New Faces, Tough Schedule Make 2012 Rebuilding Year for Dogs Young BulldogsFinish at 15-17
Year Three of the Mark Fox era at Georgia represented a small retreat, record-wise, but in many ways it meant an auspicious phase in this reclamation project.
With an unprecedented two early defections to the NBA, Georgia was already faced with an uphill trek in 2012. A national schedule, rated among the Top 20 in difficulty, made the climb even more of a challenge.
Still, the Bulldogs managed their share of highlights:
- Counting his two seasons at Tennessee State, Gerald Robinson finished his collegiate career with 1,855 career points, 834 at Georgia and 1,021 in two seasons (2008-09) at TSU. That combined figure would rank 2nd on Georgia's career scoring list, behind only all-time leader Litterial Green (2,111 pts.).
- The Nashville, Tenn., native had his share of great moments in his senior season. In particular, he shredded Arkansas for a career-high 27 points in leading Georgia to an 81-57 win. Three days later, he scored 10 of the Bulldogs' final 13 points in a 70-68 overtime win at 20th-ranked Miss. State. Robinson was named the SEC's Player of the Week for his back-to-back heroics.
- It took every game of his career, but senior guard Dustin Ware joined a distinguished list of basketball players in UGA history. In his final contest, Ware's first bucket — naturally, a 3-pointer — gave him 1,000 points for his career. In so doing, he became the 42nd player in Bulldog annals to reach that milestone.
- Just as important, Ware was credited with two assists in that final SEC Tournament game vs. Vanderbilt, putting him at an even 400 for his career. Not only did that number tie him with former Bulldog All-American Vern Fleming for 5th place on the school's career list, it also put him in an elite group of players. Ware is now one of just six Georgia players in history to have amassed at least 1,000 points and 400 assists in her career.
- Two additional stats on Ware are worth mentioning as part of his career: 1) though these rankings aren't kept, his career assist-to-turnover ratio of +2.15/1 would surely rank among the best in school history. 2) he finished with a career 3-point percentage of 36.2, and his junior-year percentage of 43.5 ranks as the fifth-best season in school history.
- There likely hasn't been as valuable a freshman to Georgia as Kentavious Caldwell-Pope since 2005, when point guard Sundiata Gaines led the Bulldogs in minutes played, assists and steals, and he was also second on the team in both scoring (12.0) and rebounding (4.9). The last Bulldog freshman to lead his team in scoring at season's end, however, was All-SEC forward Jumaine Jones in 1998 (14.7 ppg).
- Caldwell-Pope ranked second among Bulldogs in scoring at 13.2 per game and led them in rebounding (5.2), steals (1.8) and minutes (32.1). He also sank dramatic game-winning 3-pointers in both of Georgia's road wins: at Southern Cal and Mississippi State. He was named to the Coaches Freshman All-SEC team at season's end.
- In the season's-end RPI listings, Georgia's schedule was rated 15th most difficult in the nation, and for good reason. The Bulldogs played 22 of their 32 games against teams that reached post-season play. Three of their nine wins in those games came against NCAA Tournament participants: South Dakota State, Notre Dame and Florida.
- Georgia posted a pair of wins over Top 25 opponents: Mississippi State and Florida. The former victory took place in Starkville, giving the Bulldogs their first road win over a ranked opponent in over eight years, going back to a win at Kentucky in the 2004 season.
- One endearing trait to this particular Georgia team was that it staunchly protected the basketball. The Bulldogs ranked first among SEC teams — ranking 7th nationally — in turnovers per game at 10.4 miscues per game. This season they had 14 games of single-digit turnovers, including a season-low four TOs on Feb. 11 in their overtime win at Miss. State. Game-by-game stats are available only back to the 1979-80 season. There is no game during that time span — 1979 to the present — where Georgia committed fewer than its four turnovers from that game.