March 6, 2013
About the Game
- Georgia plays its only meeting of the season with Kentucky on Thursday night. For the first time in 50 seasons, these two programs are playing each another just once in a regular season, thanks to the SEC's new scheduling arrangement.
Kentucky has won the past three meetings of these two teams and leads the overall series, 115-25. Georgia's last victory in the series came in a 77-70 win in January of 2011.
- The Bulldogs arrive at this game with a 14-15 overall record, 8-8 in SEC play. Most recently, they defeated Tennessee 78-68 in Athens last Saturday. The victory gave Georgia its first regular-season sweep of Tennessee since 2001 and the third sweep of the 2013 SEC schedule. Previously, Georgia had completed sweeps of South Carolina and Texas A&M.
Another victory would match Georgia's SEC win total from its most recent NCAA Tournament team (2011) and would assure the Bulldogs of just their third SEC record of .500 or better in the past 10 years.
- Leading the way throughout this season has been sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The Greenville, Ga., native enters this game averaging 18.0 points per game, which ranks second in the SEC. In fact, he ranks among the SEC leaders in nine of the 13 categories for which individual stats are compiled. Additionally, KCP began this week ranking 43rd nationally in scoring, 54th in 3-point FG percentage and 31st in steals. Caldwell-Pope comes off his most productive scoring game of the SEC schedule, a 25-point effort in the Bulldogs' 78-68 win over Tennessee.
- Tonight marks the final home game for Georgia and particularly for seniors Sherrard Brantley, John Florveus and Vincent Williams. The trio will be recognized in a pre-game ceremony on the court.
- The Bulldogs conclude the regular season in less than 48 hours with a Saturday afternoon contest at Alabama.
|F||31||Brandon Morris||6-7||205||Fr.||Lithonia, Ga.||4.0||2.2|
|F||15||Donte' Williams||6-8||230||Jr.||Ellenwood, Ga.||5.3||4.9|
|F/C||32||John Florveus||6-11||240||Sr.||Miami, Fla.||2.6||3.2|
|G||11||Vincent Williams||6-0||165||Sr.||Homestead, Fla.||4.9||2.2#|
|G||1||Kentavious Caldwell-Pope||6-5||205||So.||Greenville, Ga.||18.0||6.9|
#Assists Per Game
|F||22||Alex Poythress||6-7||239||Fr.||Clarksville, Tenn.||11.9||6.1|
|F||15||Willie Cauley-Stein||7-0||244||Fr.||Olathe, Kan.||8.4||5.9|
|G||12||Ryan Harrow||6-2||170||So.||Marietta, Ga.||10.2||3.2a|
|G||10||Archie Goodwin||6-4||198||Fr.||Little Rock, Ark.||13.8||3.0a|
|G||34||Julius Mays||6-2||192||Sr.||Marion, Ind.||9.7||3.0a|
Head Coach: John Calipari
Record at Kentucky / Years: 122-23 / 4th season
Overall Record / Years: 556-163 / 21st season
Assistant Coaches: Orlando Antigua, Kenny Perry, John Robic
Georgia vs. Kentucky
- Thursday's game is the 141st all-time meeting between these two schools in basketball. Kentucky leads the series, as it does against all of its longtime SEC brethren, by a lopside count: 115-25.
- Though Georgia has defeated Kentucky just 25 times ever, eight of those wins have come in the past 11 years.
- A geographical breakdown of the series follows:
Games in Athens: UK leads 40-16
Games in Lexington: UK leads 56-5
Neutral-Court Games: UK leads 8-3
SEC Tournament Games: UK leads 5-1
- UK has also won single games in Baton Rouge; Columbus, Ga.; Knoxville; Memphis; Nashville and Owensboro, Ky.
- Right now, Georgia has just one player (KCP at 18.0 ppg) averaging in double-digit scoring. Not only is it the sole SEC school with such a distinction, but that also makes it the only Bulldog team of the past 50 years with just a single double-figure scorer.
- Georgia's 78 points on Saturday vs. Tennessee -- its highest total of the SEC season and its highest in a conference game since mid-February of last year -- pushed the Bulldogs' cumulative scoring average over 60 points per game. It's the first time over the 60-point mark since the third week of last November. Georgia has scored above its seasonal average in each of its past five games.
- Georgia has used 12 different starting lineups this season. The one constant through all 12 lineups is, of course, has been Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. Five other teammates (both Williamses, Morris, Florveus and Djurisic) now have double-digit starts.
- KCP is on pace to reach 1,000 career points by season's end. If he gets there, he'll be the 42nd player in UGA history to reach that milestone, but he'll be the first since Jarvis Hayes (2002-03) to reach it in just two seasons. By comparison, Hall-of-Famer Dominique Wilkins reached 1,000 points in his 46th game at UGA, which came near the end of his sophomore season. Wilkins played in just 16 games as a freshman because of a foot injury. Jacky Dorsey, 2-time All-SEC forward in 1975-76, is the fastest Georgia player ever to 1,000 points, reaching the mark in the 43rd game of his career.
- One more interesting tidbit about Caldwell-Pope. He remains one of just 10 players in all of NCAA Division I that have scored in double figures in each of their team's games. He's the only SEC player to accomplish this feat and one of just five from the "BCS" leagues to do so.
- OK...a couple more items about KCP. He began this week ranking 56th nationally in scoring at 17.7 ppg, 77th nationally in 3-pointers per game at 2.44, and 30th nationally in steals at 2.15/game.
- With two regular-season games yet to go, Caldwell-Pope already has the 7th-highest scoring season by a sophomore in UGA history with 521 points. He also has the 10th-highest rebounding season by a UGA sophomore (201 rebs.) and is the only guard on that list.
- Nemi Djurisic was the fifth-leading scorer on last season's Georgia team at 7.0 points per game. This year he's raised his average to 7.8 per game but is now the No. 2 scorer on the current squad.
- Barring something unforeseen, Caldwell-Pope and Charles Mann will each finish the season with over 150 free throw attempts. It's been 23 years since Georgia had two players try that many in a single season (Alec Kessler and Litterial Green in 1989-90). Mann's current total is the most by a freshman guard at UGA since Green in 1989.
- Some revealing observations from Georgia's mid-SEC season, 5-game win streak:
> Its starters were outscored 204-170 (avg. 41-34). The Georgia bench, however, outscored the opposing reserves 133-61 (avg. 27-12).
> In those five wins, Georgia shot 46 percent from the field, 42 percent from 3-point range. Caldwell-Pope led this surge, with shooting percentages of 63 and 50 percent, respectively.
- Georgia's recent 5-game win streak was the longest in SEC play under coach Mark Fox. The longest win streak, period, of the Fox era is a 9-game run in the 2010-11 season. The school record for consecutive SEC wins is six, established three times: in 2001, 1992-93 teams (spanning both seasons) and also the SEC championship team of 1990. The last time for a 7-game league win streak occurred in the 1930-31 season, when the Bulldogs belonged to the Southern Conference.
- In the last 5 minutes of Georgia's 16 SEC games, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has an absurdly good track record. He has scored 43 percent of his team's 201 total points (87) -- almost three times as many as any teammate -- in the last 5 minutes, and he's shooting 65 percent from the field, 62 percent from 3-point range and 83 percent from the line. He's amassed 30 percent of his total scoring output in SEC games during the last 5 minutes.
KCP One of UGA's Best Ever
Sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope returns as one of the SEC's top players. Among his freshman-year highlights included:
- He earned Freshman All-SEC honors in his first season of 2012.
- KCP ranked second among all Bulldogs in scoring and led them in rebounding, minutes and steals.
- His 422 points were the fifth-highest total by a UGA freshman in school history. Just as important, his 166 rebounds (5.2/game) were the tenth-best total by a UGA rookie and the most ever by a guard.
- Caldwell-Pope last year was also Georgia's leader in 3-point shots made (65) and taken (214).
- KCP is the fourth-leading returning scorer in the SEC, behind Boynton (Fla.), Young (Ark.) and Golden (Tenn.).
- He is also the league's fifth-leading returning rebounder and its only guard among the group.
- He ranks second among all returning SEC players in minutes per game (32.1), behind only LSU guard Andre Stringer (32.2 mpg).
- True to form, Caldwell-Pope is the Bulldogs' only player thus far to average over 30 minutes per contest this season. He currently ranks 2nd in the SEC in minutes at 33.7 per game. Georgia's next most active player is Nemanja Djurisic at 23.5 minutes per game.
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. In a blog entry, Hanner used a complex formula to rate college coaches. Among Hanner's many observations he writes, "Mark Fox has 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).
Fox Also Tops at Producing Grads
Head Coach Mark Fox must also receive some degree of credit for developing high-performing students in the classroom. Since his arrival in April of 2009, no fewer than 12 Georgia basketball players have earned their undergraduate degrees, including all four seniors from 2012. Every player that has exhausted his eligibility at UGA under Fox has completed his degree.
Prominent among this group of 12 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.
Frazier, Parker Sign with Dogs in Early Signing Period
The early national signing period began Wednesday, Nov. 13 and Georgia got signatures from a pair of high school seniors:
J.J. Frazier, Guard, 5-9, 160, Glennville, Ga. (Faith Baptist Christian Academy - Ludowici, Ga.)...Frazier is regarded as the top point guard of his class in the state of Georgia...he averaged 26.2 points, 4.9 assists, 5.4 rebounds and 3.1 steals as a junior at Faith Baptist Christian, which won 33 games last season...played AAU basketball for the South Georgia Kings program from Hinesville, Ga.
Juwan Parker, Guard, 6-4, 190, Tulsa, Okla. (Booker T. Washington HS)...Averaged 20.5 points and 9.4 rebounds as a junior at Washington, which won Oklahoma 5A state championships in his freshman and sophomore seasons...Rated the nation's No. 30 shooting guard prospect by Scout.com, No. 39 by Rivals.com. Named the 2011 Player of the Year in his home state by the Tulsa World...Two-time Tulsa World All-State pick, and also twice a "Super 5" selection by The Oklahoman newspaper...Older brother Jason Parker played at Tulsa and was coached by current UGA assistant Kwanza Johnson.
Thornton Out Indefinitely
Junior forward Marcus Thornton will be out indefinitely after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery on Dec. 26. The native Atlantan has been plagued by injuries to both knees throughout his career in Athens. He missed five games last season because of knee surgery in December, and he underwent another surgery on his right knee immediately after the 2012 season ended, a process that kept him out of most off-season workouts.
"SEC Storied" Series Spotlights 2008 SEC Tourney
With its premiere last Sunday, the latest episode of ESPN's "SEC Storied" series focuses on the 2008 SEC Basketball Tournament. Georgia captured the '08 championship by winning four consecutive games, including two overtime contests and two on Saturday. A category F2 tornado struck the Georgia Dome during 2nd-round play, causing the postponement of the Bulldogs' game vs. Kentucky and the moving of the tournament's remainder to the on-campus arena at Georgia Tech.
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 495-729 (.405). 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 one AP SEC Player of the Year: Dominique Wilkins in 1981 and no POY, as voted by the league's coaches since 1987. 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 Bliss in 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 40-50. The 2008 tourney marked the first time since 1997 that Georgia has reached the finals.
Hayes Joins Bulldog Staff
A face familiar to Georgia basketball fans joined coach Mark Fox's staff during the offseason. Jonas Hayes, a 3-year letterman from 2002-04 and an '04 UGA graduate, was named as the Bulldogs' Operations Coordinator in May of 2012. Hayes, a native of Atlanta, had spent the previous five seasons as an assistant coach at Belmont Abbey in Belmont, N.C. He had also served brief stints as an assistant coach at South Carolina State, Morehouse and his alma mater, Douglass High School in Atlanta.
Hayes, whose twin brother Jarvis continues to play professionally overseas, became the first Georgia basketball alumnus to hold a full-time position on the staff at his alma mater since Shaun Golden was an administrative assistant on the staff in 1997.
Italy Trip a Valuable Tool
For the first time since 2004, Georgia ventured beyond U.S. borders for a tour of exhibition games. The Bulldogs spent the first half of August playing three games and checking out the major cities and tourist spots in Italy. They also visited UGA's art school campus in Cortona, Italy.
Georgia went 2-1 on its tour of games, winding up with a 17-point victory on the same day they visited the Colosseum in Rome. Given the anticipated roles of Georgia's freshmen this coming season, perhaps more important than the trip were the 10 practices that preceded the Bulldogs' departure overseas.