Dec. 15, 2011
About This Game
#Assists Per Game
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Kevin O'Neill
Georgia vs. Southern Cal, Pac 12
In-State Trio Signs With Bulldogs
Georgia coach Mark Fox announced on Nov. 9 the signing of three in-state high school seniors to national letters-of-intent to attend UGA and play next season for the Bulldogs: Kenny Gaines, a 6-4 guard from Atlanta; Charles Mann, a 6-6 guard from Alpharetta; and Brandon Morris, a 6-8 forward from Lithonia. Gaines, at 6-4 and 190 pounds, is currently beginning his senior season at Whitefield Academy in Smyrna. As a junior last season he averaged 20.8 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.0 assists in leading the Wolfpack to a 23-4 overall record. He is rated as the nation's No. 20 shooting guard prospect by Scout.com and the #24 shooting guard by Rivals.com.
Mann, at 6-6 and 190 pounds, is starting his senior season at AAAAA power Milton High School in Alpharetta. Through the 2011 season, he had played at Union Grove High School in McDonough, where he averaged over 22 points, 6.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists per contest as a junior. There he won All-Region, All-County and Honorable Mention All-State honors, as well as MVP of the Region, as voted by all of its head coaches. Morris, regarded as a "combo" forward at 6-8, 195 pounds, is currently a senior at Miller Grove High School in Lithonia. One of the top prep programs in Georgia, the Wolverines have won the past three Georgia Class AAAA state titles, going a combined 88-10 over those three seasons. As a junior last season, Morris averaged 11.2 points, 8.0 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game. He was named to the Georgia Athletic Coaches Association (GACA) junior All-Star North team at season's end, along with Mann.
"Green As the New York Jets"
As his Bulldogs prepared to begin the 2012 season, head coach Mark Fox alluded to the NFL's New York Jets in describing the team's lack of experience. And he's not too far off. Aside from seniors Dustin Ware and Gerald Robinson, fellow senior Connor Nolte is Georgia's only other player to have ever started in a college basketball game prior to the 2012 season. Nolte started the Bulldogs' first three games of last season and he also started 15 of 60 games as a freshman and sophomore at Furman University in the 2008-09 seasons.
Additionally, because of the installation of the new court at Stegeman Coliseum, all of Georgia's newcomers had never even taken a shot on their home court until two weeks ago.
Schedule Among Nation's Toughest
Georgia's schedule features as many as 17 games that could come against teams that played in the 2011 postseason. In addition to the SEC, other so-called "power" leagues represented on the Bulldogs 2012 schedule include the following: Atlantic Coast; Atlantic Ten; Big East; BigTwelve; Pac 12
Additionally, the Bulldogs are slated for at least 16 national television dates and 12 more regional TV appearances. They've been tabbed twice as part of ESPN's "Super Tuesday" coverage of college basketball, both times against SEC Eastern Division rivals: Jan. 10 at Florida and two weeks later at home against Kentucky.
"Masters" of their Field
Two Bulldogs, Gerald Robinson and Connor Nolte, will be playing the 2011-12 season while pursuing master's degrees. Both transferred to UGA in 2010, Robinson from Tennessee State and Nolte from Furman. Each completed his undergraduate degree and participated in commencement services in 2011. Robinson, whose bachelor's degree is in Speech Communication, is working towards a master's in Adult Education. Nolte earned his first degree in Marketing and is now earning his graduate degree in Sport Management.
Their graduation helped to mark a banner year, academically speaking, for the Bulldogs. Also earning diplomas in the spring of 2011 were Georgia's two 4-year seniors, Chris Barnes and Jeremy Price. The Bulldogs' next group of 4-year seniors is also due to graduate next spring: Matt Bucklin and Dustin Ware.
Upgrades to Stegeman Court, Sound
Just one year after a $13 million cosmetic facelift to Stegeman Coliseum, the 48-year-old arena received two major upgrades in the offseason. A new state-of-the-art sound system was installed duing the summer months by Baker Audio of Norcross, Ga., at a cost of nearly $620,000. In addition, the Bulldogs will enjoy playing on a nearly-new playing court. The UGA Athletic Association purchased the playing surface from the NCAA, which installed it for its 2011 Women's Regional at American Airlines Arena in Dallas, Texas. Typically, the NCAA hires Connor Sport Court International of Amasa, Mich., to manufacture courts for its eight Regional sites, as well as the two Final Four sites. It then sells the slightly-used courts to interested schools. Total cost for purchasing, resanding and finishing the floor for use in Stegeman Coliseum: $90,000.
KCP the Latest McD's All-American
When Kentavious Caldwell-Pope was named a 2011 McDonald's All-American, it had been almost 20 years since the last Georgia signee earned the prestigious honor. Athens' own Carlos Strong arrived on campus in 1992 as a McD's appointee.
Technically, Damien Wilkins was the most recent McDonald's All-American to play at Georgia, but he signed with and played at N.C. State for two seasons before transferring to UGA in 2002.
UGA signed five McD's all-stars in a 3-year span from 1979-82. They formed the nucleus of the group that reached the 1983 NCAA Final Four.
SEC Race, Tournament to Have Different Looks in 2012
Just shy of their 20th birthdays, the SEC Eastern and Western Divisions have seen their final days. The league's basketball coaches voted first, followed by its ADs and then its presidents and chancellors, to adopt a 1-12 seeding in the conference post-season tournament, with byes going to the top four finishers. All teams will play the unbalanced, 16-game schedule for the coming season but will increase that total for the 2013 campaign, likely to 18 games, as it was before the SEC was pared into divisions for the 1991-92 season.
The SEC Tournament returns this season to New Orleans for the third time ever, but for the first time at the New Orleans Arena, home to the NBA's Hornets.