#61 Georgia: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #61
Conference Rank: #6 Southeastern Conference
2009-10: 14-17, 5-11
2009-10 postseason: none
Coach: Mark Fox (14-17 at Georgia, 137-60 overall)
The 2009-2010 campaign marked the first year that Coach Mark Fox failed to lead his team to the postseason. Yet, that was to be expected during his first year at Georgia since there was a lot of rebuilding to be done. The postseason should not elude Coach Fox this year as the Bulldogs return a load of talent and bring in some quality newcomers. Yet, this is still a relatively young team and Georgia’s best days are still ahead of them.
Key Losses: G Ebuka Anyaorah, C Albert Jackson, G Ricky McPhee
Georgia’s only incoming freshmen are a couple power forwards and Marcus Thornton and Donte Williams will be asked to provide a few minutes off of the bench. Connor Nolte, a transfer from Furman, could spend some time at the four spot, but he is better equipped to play the small forward position in the SEC. Nolte was a roleplayer with Furman and expecting him to do too much is not likely going to happen. Gerald Robinson is more likely to make an impact. The transfer from Tennessee State averaged 17.8 points per game during the 2008-2009 campaign and can score in a variety of ways and will certainly be an impact player. Sherrard Brantley spent one year at the junior college level and should develop into a fine backup point guard who could even see some time at the shooting guard position.
Dustin Ware has a solid hold on the point guard spot. Last year he averaged 8.2 points and 3.4 assists and proved to be a capable scorer inside and out. With Ware running the show, the group on the perimeter should be in great shape. Having Travis Leslie back will not hurt matters either. Leslie, a 6-4 junior, had a superb season last year, averaging 14.8 points, 6.8 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 1.3 steals. Leslie will not take too many outside shots, but he is at least a shooting threat who needs to be covered on the perimeter. And when the opposition does defend Leslie out on the perimeter, he will use his size, strength and speed to attack the basket. Vincent Williams may find it difficult to spend much more time on the floor than he did last season with the addition of Brantley and Robinson, but he had some good moments during his freshman campaign and should be able to contribute 15 minutes per game if he can start hitting his shot.
Leslie is the star of the backcourt, but Trey Thompkins is the player who will catapult the Bulldogs into the postseason. The 6-10 junior averaged an impressive 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds during the 2009-2010 campaign. What makes Thompkins so dangerous on the offensive end is his ability to hit the mid-range jumper with consistency. Thompkins can even step out beyond the arc and connected on 37.7 of his long range attempts last season. Despite occasionally hanging out on the perimeter, Thompkins gets the job done defensively and on the glass. Jeremy Price will likely take over the other starting frontcourt job. The 6-8, 270 pound senior has been pretty productive when given the opportunity to play and could be in for a surprisingly good season. Chris Barnes is not as effective of a scorer as Price, but otherwise the senior plays a very similar game.
Who to Watch:
The starting five is solid assuming Robinson can score almost as effectively in the SEC as he did in the Ohio Valley Conference. Asking him to score 17.7 points per game is a little much, but he has a lot more experience scoring points than anybody else on this team. If Thompkins, Leslie and Robinson can all average double figures in scoring, the pressure will be off of Ware to put up a lot of points so he can concentrate on running the show.
Losing Ricky McPhee and Albert Jackson will hurt a little bit, but Coach Fox brought in some experienced players to help fill the void and all of the returning players will benefit from the experienced newcomers. That should lead to a much better season for Georgia and another postseason trip for Coach Fox.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NIT
Projected Starting Five:
Dustin Ware, Junior, Guard, 8.2 ppg
Gerald Robinson, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Travis Leslie, Junior, Guard, 14.8 ppg
Jeremy Price, Senior, Forward, 7.2 ppg
Trey Thompkins, Junior, Forward, 17.7 ppg
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