Florida’s Donovan: Georgia ‘clearly may be better than everyone’ in SEC

HOOVER, Ala. – You might be surprised to hear who Florida coach Billy Donovan thinks can be the best basketball team in the SEC this season.

“The one team that I think clearly may be better than everyone — and I think all the teams are good -– is Georgia,” Donovan said today at the SEC Basketball Media Day event here.  “Any time you’ve got two players on the first-team [preseason] all-SEC and you probably have in my opinion the best player in the league in Trey Thompkins. . . . ”

In a media vote earlier this week, Thompkins and teammate Travis Leslie were named to the preseason All-SEC first team, making Georgia the only school with two representatives. However, Donovan’s team was picked by the same media panel to win the SEC title. Georgia was picked to finish third in the East, which would be a marked improvement after finishing last in the division for three consecutive seasons.

Donovan sees Georgia making huge strides in its second season under Mark Fox, who Donovan called “a terrific coach.”

“People forget that although their record did not reflect it, their season last year could have been totally different because of a lot of close losses that could have gone either way,” Donovan said. “I think when you’ve got a new coach and a new style of play, what happens a lot of times is there’s a learning curve that goes on of how you try to win games inside your system and your style. I think the kids at Georgia probably were going through that, but they are clearly a team to me that I think is going to be terrific.”

More later from SEC Media Day. Appearances by Fox and Thompkins are on this afternoon’s schedule.

108 comments Add your comment

jax

October 21st, 2010
1:44 pm

Should be a great year

Rico Suave

October 21st, 2010
1:52 pm

I think UGA basketball fans are misunderstood. You KNOW in the next 5-10 mins, a tech fan or 7 will be on here telling us “you haven’t won crap!” or “You had a losing record last year, your fanbase is blind!”

But, as a true UGA fan, one that speaks realisticly… we dont give a crap about basketball, unless they give us reason to think they may be good. Congrats Techies, you are right! We DIDN’t win crap last year. Beating Tech isn’t crap. Even though we did that. But we lost a LOT of games. However, we looked pretty good doing it.

LOTS and LOTS of our competition graduated or went pro, and the smae UGA team that hung with the bigger boys are ALL back.

UGA fans 100% admit to being fairweather basketball fans. It simply gives us the power to revel in any success that may come our way, but not really care when we fail.

So try and get under our skin Techies…. we really don’t care.

Oh, and isn’t Tech picked to finish 9th this season…… in their conference.

GO DAWGS!!!!

Army Vet

October 21st, 2010
1:53 pm

Jax….thanks for not posting “FIRST” like most of the other idiots.

jax

October 21st, 2010
1:56 pm

oh yeah…first!

Gordon

October 21st, 2010
1:58 pm

Rico,

You won’t get much argument from any (or at least many) of us Tech fans on which program is heading in the right direction and which isn’t. I’m not a fair weather Tech basketball fan, but even I’ve had enough of the current coach.

Army Vet

October 21st, 2010
1:58 pm

Jax…guess you’re an idiot after all. My mistake!

Gen Neyland

October 21st, 2010
2:00 pm

I’m not surprised.

DookerJ

October 21st, 2010
2:02 pm

That’s some high praise from a damn good coach.

Ed

October 21st, 2010
2:02 pm

As much as I would like that to be true…what’s he smoking?

Saying that Georgia basketball is “clearly…better than everyone” is like saying in the preseason that Kentucky football is clearly better than everyone in the SEC. Theoretically possible, but highly unlikely.

SadDawg

October 21st, 2010
2:08 pm

Nice comment from another “terrific coach.”

DAWG ONE

October 21st, 2010
2:10 pm

As a long time fan of ALL UGA sports and season ticket holder in basketball, I enjoyed the class of Ken Rosemond, John Guthrie and Hugh Durham. I thought we had someone in Jim Harrick but was wrong. I felt Felton was a nice guy, but finished last.

Now, I see in Mark Fox a coach who understands not only the game, but individuals as well. Great days lie ahead for a program longing for recognition year in, year out. Unless Mark Fox leaves us without giving us a chance to keep him, we will keep him! Coach, recruiter, class, and technician. He is the total package.

MURPHY

October 21st, 2010
2:11 pm

Not a basketball fan,but glad to hear Coach Fox is turning around the program.

Goldtimer

October 21st, 2010
2:13 pm

Speaks volumes about the quality of the SEC when a team in the previous year had a losing record is the conferences best team. SEC basketball = AA baseball

seabass

October 21st, 2010
2:14 pm

Well that’s good to hear for a change! We do have a good coach and will have a good team, if not now soon. And Ed, you obviously don’t know basketball. .

Zach

October 21st, 2010
2:15 pm

Donovan has class.

Bizarro Superman

October 21st, 2010
2:15 pm

How did the SEC East become an afterthought in football and a powerhouse in basketball? I mean, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Vandy could all make the tourney this year. This is craziness I tell ya!

DawginLex

October 21st, 2010
2:16 pm

Yes goldtimer that’s why Kentucky only has 7 national titles and florida has 2 and Arkansas has 1. That weak SEC. Where 4 teams in the SEC East are in the preseason top 25.

where is Ga Tech in those rankings?

Face facts because the Mark Fox train is running and is going to run all over your pathetic underachieving bunch again this year while Duke runs away with a weak ACC.

Ron Roberts

October 21st, 2010
2:17 pm

1. There are PLENTY of forums here to talk football; this is about the BASKETBALL program.

2. AJC – get on the stick; let’s see some photos of Stegman’s renovation. GO DAWGS!

59bulldawg

October 21st, 2010
2:20 pm

DookerJ, I second that sentiment. And hope he’s right!

Dale

October 21st, 2010
2:23 pm

release the hounds!

SoCal Dawg

October 21st, 2010
2:23 pm

If recruiting continues to improve I predict the final four within 4 years.

Go Dawgs!

GTBob

October 21st, 2010
2:24 pm

What is UGA adding this year that is going to take them from a 14-17 record to the best team in the SEC? A couple of 3 star forwards? Leslie and Thompkins played great last year, how much better can they get this year? I think UGA will be improved but Donovan’s assessment seems a little unlikely.

JLC

October 21st, 2010
2:28 pm

Someone please tell me the difference between Mark Fox and Paul Hewitt in their first years? It’s so funny how everyone wants to kill PH, and adore MF. PH took GT dancing in his first year with 0 NBA talent. MF won 14 games with 2 potential 1st rounders on his roster in a league that had 6 teams finish below .500. Historically UGA pulls a few upsets within their few wins. I think everyone should hold their opinions of MF until after this year.

SoCal Dawg

October 21st, 2010
2:33 pm

JLC that’s what so great about a blog. You get to give your opinion whenever you want to. Is UGA the best team in the SEC? Probably not but half the fun of following your team is dreaming.

Paul Hewitt

October 21st, 2010
2:33 pm

JLC, the major difference between Mark Fox and me is that Fox can actually coach and I’m a glorified AAU coach. Heck, I still don’t understand the triangle offense. As for as I’m concerned, X’s and O’s are for tic-tac-toe

What DAWG ONE said

October 21st, 2010
2:36 pm

What DAWG ONE said…cheers.

What DAWG ONE said

October 21st, 2010
2:37 pm

JLC – I thought MF beat the tech NERDS last year…what am I missing?

JLC

October 21st, 2010
2:39 pm

I’m just saying….We all put CPH on a throne after the final game visit in ‘04, and he has been a let down with good talent since. I would just be patient with Fox, who seems to be a good coach. We all thought CPH was the next Roy Williams, and well….

b

October 21st, 2010
2:39 pm

dawginlex is exactly right. SEC is much better than over hyped acc this year.

Peach Fuzz

October 21st, 2010
2:41 pm

Like saying most manly in a gay bar!

Kevdawg

October 21st, 2010
2:42 pm

GTBob – Have a transfer guard that sat out last year that Thompkins said was the best player on the floor last year at practice for one. Four starters back and the top sub as well. Everyone has a year of Coach Foxes system under there belt. If you watched any games last year, Georgia was very competitive with the top teams in the league at the end of the year. You may be surprised what a good coach can do. Tech always has top notch talent but has not done much with it. Last years team will wind up having four or five NBA players on that roster and they didn’t accomplish anything.

Bruce Mac

October 21st, 2010
2:42 pm

Tim, what does the starting five look like for UGA? I remember UGA had a transfer stud guard that will be in the mix for 2010/11 and they had a couple of good recruits. Everyone knows about Leslie and Trey but the rest of the team will have to step up for them to make it to the NCAA’s. How do you see that coming together?

JLC

October 21st, 2010
2:43 pm

You’re missing that UGA won 14 games last year. UGA always pulls a few upsets, and beats GT at home. That’s nothing new. So, as of now, I have not seen anything to believe UGA is doing anything different than usual.

Peach Fuzz

October 21st, 2010
2:44 pm

Dawginlex, there are 3 schools in NC alone that have multiple titles.

Bruce Mac

October 21st, 2010
2:48 pm

JLC, that is like asking why would GT be better just because they return Lawal and Favors? When you return two studs and add a few other pieces you are better. Duh!!!!!!!!!

DawginLex

October 21st, 2010
2:48 pm

Duke will dominate the ACC this year. no one else is even close. The SEC has 5 legit teams. None of them are in duke’s class but all are better than most of the ACC including NC who will struggle again this year. Tech is an afterthought.

Rashomon

October 21st, 2010
2:50 pm

You haven’t won crap!

You had a losing record last year!

Your fanbase is blind!

:-)

DawginLex

October 21st, 2010
2:56 pm

and one more thing,

If Coach Cal gets Enes Kanter eligible in 2010, all bets are off for the SEC. Kanter is the best player in the world 19 and under.

Think Demarcus Cousins with a jumpshot. 6′11″ 275 lbs.

The difference between challenging Duke and going to the Final Four or struggling to win the SEC East.

Fair and Balanced

October 21st, 2010
2:59 pm

We hope that UGA got it right with the hiring of Fox. Time will tell. Actually, you will notice that it usually takes about 2 seasons only to turn a program around – if the coach has the goods. We’ll see.

JLC

October 21st, 2010
3:00 pm

GT also added 4 other top 100 freshman other than Favors. Arguably the most talented one (other than Favors), Kam Holsley, did not even play last year. I predict that UGA will be be better, but in the end probably not as good as people had hoped. GT will be the surprise of the ACC, just like in ‘04, the year after Bosh went pro. CPH may not be the coach we thought he would be, but it is clear that he prefers a guard-heavy team, and that’s what he’s got this year.

Spud Webb

October 21st, 2010
3:03 pm

Rashomon- how exactly is being excited about the direction of the program being blind? And you should only use emoticons when texting or emailing women you either are now or want to sleep with in the future.

atlvol55

October 21st, 2010
3:03 pm

Tennessee or KY wins the SEC East…you can mark that down.

Pearl has told people privately he believes this is the best team he has had at Tennessee. Remember, TN was 1 point away from the final four next year. UGA will be better; but they aren’t going to challenge either this year…

Spud Webb

October 21st, 2010
3:06 pm

atlvol55- you’re probably right but it would be nice if UGA could do well enough to get the tournament and maybe even get a decent seed. The Thanksgiving tournament in Orlando will tell us a lot.

Bruce Mac

October 21st, 2010
3:08 pm

The prediction is third, I haven’t seen any unrealistic expectations posted here. What are you all talking about? Dogs win 20, go to NCAA. Nobody thinks they are going to final four.

Dawglasville

October 21st, 2010
3:12 pm

JLC – I do appreciate your sincerity and the fact that you want to have an intelligent blog discussion with “the enemy.” I said the same thing about Paul Johnson after year two. At that point he had not done anything more than Richt had done after year two. What Fox gives us is hope and a sense that the program is headed in the right direction. The same thing Paul Johnson gives y’all.

MS Bully

October 21st, 2010
3:25 pm

Please, anyone but Reftucky win the East. MS. State will take care of the West.

Undercover "dawg", North Ave, Atlanta address

October 21st, 2010
3:33 pm

You UGA’ers are not just BASKETBALL fair weather fans. Untill three weeks ago you some-bi— were ready to linch CMR!

SC dawg

October 21st, 2010
3:47 pm

I predict that coach Cal with his tract record will have Kentucky on probation within 3 years anyway so enjoy it while you csan Kentucky fans.

DAWG ONE nailed it!

October 21st, 2010
3:48 pm

Great post. I too go back to the Red Lawson, Ken Rosemond era. Also am a year round Dog fan, liking most every sport.