Feb. 4, 2014
About the Game
• Georgia returns home for a pair of games in Athens this week, starting with a Thursday night contest against LSU. TheBulldogs also play host to Texas A&M 48 hours later on Saturday evening. It will be Georgia's only Thursday Saturday pairing of theSEC regular season schedule.
• Most recently, the Bulldogs dropped a 74 67 decision at Auburn last Saturday. The loss left Georgia's overall record at 10 10, 4 4 in SEC games. Charles Mann led the Bulldogs in scoring with 18 points. Nemi Djurisic was the team's only other double figure scorer with 11 points and a team high six rebounds. It was the seventh time this season Mann has had team scoring honors. The sophomore guard has scored 38 points over Georgia's last two games.
The Auburn game also marked the return to action of sophomore guard Kenny Gaines, who had missed the previous two games because of a leg injury incurred late in Georgia's win over South Carolina on Jan. 22. Gaines started and played 33 minutes Saturday against the Tigers, scoring nine points.
One more footnote from the Auburn game. Redshirt freshman Houston Kessler was a surprising starter in place of senior Donte' Williams, who until Saturday had been Georgia's only player to have started every game. Kessler had played just 15 minutes all season before Saturday, and he scored his first points of the season with a 3 pointer just 47 seconds into the game.
• Thursday's game is the 105th all time meeting between Georgia and LSU in basketball. LSU leads the all time series by a62 42 count. They'll conclude the regular season against one another on March 8 in Baton Rouge. These two teams met twice lastseason: one regular season matchup, played Jan. 19 in Athens (UGA 67, LSU 58), and lastly a 68 63 LSU victory in the SECTournament second round in Nashville.
|F||2||Marcus Thornton**||6-8||235||RJr.||Atlanta, Ga.||7.5||5.8|
|F||15||Donte' Williams***||6-9||225||Sr.||Ellenwood, Ga.||5.6||5.2|
|F||31||Brandon Morris||6-7||215||So.||Lithonia, Ga.||9.4||3.6|
|G||4||Charles Mann*||6-5||210||So.||Alpharetta, Ga.||13.5||2.9#|
|G||12||Kenny Gaines*||6-3||195||So.||Atlanta, Ga.||11.8||2.4|
#Assists Per Game
|F||12||Jarell Martin||6-9||241||Fr.||Baton Rouge, La.||9.1||4.1|
|F||2||Johnny O'Bryant III||6-9||256||Jr.||Cleveland, Miss.||15.8||7.5|
|F||5||Shavon Coleman||6-5||195||Sr.||Thibodeaux, La.||8.9||4.3|
|F||25||Jordan Mickey||6-8||220||Fr.||Dallas, Tex.||13.5||7.4|
|G||1||Anthony Hickey||5-11||182||Jr.||Hopkinsville, Ky.||8.6||2.7#|
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Johnny Jones
Record at LSU / Years: 33 18 / 2nd season
Overall Record / Years: 238 180 / 14th season
Assistant Coaches:Charlie Leonard, Korey McCray, David Patrick
Georgia vs. LSU
• Thursday's game is the 105th all time meeting between Georgia and LSU in basketball. LSU leads the all time series by a 62 42 count.
• LSU has accrued this fairly large lead in the series despite a run by Georgia since 1992, when the SEC expanded, was pared into divisions and interdivisional play took place just once per season. Since that year, Georgia has won 16 of 28 meetings.
• A geographical breakdown of the series follows:
Games in Athens: UGA leads 26 21
Games in Baton Rouge: LSU leads 34 12
Neutral Court Games: LSU leads 7 4
SEC Tournament Games: LSU leads 5 3
• Now that senior Donte' Williams was replaced in the starting lineup Saturday at Auburn, Georgia has no single player that has started all 20 games. The Bulldogs have just three players that have played in all 20 (Williams, Thornton and Djurisic). Kenny Gainesis the team's only player to have started every game for which he's been available (18 for 18).
• These most recent games have seen Georgia's rotation come into much sharper focus. The Bulldogs did not have a single player averaging 30 minutes through the pre conference slate. Charles Mann is currently the only player over that threshold, but Gaines is just shy (28.4) and well over the mark in SEC play (33.7). Additionally, fellow starters Marcus Thornton and Brandon Morrisboth recorded career highs in minutes during the past two weeks of play.
• For what it's worth, Georgia had an identical 4 4 mark as it approached the halfway point in the SEC schedule in 2013. Last season, when the Bulldogs finished at 9 9, was the first of the expanded 18 game league slate.
• Charles Mann'sknack for frequent trips to the free throw line is no secret. As a freshman last season, he had the fifth most free throw attempts of any SEC player (170). In the Alabama game Jan. 11, when he went 13 of 18 from the line, his 18 tries were the most by a Georgia player in 10 years and the fourth most in UGA history
Mann is on a pace that will easily surpass his total attempts from last season. He currently averages 7.8 free tosses per game, up from 5.3 tries last year. In SEC games, he averages 9.8 free throw attempts.
• Amidst their up and down performance on offense and defense, the Bulldogs' one constant in SEC play has been their rebounding. Georgia has outrebounded seven of its eight league opponents thus far. The one exception? Florida, which it tied with 34 boards apiece. The Bulldogs lead the SEC in offensive rebounding through eight conference games at 15.3 per game. Highlights in the league schedule thus far have been a +9 ledger in a win at Missouri, as well as a +22 margin in beating Arkansas.
• More "For What It's Worth" fodder:
> Kenny Gaines is Georgia's leading scorer in its 10 wins (12.6 ppg). Charles Mann, UGA's leading scorer overall, leads Georgia in its 10 losses (15.4 ppg) but has only the No. 2 average in its 10 wins (11.4 ppg).
> When Georgia has won, its opponents have shot 37 percent overall, 33 percent from 3 point range. When the Bulldogs have lost, those percentages rise to 45 and 40 percent, respectively. In their last three games, the opponents have combined to shoot 46 percent overall, 43 percent from beyond the arc.
> Not surprisingly, Georgia wins the free throw shooting competition when it wins the game. The Bulldogs have outscored their opponents by an average of 2114 in their 10 wins. Conversely, their opponents have won that battle by a 22 16 in Georgia's eight
• Georgia began this season amidst low expectations...externally, anyway. The Bulldogs were picked by the media that cover SEC basketball to finish 11th in the 14 team league, ahead of only South Carolina, Mississippi State and Auburn. Kentucky, Florida and Tennessee were picked 1 2 3 in the same poll. Additionally, no Bulldogs were selected to the 16 player pre season All SEC lists.
- Four Bulldogs this season have made their first starts at the Division 1 collegiate level: Kenny Gaines, Cameron Forte, Juwan Parker and Taylor Echols.
- One effect of not having Kentavious Caldwell-Popeon this year's team: last year, 30 percent of Georgia's total field goals were scored from 3-point range. This year, just 18 percent thus far have come from beyond the arc. Perhaps another way to view this difference: last season's Georgia team averaged scoring 22 points in the paint area. This season, that number thus far has risen to 34.2 points in the paint. Most discussion involving KCP's absence has revolved around its effect on the Georgia offense. Little discussion has pertained to its effect on the Georgia defense, which this year has allowed its opponents a .403 overall field-goal percentage, .352 from 3-point range, compared to .388 and .329, respectively, with KCP in the lineup last season.
- On Dec. 28, when Colorado sank all 26 of its free-throw attempts, it marked the first time in almost 19 years a Bulldog opponent had shot 100 percent. Tennessee went 10x10 against Georgia on Feb. 11, 1995. That was 584 games ago. For Georgia, it's been 772 games since its last 100 percent shooting night...back to Jan. 14, 1989 vs. Vanderbilt (12x12).
- Georgia has now shot at least 50 percent from the field eight times this season. That equals the number of 50 percent shooting games over the previous two seasons combined.
Offense on the Uptick
One thing is apparent through the early going this season: Georgia's offense appears to be measurably more effective than last season, even without its best scorer from 2013. In 12 of 19 games thus far, the Bulldogs have scored well over their seasonal average (60.8) of last season. The team's overall shooting percentage has also risen from 40.8 of last season to its current mark of 45.5.
Already, Georgia has shot over 50 percent from the field in eight games, more than twice as often as in all of 2012-13.
About the Schedule
Conference expansion manifests itself in many strange ways, not the least of which occurs in scheduling. Georgia fans noticed this oddity most recently as their football team has traveled to Auburn in consecutive seasons.
This season their basketball team will experience one of the oddest quirks to its schedule in years. Kentucky will not travel to Athens for a game this season for the first time since the 1962-63 season. Same for Tennessee. For Florida, which also won't play a game in Athens this season, the last time it didn't play in Athens was in 1961-62. The Gators are the most frequent opponent in UGA hoops history.
It took a World War to keep all three schools out of Athens together in the same season the last time. Not since the 1943-44 season -- when Georgia dotted its schedule with random groups like Lawson General Hospital and Robins Airfield -- has this phenomenon occurred.
Georgia and the SEC
Following are a few tidbits about Georgia's history in the SEC:
- Georgia's all-time record in SEC games, covering 80 years, is 502-734 (.406). That ranks 10th of 12 SEC members (excluding Missouri and Texas A&M).
- Georgia can claim one SEC regular-season championship (1990), one regular-season divisional title (2002) and two SEC Tournament crowns (1983, 2008).
- Georgia has had just two AP SEC Player of the Year: Dominique Wilkins in 1981 and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope last season. Other superlative post-season awards include Coaches' SEC Defensive Player of the Year (Rashad Wright in 2004), AP SEC Newcomer of the Year (Jarvis Hayes in 2002), and Scholar-Athlete of the Year (Dave Blissin 2008).
- Wilkins was the first of four Georgia players to lead the SEC in scoring at season's end. He averaged a league-best 23.6 points per game in 1981. Others to follow him have been Vern Fleming (19.8 ppg in 1984), Jumaine Jones (18.8 ppg in 1999) and Jarvis Hayes (18.6 ppg in 2002).
- Georgia has an all-time SEC Tournament record of 40-51. The 2008 tourney marked the first time since 1997 that Georgia has reached the finals.
Staff Changes for 2014
For the first time of his 4+ seasons in Athens, head coach Mark Fox made changes to his immediate coaching staff. Three-year UGA letterman (2002-04) Jonas Hayeswas promoted from Operations Coordinator to Assistant Coach. A native Atlantan, Hayes returned to UGA in 2012 after serving as an Assistant Coach at Belmont Abbey in North Carolina for five seasons. He had also assisted the programs at South Carolina State, Morehouse and his alma mater, Douglass High School, after graduating from UGA in 2004.
Hayes, whose twin brother Jarvis continues to play professionally overseas, became the first Georgia basketball alumnus to hold a full-time assistant's position on the staff at his alma mater since Mark Slonaker assisted Hugh Durham from 1989-95.
To replace Hayes in the Coordinator's position, Fox hired Byron Samuels in May of 2013. The Winston-Salem, N.C., native, is a veteran of the collegiate ranks whose career includes head coaching stops at Hampton, Radford and, most lastly, at Hillsborough Community College, where he coached recent UGA alum John Florveus. Samuels is a veteran of SEC basketball, having assisted four Tennessee teams that earned NCAA Tournament berths.
Fox Best at Molding Talent
Blogger and hoops junkie Dan Hanner of RealGM.com penned an article in February of 2012 that anointed Georgia head coach Mark Fox as the top coach in college basketball at player development. Hanner used a complex formula to rate college coaches. Among Hanner's many observations he writes, "Mark Foxhas truly been fantastic at getting the most out of his players."
The top five in the Player Development category include Fox; Bo Ryan (Wisconsin); Craig Robinson (Oregon State); Lorenzo Romar (Washington); and Mike Montgomery (Cal).
Perhaps the most tangible proof of Fox's talent development is the number of NBA draftees and current pros that have played for him. Kentavious Caldwell-Popebecame the 11th player under his tutelage to get drafted by an NBA club. He was the fourth 1st-rounder.
Fox Also Tops at Producing Grads
Head Coach Mark Foxmust also receive some degree of credit for developing high-performing students in the classroom. Since his arrival in April of 2009, no fewer than 14 Georgia basketball players have earned their undergraduate degrees. Every player that has exhausted his eligibility at UGA under Fox has completed his degree.
Prominent among this group of 14 includes Damien Wilkins - nephew of UGA great Dominique Wilkins - whose last year of eligibility came in 2004 and who has played professionally in the NBA ever since.
Last summer the Georgia program was recognized by the NCAA for its Academic Progress Rate (APR) scored of 990, which ranked among the top 10 percent of all men's basketball programs.