Nov. 14, 2013
About the Game
Georgia resumes its 2013-14 schedule with a Friday night game against Georgia Tech. The Bulldogs won their season opener a week ago by defeating Wofford 72-52 at Stegeman Coliseum. Nemi Djurisic led three double-figure scorers with 12 points as Georgia won the program's eighth consecutive regular-season opener. Twelve of the 14 players who saw action against Wofford scored for the Bulldogs, whose 72 points were more than last year's team scored in 27 of its 32 games.
On Friday night these two in-state rivals do battle for the 190th time in a series that began in the 1905-06 season. Georgia Tech leads the series record by a 103-86 margin, including last year's only meeting, 62-54 on Dec. 4 in Atlanta.
Friday's game starts a challenging, early-season stretch of the schedule for Georgia. The Bulldogs will play Davidson -- 2013 Southern Conference champ and a 26-game winner -- next Thursday in the Charleston Classic first round. Depending on its outcome, they'll face either Clemson or Temple the next day. Third-round opponent could be either New Mexico, UAB, UMass or Nebraska.
New Faces Abound on Bulldog Roster
Georgia's core of returning players remains solid for the 2014 season, yet coach Mark Fox will be incorporating a slew of newcomers into the lineup. Senior Donte' Williams and sophomore Brandon Morris are the only two returnees who were starting at the end of last season. Three key players, however, have seen significant playing time, plenty of which came as starters: redshirt junior Marcus Thornton, junior Nemi Djurisic and sophomore Charles Mann. The latter, in fact, earned Freshman All-SEC honors last season in primarily a reserve's role. Djurisic is Georgia's top returning scorer, despite his part-time starter status. Thornton had started seven of nine games before a knee injury ended his 2013 season.
|F||2||Marcus Thornton**||6-8||235||RJr.||Atlanta, Ga.||3.0||2.0|
|F||15||Donte' Williams***||6-9||225||Sr.||Ellenwood, Ga.||11.0||9.0|
|F||42||Nemanja Djurisic**||6-8||230||So.||Podgorica, Montenegro||12.0||7.0|
|G||4||Charles Mann*||6-5||210||So.||Alpharetta, Ga.||7.0||3.0a|
|G||12||Kenny Gaines*||6-3||195||So.||Atlanta, Ga.||10.0||6.0|
#Assists Per Game
|GEORGIA TECH YELLOW JACKETS|
|F||4||Robert Carter, Jr.||6-8||247||So.||Thomasville, Ga.||12.0||7.0|
|F||3||Marcus Georges-Hunt||6-5||219||So.||College Park, Ga.||14.5||8.5|
|C||5||Daniel Miller||6-11||275||RSr.||Loganville, Ga.||10.0||6.0|
|G||2||Solomon Poole||6-4||199||Jr.||Jacksonville, Fla.||5.0||4.0a|
|G||23||Trae Golden||6-2||205||Sr.||Powder Springs, Ga.||14.0||2.0|
Head Coach: Brian Gregory
Record at USC / Years: 29-35 / 3rd season
Overall Record / Years: 201-129 / 11th season
Assistant Coaches: Chad Dollar, Josh Postorino, Billy Schmidt
Georgia vs. Georgia Tech
These two rival schools meet Tuesday for the 190th time. Georgia Tech leads the series 103-86. The series returned to campus sites for the 1995-96 season after 14 annual meetings at the old Omni arena in Atlanta. Of the 18 meetings since the venue change, the visitor has won just three times, but two of those have come in the past three seasons. UGA won at Ga. Tech in 2000 and again in 2010. The Jackets won in Athens last season 68-56, the school's first win there since 1976, stopping a 13-game losing streak at Stegeman Coliseum.
Georgia Tech is the second most frequent opponent in the 108-year history of UGA basketball. They played each other 22 times (11-11) as members of the original Southern Conference, another 84 times (GT 55, UGA 29) as charter members of the SEC, and 39 more times with Georgia Tech belonging to the ACC.
A few other oddities in the series: > Nov. 15 is by far the earliest these two teams have ever met in any given season. They've played in November just five previous times, most recently on Nov. 27, 2002. > These two programs have never played a game against one another when both teams were ranked at game time. > Georgia and Georgia Tech have been annual opponents -- often thrice annually -- since the 1925 season.
Much has been made of the new enforcement of existing rules, as well as new rules, for the coming basketball season. Specifically, the following are supposed to be different from past seasons:
Under the revised block/charge call in men's basketball, a defensive player is not permitted to move into the path of an offensive player once he has started his upward motion with the ball to attempt a field goal or pass. If the defensive player is not in legal guarding position by this time, it is a blocking foul. Previously, a defender had to be in legal guarding position when the offensive player lifted off the floor.
It is believed that the rule change will:
1) Allow for more offensive freedom; 2) Provide clarity for officials in making this difficult call; and
3) Enhance the balance between offense and defense.
Additionally, officials will be required to adhere to new points of emphasis, all designed to encourage "freedom of movement" in the game of basketball. They include:
1) When a defensive player keeps a hand or forearm on an opponent;
2) When a defensive player puts two hands on an opponent;
3) When a defensive player continually jabs by extending his arm(s) and placing a hand or forearm on the opponent;
4) When a player uses an arm bar to impede the progress of an opponent.
Thus far, as all participants adjust to these changes, the volume of called fouls has risen measurably. In Georgia's two games thus far (exhibition + opener), there were 85 fouls called. For what it's worth, last season there were an average of 36 fouls called in Georgia's games.
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 travels 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 played just 17 games and dotted its schedule with random groups like Lawson General Hospital and Robins Airfield -- has this phenomenon occurred.
Georgia has already played the first of five games this season against Southern Conference teams, having been a charter SoCon member itself back in 1921. It has an all-time record of 81-19 against current SoCon schools, most notably the 22-4 mark against Furman and 11-4 against Georgia Southern. After defeatomg Wofford in the season opener, the Bulldogs are slated to play four more of the Terriers' conference brethren this season: Davidson, Appalachian State, Chattanooga and Western Carolina.
From the Wofford Game
Georgia's 72-52 victory over Wofford to start the season represented its largest winning margin since an 81-59 win over Arkansas in the 2012 season.
Georgia's largest lead against the Terriers came at 50-25 just over five minutes into the second half. That 25-point margin would have been last year's biggest lead by six points.
Perhaps an indiciation of Georgia's improved balance this season: four Bulldogs scored four field goals apiece against Wofford. Only once did that happen last season
The Bulldogs made just two 3-point shots in the game, one each by J.J. Frazier and walk-on Taylor Echols. That's just one more than last season's low of one trey. Perhaps such a number is not surprising, considering that Georgia lost over three-fourths of their 3-point firepower from the 2013 season.
The Bulldogs outrebounded Wofford 49-24, the largest margin on the boards for Georgai since an identical spread in a lopsided win over Mississippi State in 2011.
For what it's worth, that 49-24 rebounding margin came on the heels of an even greater spread (51-24) in Georgia's exhibition game vs. UNC-Pembroke.
Georgia had a positive assist-to-turnover ratio against the Terriers, something last year's Bulldogs did just nine times total.
2012-13 Season Recap
The Bulldogs posted a 15-17 overall record, 9-9 in SEC games, a mark that was good for an eighth-place tie in the final standings.
Sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope swept the major post-season individual awards, winning SEC Player of the Year by the Coaches and the Associated Press. He became just the second Bulldog to win any SEC P-O-Y award since wire services began naming recipients in 1965.
Georgia posted a 5-game win streak in SEC play, the program's longest in 12 years. Three of those five games were on the road.
Point guard Charles Mann earned appointment to the Coaches' Freshman All-SEC team, the Bulldogs' second such honor in as many years.
Caldwell-Pope announced in March 2013 that he would enter the NBA Draft, a wise decision in light of his eventual status as a lottery pick by the Detroit Pistons.
Williams a Seasoned Veteran
With Marcus Thornton receiving a medical redshirt season from 2013, Donte' Williams became the Bulldogs' lone senior this season. He is already the most experienced Bulldog, having started 59 games in the past two seasons. That's more than twice the total of Thornton, who is second on the team in career starts with 27, including seven in his truncated season of 2013. Williams enters this season with 471 career points, second among all Bulldogs behind Nemi Djurisic, who has tallied 475 in two seasons.
Mann is the Man
Charles Mann enjoyed one of the best seasons by a freshman guard in Georgia history last year. The Alpharetta resident ranked third on the team in scoring at 6.7 points per game. He led the Bulldogs in assists with 92 and free-throw attempts with 170. All of the above numbers were excellent considering he started just eight of 32 games and averaged 21.5 minutes per contest. Mann's 92 assists, in fact, were the most by a freshman guard since Dustin Ware's 108 in 2009. Ware started 17 games and averaged over 25 minutes that season.
Mann's 170 trips to the free throw line --- fifth-best total in the SEC last season -- were the most by a Georgia freshman guard since Litterial Green tried 187 foul shots in his rookie season of 1989.
Djurisic is Dogs' Top Scorer
Junior forward Nemi Djurisic is Georgia's top returning scorer for the 2013-14 season. The 6-8 native of Montnegro averaged 7.9 points during the entirety of the season, 7.8 during 18 SEC games. This marks the first time in nine years that Georgia has no double-figure scorer coming back from the previous season. In the 2004-05 season, Levi Stukes was the Bulldogs' highest-scoring returnee at 9.5 points. The 7.9 ppg average by Djurisic is the smallest average by the highest-scoring returnee since Ray Harrison led the 1996-97 Bulldogs with a 6.3 scoring average.
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 498-732 (.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 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 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 40-51. 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 Hayes was 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. 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).
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-Pope became 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 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 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.