, and admit that our analysis of how dominate the mid-major St. Louis is may have been a little off base. We all probably picked a team to root for through the tournament, I must admit I love a Jim Boeheim coached Syracuse team.
While filling out a bracket and choosing a team to root for can make March Madness a lot of fun, I contest that it no longer be enough for Georgia fans. It is time to expect more.
According to ESPN rankings there are 20 teams that ranked in the top 40 in recruiting in both football and basketball. 6 of those 20 teams are from the conference that only cares about football the SEC.
There are only two teams in the entire country that ranked in the top 10 in both football and basketball recruiting. Who are they you ask? The University of Florida along with LSU.
Being what seems one of the few people who follow Georgia basketball, I will say I believe coach Mark Fox is the right coach for the job. Fox is a good coach with a very solid understanding of the game. Having said that I do believe his weakness is on the recruiting trail.
With the exception of the great Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Fox has been unable to attract the big recruits from within the state during his time at UGA. While rumors of Tony Parker transferring back to UGA from UCLA is exciting. Having Parker from the beginning would have been much preferred.
Even the 2010 season in which Fox led the Dawgs to a 21-12 record and a bid to the NCAA Tournament was with a roster largely recruited by former coach Dennis Felton.
Readers may know the name Kevin Ware as the Louisville player who had one of the nastiest basketball injuries of all time, I know the name as the dominate Rockdale player who had some of the nastiest dunks on my high school team basketball team.
With in state talents such as Ware opting to leave the state for more basketball crazed pastures I ask myself why are Georgia fans so apathetic towards our basketball team? I believe its because they don’t know how much fun we could have.
Why as Georgia fans do we expect greatness to only occur on Fall Saturdays? Greatness can occur on a dreary Wednesday is February. Greatness can occur in March when things really begin to get mad.
Take for example our rivals to the south; The University of Florida has won two national championships in both football and basketball in the last decade. They are a school we hate, but honestly they’re a school that has it all. They produce a team both in pads, and on the hardwood that is capable of wining a national championship every year.
As Georgia fans we can no longer just accept the fact that our basketball program leaves more to be desired. We must demand competitiveness. When a fan base starts expecting to win, then wins will follow.
So enjoy the Final Four in Atlanta this weekend, but think to yourself how much fun it could really be.
- Jake Sapp