Basketball season opens tonight at UGA. If you missed it, click here for a story mostly about Mark Fox, the new coach who doesn’t want to be the story. Fox has asked that he not be introduced by the public-address announcer before tonight’s game -– or before any home game this season. “I don’t think it’s about the coach. I really don’t,” he said. “. . . I really prefer to just let them introduce our players.” Cool.
Here are a few comments from Fox that didn’t make it into the story:
On the biggest questions facing his team at the start of the season: “We obviously don’t have a proven perimeter scorer. I think we have some guys who are capable of making some plays on the perimeter, but is one person going to emerge as a consistent scoring threat there? That’s a question for us. And how will Trey [Thompkins] deal with the fact that now he will enter games [as] more of a focal point for the defense? How will he respond to that? We have several freshman perimeter players, and how will those kids transition to playing in college? So I think there are a lot of questions we have. But these kids are working hard, and they are getting better.”
On starting anew: “I think there’s a lot of mystery with a new team -– 15 new players for me, a new coach for every one of them. There are just so many things to learn and experience that only the season can bring. So there is mystery. You don’t know what’s going to happen, what you’re going to have to respond to. And one of the joys at the start of any season [is] that you don’t know the road that lies ahead. Fortunately in athletics, you do have a role in the path that lies in front of you. You don’t control everything, but certainly you control some of the things.”
On job No. 1 upon arriving in Athens in April: “I think the first thing we tried to address was the mentality in our locker room . . . just the approach and attitude in the locker room. You know, it was a tough year for those kids a year ago. And I wanted them to invest in their team and develop a positive feeling about where we’re going.”
On the players’ reaction to the new staff’s new ways: “They have been very receptive. I don’t know if they have agreed with it all, but they have been very receptive.”
The season tips off at 7 p.m. against New Orleans.