Early NBA departures benefit recruiting, says UGA basketball coach Mark Fox


UGA coach Mark Fox will be able to tell homegrown recruits that the Bulldogs can put players in the NBA (AJC photo)

There aren’t many positives for UGA’s basketball team regarding the early departures of Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie to the NBA Draft.

But recruiting is certainly one of them.

It may means millions for Thompkins and Leslie, but it does millions for UGA’s recruiting efforts — especially when it comes to validating the notion that Georgia’s homegrown talent can play for the Bulldogs and make it to the NBA.

“Here’s how I see it — I think it really shows our player development,” UGA basketball coach Mark Fox said recently.

“I think you could point to Travis Leslie’s development; how’s he improved as a player while he has been with us, as well as others in our program. It has been a real plus.

“I think it shows that kids can realistically pursue their basketball dreams through Georgia.”

The negative impact on recruiting? “You have scholarships open that you’ve tried to recruit to fill, but they haven’t officially been open yet,” Fox said. “Kids can sit there and say ‘Well, Travis is gone yet.’ So you get the scholarship so late [when players declare for the NBA Draft] that it makes recruiting a little harder because of the timing of it.

“But I do think overall it’s a plus for recruiting.”

Yes, a big plus, because there’s not one high school player who signs a major-college scholarship without having NBA aspirations.


  • Ex-Tennessee basketball recruit Kevin Ware, who de-committed from Central Florida, told the AJC he will visit UGA this weekend, and then Louisville after his May 27 graduation from Rockdale County High School
  • NC State transfer Ryan Harrow, who played at Walton High School, has said UGA will be one of his five visits. The point guard is currently on a recruiting trip to Kentucky, reported the basketball website ASeaOfBlue: “Harrow is also an intriguing option … he chose to leave NC State after not seeing eye-to-eye with the new coaching regime. Harrow struggled in his freshman year, averaging 9.9 PPG and 3.3 APG and shooting just 39% from the field. However, the one-time 5* recruit has loads of potential, and could immediately step into a starting role when he becomes eligible in 2012. Harrow is doing a five school barnstorming tour, starting with Kentucky this evening, followed by Texas, Louisville, Georgia and St. John’s. Per his mother, Harrow’s plan is to decide by mid-June in order to start taking summer classes.”
  • Surprise on Mother’s Day: UGA and Florida State both offered 2012 Union Grove High School point guard Charles Mann (6-5, 193), who has been on a hot streak among college scouts since being offered by national champion UConn. Mann is scheduled to make an unofficial visit on Wednesday to his childhood favorite, Georgia Tech, which has not offered.

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog


Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com — Inappropriate BLOG comments will NOT be tolerated

Follow me on Twitter @RecruitingAJC

48 comments Add your comment

c'mon man

May 11th, 2011
2:17 am

Foxes Hounds are Awesome! Go DAWGS!

c'mon man

May 11th, 2011
2:18 am

Love the direction of the BBall team and look forward to another great year. We DON’T need Ware. Too much about him and not enough about the Team.


[...] See the original post: NBA News: Early NBA departures benefit recruiting, says UGA basketball coach Mark Fox – Atlanta Jour… [...]


May 11th, 2011
3:58 am

LOL Thompkins would have been a beast if Felton was still the coach…Leslie is just an athlete. Fox can’t coach or recruit.

Milledgeville Dawg

May 11th, 2011
5:41 am

Jason-your an idiot!!!!


May 11th, 2011
6:37 am

Mark Fox might be right. It does make it easier to recruit. But like so many other coaches he has lost site of the big picture. It is the fans that have been losing for years with this one-and-done rule. Basketball is losing fans in greater numbers every year. Donations are way down from previous levels. But what the heck, it makes it easy to recruit!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


May 11th, 2011
7:16 am

Jason- your a double idiot…….

Recruiting | MrSEC.com

May 11th, 2011
7:49 am

[...] Mark Fox because of their departures. Say again? Fox believes that sending two players to the NBA could entice prospects to give Georgia a closer look.“Here’s how I see it – I think it really shows our player development,” Fox [...]

jeffrey d

May 11th, 2011
7:59 am

It’s YOU’RE!


May 11th, 2011
8:07 am

Of course Leslie and Thompkins were THREE and done, but why quibble?


May 11th, 2011
8:09 am

Well see a lot of things about Coach Fox this year. We know he is a good coach, taking a team that couldn’t win adding on Junior college transfer (Robinson) and getting an NCAA bid the next year. Now well see if the players he recruited can step up and continue to help the team be competitive. Go DAWGS!


May 11th, 2011
8:10 am

Duke and Kentucky etc continue to play on National TV in prime time 5 or 6 times a year and continue to get to the sweet 16 and final four….The very very elite out of Georgia will continue to want to be a part of that, IMO


May 11th, 2011
8:11 am

Trey ( before I was NBA) Tompkins will be a 2nd round pick, play 8 minutes a night, average 4 points, 2 rebounds, rack up a bunch of Ritz Carlton points and be out of the NBA in three years due to nagging injuries.


May 11th, 2011
8:19 am


May 11th, 2011
3:58 am
LOL Thompkins would have been a beast if Felton was still the coach…Leslie is just an athlete. Fox can’t coach or recruit.

Drunk and stupid is no way for you to go through life Jason. By 4:00 am you should put down the bottle of liquid courage or in your case liquid ignorance, and go to bed.

Destin Dawg

May 11th, 2011
8:21 am

B BALL Dawgs… going up hill in Athens !!


May 11th, 2011
8:44 am

The tired worn out negative comments by non UGA fans are boring. Why don’t they actually go somewhere and pull for a team as opposed to trolling every UGA article in order to get their agenda say negative and stupid things?

Dawg fan 79

May 11th, 2011
9:00 am

Ware would out this recruiting class in the top 25. When was the last time UGA did that ?

I hope these 2 star bigs have the blue collar mentality to do the dirty work like seniors Price and Barnes had. M. Thorton and E. Williams did to gain some weight.

Dawg fan 79

May 11th, 2011
9:01 am


Ware could put this recruiting class in the top 25. When was the last time UGA did that in basketball ?


May 11th, 2011
9:01 am

JB, actually Kentucky just made their first final four since 1998. That’s a pretty big gap for an elite program.

Perry Mason

May 11th, 2011
9:01 am

Well, dap – at least we didn’t have 4 or 5 “FIRST” s on here, which is so lame. Have to agree with you though. It would be nice to read a column with intelligent comment, and humor is good. But, you know, there are children out there.


May 11th, 2011
9:07 am

Jason, calling you an idiot is an appropriate choice. Idiot is the lowest on the IQ scale ranging from 0-25 points. That puts you below imbeciles (26-50) and morons (51-70.) I bet you just thought you were being insulted–actually you were being classified clinically.

Felton? Really? Yeah you’re an idiot.

Mark Richt

May 11th, 2011
9:08 am

Regarding Ryan Harrow, I’ve always felt that if a coaching change is made, a player should be able to transfer without sitting out a year.

The coach doesn’t have to sit out a year before he coaches again . . .


May 11th, 2011
9:11 am

Jason isn’t an idot… he’s a troll. And he wins the interwebz. Congrats Jason.

Game plan for UGA BB

May 11th, 2011
9:20 am

UGA grad from the late 60s to early 70s. UGA is not a BB school …… right now.

Under this gentleman, UGA is on track to build a foundation and then, work toward a solid, lasting program of exciting wins and with great kids.

CMF is the KEY to UGA for …………….. finally having a BB program that UGA folks can be proud of. He deservedly rec’d his pay raise and new contract. Good.

Our 2010-11 goals were met with the invitation to The Dance. Now? We can pursue loftier goals going forward with the HS talent right here in Georgia.

Go Dawgs.


May 11th, 2011
9:23 am

UK returns 3 0f Top 5 and 4 McDonalds All Americans….We all know who will be #1 and sweep SEC..”If you ain’t the lead sled Dawg..the view never changes”


May 11th, 2011
9:25 am

Let’s see what Fox thinks about players leaving early if it happens to him over and over and over again.

since we are calling out trolls

May 11th, 2011
9:29 am

If Jason is a troll then DA Double UG must be the King of all Trolls! He is one of the first to comment on all Tech blogs with his Nerds and Techies and 31-24’s everyday. It goes both ways.


May 11th, 2011
9:43 am

Harrow looks to be a better option. Need the better player and the immediate playing time that Ware could offer isn’t enough to push him over Harrow, IMO. At best, Dawgs look to battle for 4th in the east next yr with SC.

Fox shows signs of being a really good coach. Just hope that dawg fans keep expectations realistic for next season.


May 11th, 2011
9:47 am

Coming out early benefits IF they get drafted in the 1st round and get that guaranteed contract. Doubt Leslie will make any better than 2nd round.


May 11th, 2011
9:49 am

CATSOWNSEC, trying to understand your math. UK lost Knight, Liggins, Harrrelson so how can they have three of their top five back?

UK rightfully will be in the top two nationally heading into next season with their incredible recruiting class coming in, but don’t sleep on Vandy. They have their entire starting five returning. They will not abe as talented as the Cats, but they will be pretty darn good, maybe top five or ten in their own right.


May 11th, 2011
9:51 am

” One and Dones ” go to college because the NBA doesn’t want them yet. It’s a rule. They don’t go to college to be developed. You don’t win championships with them. Fox needs to rethink his logic. Kyrie ended up hurting Duke. Players who accept a scholarship should be required to graduate or repay the school.


May 11th, 2011
10:08 am

Leslie made a huge mistake. He is not ready. His game is too inconsistent. He needs to become a reliabable midrange shooter, and another year would help.


May 11th, 2011
10:18 am

Recruiting another Thompkins will be very difficult. Travis Leslie will be more the norm with Georgia. How he turns out could be indicative of the coaching at Georgia. Very good athlete, not overly bright, not great fundamentals. Thompkins got under the radar because he went to a single A school, I dealt that happens too often again. He would be playing at Carolina or maybe Kentucky even Conn. like Lamb. If Fox can win with raw talent like Leslie he will be very successful they are there every year for Georgia, not so with the Thompkin types.

Heels Rock and Rule

May 11th, 2011
10:19 am

Sorry, but its winning that gets recruits.


May 11th, 2011
11:02 am

Gt, you don’t know what the heck you are talking about. Saying Leslie is not overly bright, where the
heck does that come from? He actually has good floor awareness and plays smart.
Thompkins played his jr. yr. at one of the most prestigious schools in the country; he certainly did
NOT fly under the radar.
Next time don’t post, especially about Ga., if that’s all you can come up with.

[...] Maybe Georgia’s basketball recruiting will benefit from its early NBA departures. (AJC) [...]

The General Feeling

May 11th, 2011
11:42 am

I can’t see how a guy leaving after one year is good for any team, including Kentucky. The rule needs to be changed to allow kids to either chose the professional route after high school or stay until they have qualified as juniors (meaning they must pass enough classes and earn credits to be a junior) before chosing to leave for a professional opportunity. This would require a kid to complete two full years at a University.

The game is worse with the one and done players.


May 11th, 2011
12:22 pm

Mark Fox will not have to worry about the “one and dones” because he will always get the second tier players in the state. Last year this time everybody was on here talking about how good Marcus Thornton, Mr. Georgia Basketball, was going to be. Fox out recruits Kentucky to get him. Thornton wasn’t going to start for Kentucky, and he is at least another year away from starting even at Georgia. Donte’ Williams was all but headed to a mid major program before the great recruiter Mark Fox offered him. Fox inherited better players than he has brought in the last two years at UGA. It’s Year 3 of the great Mark Fox era, and now he has to win with is players.


May 11th, 2011
12:48 pm

catCLOWNsec, we beat you once last yr even with your 5 star recruits…..Bring it punk!!!!


May 11th, 2011
2:04 pm

UGA basketball…….sucks!

Mark (another one)

May 11th, 2011
2:25 pm

The General Feeling: I think that’s a good rule for all professions. If a kid starts college, they shouldn’t be able to take a job for four years. That would cut down on unemployment and make kids be serious about their decisions and their studies. The only problem is that damned constitution.

Colleges had it easier before the NCAA and NBA changed the rules. Kids were allowed to turn pro right out of high school, and some did. If it didn’t work out, they could still go to college but they would have to pay their own way and they had lost their eligibility. The NCAA and NBA cried about it and decided to deny these kids the right to make a living, claiming it was for their own good. Their rules cause the one and done situation. Simple cause and effect.


May 11th, 2011
3:26 pm

Taking a real look at our 2 guys leaving, I think that Thompkins will develope into a Kurt Thomas type get good position around basket for rebs & garbage & will knock down the open18 footer as for Leslie I not sure will he turn into a defensive contibutor or become a speed guy off the bench to help spark some team. I think Fox is the type coach who gets players to understand where they must contribute for the team.

Take a look at all those guys drafted from Kentucky last year only 2 guys actually made helpful impacts that being Wall & Cousins, unfortunately neither really help improve their team in the win column. Pitino may always land the big fish every year, but it has not translated into a NCAA title, unlike Coach Fox I think that guy is one of the worst managers of young players, coaching in the national spotlight!


May 11th, 2011
4:41 pm

Jason = GT fan. Jason, how’s GT’s program doing?


May 11th, 2011
5:00 pm

Can Travis Leslie still come back to UGA if he goes undrafted or has he signed with an agent?


May 11th, 2011
5:31 pm

Except that Travis Leslie never developed. He’s just an athlete with no real basketball game.

TV fan

May 11th, 2011
7:15 pm

Disagree with Coach Fox on this one. The NBA is slowly ruining college basketball and as a college basketball fan, it’s hard to get behind a team when players leave early. The former coach at GT got really hurt by the one and done players and their attendance suffered this last season. I don’t know how Duke does it every year, but Coach Fox should take a look at their program.

Milledgeville Dawg

May 11th, 2011
7:16 pm

Hey directions, are you kin to Jason?


May 11th, 2011
10:38 pm

Jason = Ignorant Moron. Probably one of those local AAU jock sniffers.