Just came from the Stegeman Coliseum Practice Facility at UGA. New Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox was holding what he calls “Media Madness” in which us media types are put through the (modified) paces of one of the Bulldogs’ practices.
I considered it an overwhelming personal success, mainly because I’m not dead. So does the University of Georgia, which just in case made me sign a waiver and had a defibrillator within sight of the court.
I don’t have anything Earth-shattering to report here other than I thought it was a pretty cool way for Fox to introduce himself and his staff and players to the media. And it was a great turnout, with about three dozen men and a half dozen women suiting up to participate.
We stretched and shot around at first, then split into four groups and rotated through five stations working on rebounding, defense, free-throw shooting, ball-handling and basic offensive principals. Then we had a shooting contest followed by an eight-minute, half-court game in which we stayed on defense for four minutes and offense four minutes. Finally, staying with our original group, we played an eight-minute, full-court game against one of the other groups.
My group’s coach was Mark Pope, who played college ball at both the University of Washington and Kentucky and played in the NBA until 2005. He’s now an operations guy on Fox’s staff. Let’s just say Pope is very patient and has a great sense of humor.
I was point guard on my team because, well, what else can you do with a 5-foot-7 guy? And I left a beautiful line in my box score: 6 minutes played, 3 turnovers, 0 assists, 0-2 shooting, 0 points.
Remarkably, we almost won anyway. But AJC colleague Steve Hummer missed a free throw and couldn’t gather up a late rebound in the final seconds and we fell 11-10. Way to go, Steve; it’s all your fault! (The truth is the 6-foot-3 Hummer actually plays in a YMCA men’s league and was our best player).
But it really was a good time and I appreciate Coach Fox going to the trouble of putting it all together. He has his hands full as it is. The Bulldogs just started practice this past Friday and they will need every minute of all 29 practice opportunities to master Fox’s version of the triangle offense.
For me, probably the most enjoyable part of the whole exercise was watching the players watch the hacks going at it in the game they work so hard to play. Their facial expressions and full-belly laughs were priceless.
I told Trey Thompkins they probably should have had the players report on the writers’ performances for once. You know, turnabout’s fair play.
And I could have given him his headline: “Towers stinks it up.”
Now I have to go soak.
In the meantime, here’s a few pics (I think they’re blurry from all the sweat in the building):