Georgia Plays Host to MEAC's Florida A&M
Dec. 28, 2012
About the Game
Georgia plays host to MEAC member Florida A&M in a Saturday afternoon contest. Both teams arrive at this game with 4-7 overall marks. The Bulldogs are currently working on their first win streak of the season, having posted victories in each of their past two games: 58-49 over Mercer on Dec. 18 and most recently, 64-56 over Southern Cal one week ago.
Georgia players dispersed for the Christmas holiday immediately after the USC game on the 22nd. They returned for practice on Wed., Dec. 26.
Three Bulldogs earned their first collegiate starts in the past three games: freshmen Brandon Morris and Charles Mann, as well as sophomore center John Cannon. Mann has taken over the starting point guard job for the Bulldogs with three straight solid performances. He totaled 19 points and 11 assists in Georgia's two victories last week. Cannon posted career-best numbers in the victory over USC, getting 10 points and seven rebounds in 20 minutes of action.
Still, sophomore guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope remains the focal point of all that Georgia does. He's the only Bulldog to have started all 11 games and to be averaging over 30 minutes per game (33.5, 4th in SEC). He has taken 28 percent of the team's 557 field-goal attempts, and 43 percent of its 3-point attempts. The Greenville, Ga., native also leads Georgia in rebounding (7.2) and steals (27). Thanks to his 25-point effort against USC, Caldwell-Pope currently leads all SEC players in scoring at 18.1 points per game. No Bulldog since Jarvis Hayes in 2003 has been the league's top scorer at any juncture of a season.
Saturday's game is third all-time meeting between Georgia and Florida A&M in basketball. Georgia won both of the previous two in the 2004 and 2006 seasons. It marks the second straight year in which Georgia closed out the calendar year with a game against a MEAC foe. Last season's Bulldogs defeated Delaware State 58-51 in their last game of 2011.
Today's game is the fourth game of an important five-game homestand that will close out the non-conference portion of the 2012-13 schedule. After the game today, the Bulldogs' next outing will come Friday, Jan. 4 against Atlantic 10 foe George Washington.
#Assists Per Game
Head Coach: Clemon Johnson
Georgia vs. Florida A&M, MEAC
Saturday's game is just the third all-time meeting between Georgia and Florida A&M.
Today's game is also the 12th all-time game between Georgia and a current member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC). Bulldog teams have never lost to a MEAC foe> and have the following records: 2-0 vs. Bethune-Cookman, Delaware State, Florida A&M and Savannah State; 1-0 vs. Howard, N.C. A&T and South Carolina State.
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 38.8 minutes and 11.2 points per game, numbers that have steadily increased over the past three contests.
Mann leads this group in minutes at 18.2 per contest and a 5.2 points-per-game average. He has averaged over 12 points per game in the most recent 3-game stretch.
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. Most recently, he scored all 10 of his points in the second half against USC.
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.
He continues the upward progress of his young career. Having started Georgia's past two games, Cannon posted career-best numbers (10 pts, 7 rebs) in the win over USC on Dec. 22.
About the Schedule
Georgia in 2012-13 could play as many as 19 games against teams that participated in the postseason last year. The Bulldogs have faced consensus current No. 1 Indiana in the Progressive Legends Classic at the brand-new Barclays Center in Brooklyn, N.Y. They'll also face 2012 NCAA Tournament entry South Florida in Tampa as part of the annual SEC/Big East Challenge.
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:
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.
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 two 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.
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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