Bulldogs Return to Action Against Iona


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Dec. 14, 2012

Georgia Bulldogs (2-6, 0-0 SEC) vs. Iona Gaels (3-4, 1-1 MAAC)
Saturday, December 15, 2012 - Tipoff Time: 5:00 p.m. (EST)
Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Ga.
TELEVISION
Live telecast on Comcast Sports Southeast (Matt Stewart and Wimp Sanderson)
GEORGIA RADIO
Bulldog Sports Network by IMG: Scott Howard (Play-by-Play), Mark Slonaker (Color)
Local station: In Atlanta: WSB (750 AM) & WBTS (95.5 FM). In Athens: WGAU (AM 990).
Radio Affiliates
SATELLITE RADIO
The majority of Georgia basketball games in 2011-12 can be heard on SiriusXM Radio. Tonight's game is on Sirius Ch. 123 / XM Ch. 200. For more SEC programming info, see: SEC Programming Info
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GameTracker - Live stats updated throughout the game.




Vincent Williams

About the Game

  • Georgia resumes the 2012-13 season with a Saturday afternoon contest at home against Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference foe Iona in the two schools' first-ever meeting. The Bulldogs haven't played in 11 days and have practiced only sporadically during that stretch, which covered UGA's Fall Semester final exam period.

    In their last game the Bulldogs fell 62-54 at Georgia Tech on Dec. 4. The loss dropped Georgia's overall record to 2-6 on the season. For Georgia, perhaps the most significant development from that contest in Atlanta was the contribution of freshman forward Brandon Morris. The Lithonia native came off the bench to score nine points and pull down four rebounds in 19 minutes, all season highs to date. Morris also added two assists and a steal. His performance was a promising sign for the Bulldogs, who are seeking offensive support for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. The sophomore guard has led Georgia in scoring in all eight games thus far and is the team's only double-figure scorer at 17.4 points per contest.

    KCP, in fact, remains the focal point of all that Georgia does on court. He's the only Bulldog averaging over 30 minutes per game (32.6). He has taken almost 30 percent of the team's 407 field-goal attempts, and over 40 percent of its 3-point attempts. The Greenville, Ga., native also leads Georgia in rebounding (6.9) and steals.

  • Today the Bulldogs begin an important 5-game homestand that will close out the non-conference portion of the 2012-13 schedule. Georgia has played just one home game in the past month, that being its 54-38 win over East Tennessee State on Nov. 23. That win was sandwiched by a pair of neutral-court losses and another pair of true road games. Heading into this weekend, Georgia was one of just three SEC schools (Tennessee & Vandy were the others) to have already played two true road contests.
  • The Bulldogs continue their homestand next Tuesday against in-state foe Mercer. This game will tip off at the unusual hour of 11:30 a.m. Georgia won last year's meeting in Athens by a 72-58 score.


    Probable Starters

    GEORGIA BULLDOGS
    Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown PPG RPG
    F2Marcus Thornton6-8235Jr.Atlanta, Ga. 4.0 4.9
    F42Nemanja Djurisic6-8230So.Podgorica, Montenegro 7.8 4.6
    F15Donte' Williams6-9225Jr.Ellenwood, Ga. 6.2 4.5
    G11Vincent Williams6-0165Sr.Homestead, Fla. 5.4 2.8#
    G1Kentavious Caldwell-Pope6-5205So.Greenville, Ga. 17.4 6.9

    #Assists Per Game

    Head Coach: Mark Fox
    Record at Georgia / Years: 52-52 / 4th season
    Overall Record/Years: 175-95 / 9th season
    Assistant Coaches: Kwanza Johnson, Philip Pearson, Stacey Palmore

    Iona Gaels
    Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown PPG RPG
    F12Shawn Jackson6-9250Jr.Live Oak, Fla.1.93.1
    G2Lamont Jones6-0196Sr.Harlem, N.Y.21.71.9
    G3Tavon Sledge5-9175So.Spring Valley, N.Y.7.45.0
    G22Sean Armand6-4200Jr.Brooklyn, N.Y.19.96.3
    G23Tre Bowman6-5195Jr.York, Pa.10.44.7

    Head Coach: Tim Cluess
    Record at Iona / Years: 53-24 / third season
    Overall Record / Years: 151-47 / seventh season
    Assistant Coaches: Jared Grasso (Assoc. HC), Bill O'Keefe, Zak Boisvert


    Georgia vs. Iona

    Saturday's game is the first-ever meeting between Georgia and Iona in basketball.

    The game is also just the fourth meeting between Georgia and a current member of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Other MAAC schools that have played Georgia include, most recently, Manhattan at the 2010 Old Spice Classic (UGA won 61-58), Marist on Dec. 31, 1994 (UGA won 101-61) and Niagara, which defeated the Bulldogs on Dec. 7, 1946 in Niagara Falls, N.Y.

    2012-13 Bulldogs a Year Older

    Year Four of the Mark Fox era at Georgia features his first roster comprised solely of players chosen by Fox and his staff. The Bulldogs of 2013 have a lone 3-year letterman in guard Vincent Williams, as well as two other seniors who took the junior-college route before arriving in Athens.

    Last season the Bulldogs began the year with just two players that had experience as a starter on a Division I basketball team. This year, however, that number is now up to six, including four players that were regular starters at season's end. That quartet is comprised of two sophomores and two freshmen. In all, Georgia returns players who logged over 68 percent of its total minutes played in 2012.

    About the Schedule

    Georgia in 2012-13 could play as many as 19 games against teams that participated in the postseason last year. Saturday's game vs. Iona represents the fourth time already the Bulldogs have faced a 2012 NCAA Tournament participant.

    As part of the new 18-game Southeastern Conference schedule, the Bulldogs will face former Eastern Division foes Kentucky and Vanderbilt just once. It will be the first time since 1964 that Georgia has not played home-and-home series with these two longstanding foes and, since 1992, Eastern Division rivals. In exchange for those two contests, the Bulldogs will now pick up a series with new member Texas A&M and renew a 2-game annual series with Alabama for the first time since 1992.

    The addition of Texas A&M and Missouri has also added another day of competition to the post-season SEC Tournament, slated for March 13-17 in Nashville, Tenn. The Nos. 9-12 seeds in the final regular-season standings will play a doubleheader on Wednesday, with the tournament resuming its traditional schedule Thursday. It's conceivable that a team could capture the SEC Tournament championship by winning games on five consecutive days, similar to what UConn accomplished in the Big East Tournament in 2011.

    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.

    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).
    In addition:
    • 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 9th in the SEC in minutes at 32.6 per game. Georgia's next most active player is Vincent Williams at 27.2 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.

    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.

    Thornton Health Key for Georgia

    Here's one reason why Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led Georgia in rebounding as a freshman last season from his combo guard position. Marcus Thornton, who had led the Bulldogs in that category in the early going, spent most of the latter half of the season nursing ill health.

    Thornton underwent knee surgery just before Christmas and missed the next five contests. Even upon his return, his effectiveness was limited. By season's end, he needed a second surgery and the subsequent recovery period has kept him under close scrutiny ever since.

    That supervision will continue as the 2013 season transpires. Thornton, a 6-8 junior, provides the Bulldogs much-needed heft and toughness under the basket, provided he is healthy. A sound bill of health for the 2013 season could mean good things for Thornton and the Bulldogs.

    Returning Statistical Leaders

    Scoring
    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope13.2 ppg
    Donte' Williams7.8 ppg
    Rebounding
    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope5.2
    Donte' Williams5.1
    Assists
    Vincent Williams1.4 apg
    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope1.2 apg
    Minutes
    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope32.1 mpg
    Donte' Williams25.9 mpg
    Percentage of Returning Players by Statistics
    1,205 of 1,950 points62%
    738 of 966 indiv. rebounds76%
    131 of 351 assists37%
    4,391 of 6,475 minutes68%

    Frosh Vying for Their Turn

    The rookie trio of Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines and Brandon Morris is gradually making its presence felt in the Georgia lineup. Together, these three are averaging over 26 minutes per game and scoring 4.7 points.

    Most notably, Mann leads this group in minutes at 13.7 per contest and a 3.3 points-per-game average.

    Cannon Coming On

    Georgia's past three games have featured career-best performances for sophomore John Cannon. He played a key role in the Bulldogs' contention against UCLA at the Legends Classic in Brooklyn, scoring eight points and pulling down five boards in 19 minutes, all career bests. Four nights later he came off the bench to contribute six points and four rebounds in 14 minutes of action.

    The Burnsville, N.C., native has already surpassed his scoring total from the entire 2011-12 season, during which he played in just half his team's games.

    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.

    The 2004-05 Georgia team played a series of exhibitions in Vancouver during Fall Break. Prior to the Italy trip, the last time any Bulldog team left the continent was in the 1988 season, when Georgia played in an invitational tournament in Tokyo, Japan.

    Italy Trip Nearly a Homecoming for Djurisic

    Trips home are few and far between for Georgia sophomore forward Nemi Djurisic, who left his native Montenegro several years ago to pursue both an education and a basketball career, American-style. That's why the Bulldogs' journey to Italy in August became so important to him.

    One stop on Georgia's 10-day tour was Venice, where the Bulldogs spent two nights and played one of their three games. Djurisic's parents -- Snezana and Ranko -- made the 13-hour drive up the Adriatic coastline to see their son and meet his teammates and coaches for the first time. According to both parties, it was well worth the drive.

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