Bulldogs Host USC Trojans Saturday
Charles Mann

Dec. 21, 2012

Georgia Bulldogs (3-7, 0-0 SEC) vs. USC Trojans (4-7, 0-0 PAC-12)
Saturday, December 22, 2012 - Tipoff Time: 1:30 p.m. (EST)
Stegeman Coliseum, Athens, Ga.
Live telecast on Fox Sports Net South (Dave Neal and Larry Conley)
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
Sirius Ch. 123 / XM Ch. 200
Audio streaming http://www.georgiadogs.com/allaccess (subscription required).
GameTracker - Live stats updated throughout the game.

Charles Mann

About the Game

  • Georgia wraps up the pre-Christmas portion of its schedule with a Saturday home contest against Southern California. The Bulldogs arrive at this game with a 3-7 overall record. In their most recent outing, they defeated in-state foe Mercer 58-49 in a rare weekday morning tipoff on Tuesday. The win, which was witnessed by nearly 5,000 local elementary school children, stopped a 3-game losing streak by the Bulldogs.

    Perhaps the most significant development of the Mercer game was Georgia's third different starting lineup in as many games. Tuesday's group featured two Bulldogs making their first collegiate starts: freshman Charles Mann and sophomore John Cannon. Mann, in fact, has earned the first-team point guard duties through a pair of solid outings in the past two games. He's played 31 minutes in each game, following a season-high 18 points vs. Iona with 10 points, seven rebounds and five assists in the win over Mercer.

    Still, sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope remains the focal point of all that Georgia does. He's the only Bulldog averaging over 30 minutes per game (33.4, 3rd in SEC). He has taken almost 30 percent of the team's 512 field-goal attempts, and over 40 percent of its 3-point attempts. The Greenville, Ga., native also leads Georgia in rebounding (7.4) and steals (26).

    Caldwell-Pope was also the key figure in Georgia's 63-59 win over the Trojans in Los Angeles last season. The Bulldogs overcame an 8-point, 2nd-half deficit behind KCP, who tallied five of his points in the final 45 seconds, including a heavily-guarded 3-pointer and two key free throws.

    Saturday's game is the return engagement of a 2-year home-and-home series between the two schools. Besides last year's meeting, the only other time they played occurred in December of 1972 when Georgia won 77-72 in Philadelphia.

  • Today's game is the third game of an important five-game homestand that will close out the non-conference portion of the 2012-13 schedule. The Bulldogs do not play another game on the road until they tip off the SEC schedule at 8th-ranked Florida on Jan. 9. After the game today, the Bulldogs will disperse for the Christmas holiday and will reconvene in Athens on the 26th.

    Probable Starters

    Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown PPG RPG
    F31Brandon Morris6-7205Fr.Lithonia, Ga. 2.9 2.0
    F15Donte' Williams6-9225Jr.Ellenwood, Ga. 6.6 5.0
    C41John Cannon6-10240So.Burnsville, N.C. 3.4 2.2
    G4Charles Mann6-4205Fr.Alpharetta, Ga. 4.8 2.1#
    G1Kentavious Caldwell-Pope6-5205So.Greenville, Ga. 17.4 7.2

    #Assists Per Game

    Head Coach: Mark Fox
    Record at Georgia / Years: 53-53 / 4th season
    Overall Record/Years: 176-96 / 9th season
    Assistant Coaches: Kwanza Johnson, Philip Pearson, Stacey Palmore

    Pos. No. Name Ht. Wt. Cl. Hometown PPG RPG
    F14Dewayne Dedmon7-0255Jr.Lancaster, Calif.5.87.8
    F34Eric Wise6-6240Sr.Riverside, Calif.10.65.0
    C55Omar Oraby7-2270Jr.Cairo, Egypt7.43.3
    G1Jio Fontan6-0175Sr.Paterson, N.J.8.55.4a
    G22Byron Wesley6-5210So.Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.9.54.2

    Head Coach: Kevin O'Neill
    Record at USC / Years: 44-62 / 4th season
    Overall Record / Years: 232-256 / 16th season
    Assistant Coaches: Bob Cantu (Assoc. HC), Tony Miller, Dieter Horton

    Georgia vs. USC, Pac-12

    • Saturday's game is just the third all-time meeting between Georgia and Southern Cal. Georgia has won both meetings thus far. Aside from last year's Bulldog win at USC, Georgia won the only prior meeting 77-74 on Dec. 29, 1972 in the Quaker City Tournament in Philadelphia.
    • Perhaps these two schools are more notable rivals on the tennis court, where they've combined to win the past six NCAA men's team titles and eight of the past 12.
    • Georgia has had mixed success against other Pac 12 schools. It is 7-2 vs. newest members Colorado (6-2) and Utah (1-0), but only a combined 3-10 against all others.
    • Saturday's game is certainly not USC coach Kevin O'Neill's first try for a win at Stegeman Coliseum. O'Neill was winless in three games here during the 1995-97 seasons as head coach at Tennessee. His three Volunteer squads went 1-6 against Georgia during those three seasons, including a game in the 1996 SEC Tournament.

    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. Last Saturday's game vs. Iona represented 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 3rd in the SEC in minutes at 33.7 per game. Georgia's next most active player is Nemanja Djurisic at 26.2 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

    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope13.2 ppg
    Donte' Williams7.8 ppg
    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope5.2
    Donte' Williams5.1
    Vincent Williams1.4 apg
    Kentavious Caldwell-Pope1.2 apg
    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%

    Dogs Looking for Scorers

    It's no secret who Georgia's "go-to" guy is this season. Sophomore Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has carried the Bulldogs' offense through the early going in admirable fashion. He has led the team in scoring all 10 games to date, hitting for a career-high 27 against Youngstown State.

    The challenge for Georgia has become a search for secondary and even tertiary scoring behind KCP. A number of teammates have shared that status through the early season. Indeed, seven different players have had No. 2 scoring honors to date, yet no one has claimed that role consistently.

    In addition to KCP, just six other double-figure scoring games have been recorded by Georgia players: Nemi Djurisic (twice), Vincent Williams and Donte' Williams, Marcus Thornton and Charles Mann.

    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 36 minutes and 10 points per game.

    Mann leads this group in minutes at 16.6 per contest and a 4.9 points-per-game average. He tied with Caldwell-Pope as the leading scorer (18) in Saturday's loss to Iona.

    Morris, meanwhile, earned his first start against Iona after a solid performance at Ga. Tech (9p/4r/19min.). Against the Gaels, the freshman forward scored 12 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

    Cannon Coming On

    John Cannon 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 vs. ETSU he came off the bench to contribute six points and four rebounds in 14 minutes.

    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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