Georgia’s seniors fought hard to fill void left by NBA defectors

ATHENS – They won’t go down as one of Georgia’s most accomplished bunches and many that should be among them won’t be when the Bulldogs’ seniors are honored before Saturday’s regular-season finale. But all-in-all they were darn good Dogs, according to coaches and teammates.

Four players will be recognized during Senior Day festivities before the Bulldogs tip off against South Carolina at 1:30 p.m. Saturday at Stegeman Coliseum. On paper they are a four-year letterman (Dustin Ware), a transfer (Gerald Robinson) and two walkons who stuck it out and earned scholarships (Matt Bucklin and Connor Nolte). But all of them are equal in their contributions to the team in the eyes of head coach Mark Fox.

“Because we lost those guys early, all the responsibility of leadership and scoring and teaching guys to defend all kind of fell on those seniors,” said Fox, who’s in his third season with the Bulldogs. “This has probably been as dependent as we’ve been on a senior group, ever really, even my time as an assistant coach. But I think at the end of the day it will have been a great experience for them.”

Guard Travis Leslie and forward Trey Thompkins each chose to enter the NBA draft a year early. Both were selected in the second round and ended up with the Los Angeles Clippers. However, Leslie, a 6-foot-4 guard, was sent down to the NBA’s Developmental League this week.

With them and last year’s 30.8 points and 14.8 rebounds, Georgia likely would have been headed to a second consecutive NCAA Tournament berth. Without them, the Bulldogs (13-16, 4-11) need a victory over South Carolina (10-19, 2-13) – coupled with an Auburn loss to LSU — to have a chance to finish 10th in the 12-team SEC

“I don’t think they handled it perfectly,” Fox said of the burden placed on the upperclassmen. “I thought Gerald and Dustin tried to do too much early. But I admire how they tried to do more than they should have.”

Robinson, a Nashville native whose father teaches and coaches at Tennessee State, started his career there before transferring to UGA and sitting out during Fox’s first season. He was able to play as a junior and was a big reason the Bulldogs earned an NCAA bid.

“Last year he was the difference in the team,” Fox said of Robinson, who leads the Bulldogs in scoring and assists. “He brought an element to the team that we didn’t have before and that helped us get into the NCAA tournament. It wasn’t the only reason we got into the tournament but he certainly made a huge difference. This year, I think he’s had a very good conference season. I think he has proven what he thought, that he could play at a high level.”

Ware has endured the worst shooting slump of his career a year after leading the SEC in 3-point shooting. But he remains a consummate leader and captain.

“Dustin has been a great model of stability,” Fox said. “He’s always been considered one of the hardest workers. You never doubted what kind of effort he was going to put in during the season, out of the season. He has been a constant performer in the classroom and you never worried if he was going to have success or not. He’s been a great citizen. He’s really epitomized what a student-athlete should be.”

Others who also could have been part of this class were Ebuka Anyorah and Drazen Zlovarich, each of whom transferred out.

Here’s a thumbnail sketch of each senior and what they’ll remember most about their time as Georgia basketball players.

MATT BUCKLIN

  • G, 6-0, 170, Pope HS, Marietta
  • Comment: Bucklin, whose brother Mike played for the Bulldogs, is a former walkon who made the team in an open tryout freshman in 2008. Will get his first start of his career on Senior Day, which will be the 24th appearance of his career.
  • Most memorable moment: “No doubt for me it’s making the NCAA tournament last year. Hearing your name called like that, it puts things into perspective, everything you worked on, everything you did back in the summer, all the ups and downs you experience during the season. It all came together for a purpose and it’s a great sense of accomplishment. That’s something I’ll be able to hold onto forever.”

CONNOR NOLTE

  • F, 6-7, 215, Milton HS, Alpharetta
  • Comment: Nolte actually would have played more (20 games, 6.6 mpg) had it not been for a hamstring injury that sidelined him for a month. Transferred from Furman in 2009 and started first three games of 2010-11 due to Thompkins’ injury.
  • Most memorable moment: “I came to Georgia as a walkon and I was trying work as hard as I could. But I still could not have imagined I would start my first three games as a Dog. That’s probably the most memorable thing for me. I remember, it was against Colorado and I’m getting ready for tip off and I look down and I see my reflection coming off the black paint in the G on the floor. I just kind of smiled to myself and remember being very thankful for the opportunity. I still get goosebumps thinking about it. I’ve been really blessed to play here and I’m just happy Coach Fox gave me a chance.”

GERALD ROBINSON JR.

  • G, 6-1, 180, MLK HS, Nashville, Tenn.
  • Comment: Robinson began his career at Tennessee State, where his father was a coach. But after being named Freshman of Year in Ohio Valley Conference, he transferred to Georgia in 2009 and sat out one season. As a junior he, recorded 133 assists while leading the Bulldogs to their first at-large NCAA tournament berth since 2002.
  • Most memorable moment: “Just all the times I’ve had here with my Georgia family. It’s a family outside of my actual family; that’s the atmosphere we have here. I’m going to miss it when I leave. I’ll definitely come back and visit. It was an unbelievable opportunity the University of Georgia gave me to be a part of it. It’s a part of me now.”

DUSTIN WARE

  • G, 5-11, 172, North Cobb Christian HS, Powder Springs
  • Comment: Ware will have played all 126 games of his career – with 102 starts – when the Bulldogs take the court against South Carolina on Saturday. He led the SEC in the 3-point shooting (43.5 percent) as a junior and will average more than 30 minutes a game when his career concludes.
  • Most memorable moment: “No doubt it will be when we made the NCAA tournament last year. It wasn’t even the game. I mean, obviously that was huge; it was a lot of fun and a great experience and all that. But the biggest thing was we were sweating it out on Selection Sunday, we’re sitting in the locker room and we don’t know what’s going to happen. All of the sudden our name comes across the screen and we almost tear the locker room apart. It was like some people won the lottery, honestly. It was just a moment with your team, the guys you’ve been in the trenches with all year, it’s just something I’ll never forget. Sometimes I still have dreams about that. It was an unforgettable moment.”

52 comments Add your comment

DawgInaTruck

March 2nd, 2012
4:28 pm

Four DGD’s.

btgt69

March 2nd, 2012
4:44 pm

Tech man here,,,, uga has a lot to be proud of with these 4 men. It is great they stuck around through trials, tribulations, heartbreak, triumphs. They will be winners in their next endeavor.

LakeDawg

March 2nd, 2012
4:53 pm

Yes, they are DGD’s. Good luck to them in their future.

Worm

March 2nd, 2012
5:00 pm

btg69, classy and well said..

reality check

March 2nd, 2012
5:07 pm

GREAT group of DAWGS

Dawg Haus

March 2nd, 2012
5:12 pm

Agreed, btgt69. These young men should leave UGA with their heads held high.

B

March 2nd, 2012
5:31 pm

Gentlemen, good luck in your careers and work your hardest to be the best.

dmr

March 2nd, 2012
5:52 pm

Very proud of this Senior class. Worked hard, showed heart, gave their best. Sometimes it is good to celebrate the finer point of sports.

“Glory is not reserved solely for those who have conquered. But it is to be shared by those who have been knocked down and always find the resolve to rise again.”

bgness

March 2nd, 2012
5:57 pm

Heard news that uga has cracked Tony Parkers top 3, anyone heardof this?

Don'tsufferfools

March 2nd, 2012
9:11 pm

These seniors kept the team playing hard through a tough season. I hope they can win their last home game.

Coffee Bluff DAWG

March 2nd, 2012
9:51 pm

Good call on the seniors Chip. I didn’t think this team would have a chance to win 5 SEC games but they will with a win tomorrow.
They have played hard all yr with an undersized and young team. Great effort DAWGS.

Dawglasville

March 2nd, 2012
10:00 pm

A person SMART enough to know…… It’s not healthy sitting in front of a computer 12 hours a day.

UGA Dawg 97

March 2nd, 2012
10:17 pm

Embarrassing basketball program.

Hoops Dawg

March 2nd, 2012
11:24 pm

I haven’t heard that rumor about Tony Parker. All I can say is that if we could sign him, it would be the biggest basketball story of the year IMO.

Fair n Balanced

March 2nd, 2012
11:35 pm

Unacceptable! I’m sorry, this is NOT where we planned to be when hiring Fox. If we knew we would be battling for 10th in SEC after 3 yrs of his leadership….GA wouldn’t have hired him.

boykin

March 2nd, 2012
11:47 pm

A person Smart..Anything wrong with Women’s Titles? We got plenty…If you went to school at UGA you’d appreciate those titles ya meathead!

Thomas Brown

March 3rd, 2012
12:40 am

“there’s no stress about we have to win”

“anybody here ever heard of the hot seat” drawing laughter

# 72 QB nationally Pass Completion Percentage

http://espn.go.com/college-football/statistics/player/_/stat/passing/sort/completionPct/count/41

238 completions of 403 passes

0-9 vs teams in his career who finished in the top 25 and 2 more losses to teams not finishing in the top 10, having beat no one. His signature-type wins ? There were 27 teams 2011 who finished with 10-Win seasons; and we had the worst record with 4 losses, beating 0 of the 27 who had 10-win seasons, beating 0 of the 36 who had 9-win seasons and beating only 2 of the 48 teams who had 8-win seasons in a 14-game season.

Aaron Murray says : “THERE’S NO STRESS ABOUT WE HAVE TO WIN” he states today.

Mark Richt who has 30 Losses the current 8-year period to teams with worse or equal talent to his own teams, if he does not Win The SEC Championship 2012, has not won The SEC Championship now since 2005, which was not this up-coming season Eight (8) Seasons ago when in 2005 in fact he ended up NOT # 1 in The SEC in all the polls but # 3.

Win % vs teams finishing AP Poll Top 25 :

41.46 % Mark Richt 17-24
42.11 % Tommy Tuberville 16-22
43.18 % Les Miles 19-25
47.37 % Gene Chizik 9-10
51.52 % Nick Saban 17-16
51.72 % Ur ban Mey er 15-14

Mark Richt joked last week “ANYBODY HERE EVER HEARD OF THE HOT SEAT.”

What are these guys smoking ?

Thomas Brown

March 3rd, 2012
1:53 am

Our Athletics’ Department is a JOKE.

# 47 in Directors’ Cup All-Sports Standings Officially as of today
# 43 Arkansas – doing far better than us in basketball moving up
# 41 Alabama – doing far better than us in basketball moving up
# 31 USCe – doing far better than us in basketball moving up too
# 19 Florida – doing far better than us in basketball moving up

UGA at # 47 in Directors’ Cup Standings and DROPPING as we are this semester, is not at all where Georgia used to be before this current do nothing Athletics’ Director was hired despite my reaction that what I studied of the man is that he (1) had never coached anything (2) that he didn’t play one of the leading sports but tennis (3) that when he did play even the sport of tennis, that he was not any good at it at all (4) that he had no experience at running the Athletics’ Department for The University of Georgia with our Two (2) Billion-Dollar Annual UGA budget over-all.

What we have seen and heard from him, is a marionette with ears like Howdy Doody who still March 3 has yet to sign either Mark Richt or Todd Grantham to an EXTENSION YET, while instead on Signing Day, we STRUCK OUT on the top recruits – all of whom clearly stated that they were WAITING TO SEE if we locked up Mark Richt or not. No, he still has not.

That our decisions regarding visible coaching decisions, or lack thereof by the underwhelming AD, have been non-existent.

That great hires for our teams, have been non-existent.

That issues such as Auburn off the schedule, finds him actually stating that he doesn’t think there is much that can be done to save Auburn on our schedule.

That the gym – not considered one of the top 75 gyms in America – again is passed by this post-season in BASKETBALL again as it has been since last hosting an NCAA basketball tournament 42 years ago in 1971. We see Nashville AGAIN hosting the SEC Tournament, for example, where our women went down in defeat to a determined South Carolina team who has left # 16 Georgia with no doubt another ROAD NCAA ride they must make to do well, which they no doubt will. And, they and the baseball team the only teams who might help out our

# 47 Athletics Department ranking as of today.

That with the # 2 most profit of any Athletics’ Department in the nation, as we are EVERY SINGLE SOLITARY YEAR behind ONLY TEXAS, we also cannot provide our teams an indoor practice facility with a full field for them to practice in.

That we send our “star” # 72 in the nation passing completion percentage Heisman Trophy QB to tell everyone that well, “there’s no stress about we have to win.”

That we have already now 4 MORE players SUSPENDED or KICKED-OUT of Mark Richt’s program this off-season ALREADY, to bring his total to 26 whom Mark Richt gave Scholarships to to play 2012, who NONE OF THE 26 are in-fact here to play even 1 down 2012, leaving us at 77 Scholarships on our limit of 85-Scholarship rule. And, therefore send forth Mark Richt to Bulldog Clubs state-wide this off-season as he is required to do for his $ 3 million dollar salary, to inform us how funny the hot seat is and that well he never even heard about it. Have any of us ?

That’s so funny Mark Richt.

That our men’s basketball program CANNOT RECRUIT, that we have 1 player on the team, and that’s it. That we have no big man who can score a bloody basket.

That we lose the vast majority of what we do have in men’s basketball talent after this season and again have signed NO ONE TO HELP.

That our gymnastics program has gone to nothingness from greatness because of POOR HIRE as its head coach.

That our baseball team has suffered several years of nothingness and has spread the word that they are here -

for this year they state.

That our soccer team suffers the INTERNATIONAL INCIDENT of stuffing scattered smothered and covered hash browns into her panties when she had the $ 1.15 they cost in her pocket.

And, no one even asked her why she didn’t put them in her pocket ?

That we did not call, according to Police Chief of Athens, the police on a FELONY THEFT of over $ 500 in cash and other valuables; yet, felt compelled by the same evidence to KICK ALL 3 OF THEM OUT OF THE SCHOOL.

That our star cornerback allegedly again abused his lady, this time in plain view in public, and that Mark Richt SUSPENDED him, stating it is INTOLERABLE.

No, this athletics’ department, is in SHAMBLES.

# 47 school of 120 in all sports

The University of Georgia

Deplorable

boykin

March 3rd, 2012
2:33 am

Anything wrong with Women’s championships? CMR led us to ATL, Mr. Soliloquay Brown. Thank him,non-grad boy!

boykin

March 3rd, 2012
2:51 am

T Brown: Easy now on the Fox recruiting…we’ll wait on that, right? Soccer? Who cares bout soccer dufass?

Gator Nation

March 3rd, 2012
2:51 am

Dang Thomas, anything good in your life? Wow, a might bitter there are you?

andalusia dawg

March 3rd, 2012
2:57 am

Thomas Brown- Are you a Georgia Bulldog fan with all of your negative %’s?

andalusia dawg

March 3rd, 2012
2:59 am

If we have a name of a GA Bulldog as our blog name we might see fit to back our team, shouldn’t we?

TampaGator

March 3rd, 2012
7:25 am

All I know is Eva Longoria is no longer in Tony Parker’s top 3.

jimmy baron

March 3rd, 2012
8:19 am

The soccer player arrested for stealing hash browns… http://www.ajc.com/sports/uga/uga-soccer-player-charged-1367143.html

Can’t athletes get all the food they want for free? Unless she wasn’t on scholarship, I don’t get it.

Jockich Ahn Smelley, II

March 3rd, 2012
8:28 am

Life’s a bitch…quit crying and making excuses……woulda/shoulda/coulda……..wahhhhhhhhhh wahhhhhhhhh….nice back handed compliment to the current Dawg players……..

Thomas Brown

March 3rd, 2012
8:37 am

I actually worked in that restaurant when I was at UGA. I served breakfast, as here, after running with the track team as the rabbit, and before my classes. Yes, I charged for the bagel with cream cheese and bacon, and charged for the coffee.

If she were on the meal plan, she could have gone to Williams or Revoltin’ Bolton.

Clearly, she was not. Clearly she went to the restaurant to eat before her classes. I think those decisions to not buy the meal plan, cost money and Williams was always so wonderful, I thought myself. They didn’t pay any of my meals, either.

dawgsfalconsbravos

March 3rd, 2012
9:24 am

yea tony parkers friend is committed to uga and trying to recruit him to come to uga among his finalists of duke and the ohio state suckeyes and T. brown if you dont support the dawgs thats fine but dont act like a lil b***h and whine and complain most of the stuff you said you made up in your head if your life sucks that bad go be a tech fan i promise the women still wont talk to you

Homepage | MrSEC

March 3rd, 2012
9:29 am

[...] South Carolina at Georgia.  NBA defections significantly altered this year’s Bulldogs team. Final regular season home game for Georgia’s seniors. [...]

dawgsfalconsbravos

March 3rd, 2012
9:30 am

hahahaha! T.brown i want fries with that. glad you found your life calling and make it snappy i dont like cold fries and to a father go join T.brown as a tech fan im sure you two would make quite the miserable couple in midtown

DawgInaTruck

March 3rd, 2012
10:44 am

Hey SMART, thanks for the kind words. This is our busy season so my play time on the ‘net suffers. Weather-wise we only got heavy rain and strong winds through the early morning hours so we are thankful for our provision and prayerful for those who found themselves in harm’s way.

contractor

March 3rd, 2012
11:04 am

Amazing job seniors. We appreciate the amazing efforts of all four. Staying all four years and trying to sustain the program means more than anything, even staying two years and scoring 30 a game. Thanks for the efforts and Go Dawgs!

Hoops Dawg

March 3rd, 2012
11:31 am

Students please come out and give our four seniors a rousing sendoff. They deserve it!

southdawg

March 3rd, 2012
12:11 pm

T-Brown – instead of seving breakfast you should’ve been studying…..you’re now a village idiot

flo-ri-duh

March 3rd, 2012
12:35 pm

It’s about recruiting. The top 5 in Georgia every year can match up with almost every one. Unfortunately they go every where but UGA and Tech gets one now and then. Fox is a good coach. Not as great a recruiter – but that is common for UGA.

Joesnopy

March 3rd, 2012
1:47 pm

If Parker goes to Georgia his path to the NBA would be greater because he would start and he would be in a more NBA type system. Dukes system is nothing like the NBA. Maybe Ohio but that is a long way from home. UGA is trying hard to get Parker. Plus he would have two players he is played with for two years in High school. Williams the Strong FW at UGA scored 17 points against UK and had 6 rebounds and a few blocked.

phil

March 3rd, 2012
2:11 pm

The idiots are those not listening to what thomas brown is saying….

As long as we continue rewarding mediocrity by being “positive” about it, we’ll continue to stumble.

Look at today. Hoops team has 4 points in 11 minutes.

Yesterday? Another in an endless string of lady dogs choke jobs. Yet we keep the angry and over the hill andy landers right there to screw it up yr after yr…

IlliniDawg

March 3rd, 2012
3:16 pm

Thomas Brown: dude, seriously take a Prozac, take a long walk with your dog, come home and pour yourself a double Maker’s, and then sit on the couch and count your blessings. You sound like one helluva a bitter, depressed, cynical, angry young man.

No need to be so uptight. Take it from someone who was at UGA during the Herschel years, life is way too short to get your panties all in a wad over this stuff! My best friend just had a heart attack and I almost lost him. Fortunately he’s still with us. It reminded me once again to put things in perspective. Remember, it is just sports.

IlliniDawg

March 3rd, 2012
3:17 pm

Oooh Phil. Same message for you as T Brown. Chill.

Snoop dawg

March 3rd, 2012
3:26 pm

…50 ways to leave your lover.
Evidently, another UGA coach has 50 reasons why he coached a losing squad to a losing season. The coach is supposed to lead and develop young players. Create a spirit where the players warn to get a degree and not leave the team in the lurch.
I am sick ants tired od Richt and now Fox acting neutral and passive about players who leave early.
If the coaches cannot create an environment where the players feel an obligation to the team and the institution that gave them opportunity’ then maybe we need some coaches and an AD who can. Laissez faire and acceptance of mediocrity are now entrenched in UGA athletics.
I am really not even sure that the alumni and fan base even care anymore. Everything is fine as long as the coaches talk evangelical.
Oh well, they deserve what they demand…
…another losing basketball season in a state just oozing with talent…

CC

March 3rd, 2012
4:21 pm

Good luck to all the seniors. GO DAWGS!!

phil

March 3rd, 2012
5:05 pm

Illinidawg – mind your own business and keep coddling defeat and mediocrity. Hope the friend gets well soon though.

phil

March 3rd, 2012
5:06 pm

We beat SC….

Let the typical fan begin proclaiming ultimate victory in the SEC tournament!

Terry

March 3rd, 2012
6:57 pm

hashbrown dawg, You sound like you have father issues, don’t take it out on everyone else, cause your daddy didn’t love you, sounds like daddy wasn’t there, to take you to the fair, to change your underwear. Can’t blame him either. LOL

Rick S

March 3rd, 2012
7:11 pm

I am ashamed that Georgia continues to keep Andy Landers as Womens Basketball Coach- I wish I could have a job like Mr. Landers where getting into the NCAA and always losing aftyer one round guarantees me another year of medicority! Unbelievable that Georgia Womwen would lose to South Carloina in the Womens Tournament, but Andy Landers has done his job in obtaining a spot in the Women’s NCAA Tournament- right?

Very disappointing that Mcgarity puts up with this type of performance as there will never be a SEC Championship let alone an NCAA Championship under Andy Landers.

Terry

March 3rd, 2012
8:37 pm

far as tony parker goes…, Dud, I wouldn’t be claiming that I when with a 75 year old woman, your more F***ed up than I thought, and undoubtedly, I must have hit the nail on the head about your daddy, now everyone knows you can’t get nothing, but an old lady, you really are one sad little jock sniffing whanker. Ha Ha Ha Ha

Hairy Dawg

March 3rd, 2012
11:44 pm

Beating SCar chickens shows how Dawgs owns them. We makes them into chicken soup after the beat down. Now we goning show them the same in football which is how we won East. The chicken liitles get beat like a bunch of fried drumsticks. They more Msr. Losers chickens than Mrs. Winners. We know that Dawgs is the real royalty of East who deserved to go back-to-back Dome cause recruiting talents. Then we displays dominants in football and basketball over chumps from Columbia that got chicken head up backside to hide from falling sky. Go Dawgs!

Thomas Brown

March 4th, 2012
1:23 am

phil March 3rd, 2012 2:11 pm

“As long as we continue rewarding mediocrity by being “positive” about it, we’ll continue to stumble.”
_________________________________________________________
J.T. Keene March 3rd, 2012 9:11 am

“If you want a “closed circuit blog” for only the dreamers then write each other thru the mail and keep it to yourselves.”
________________________________________________________

Thomas Brown

March 4th, 2012
2:20 am

Andy Landers at Georgia has won a combined 11 Southeastern Conference Championships and SEC Tournament titles, the second most by any league school in the nation’s premier women’s basketball conference, consisting of seven SEC regular-season titles, four SEC tournament championships. He is 22-8 ranked # 16 today, and faces an uphill battle again in The NCAA Tournament where, because our gym is never considered for hosting post-season basketball games, he always has to go on the road.

Andy Landers has 5 Final Fours, 10 Elite Eights and 19 Sweet 16s.

26 twenty-win seasons while playing in a cruddy gym not considered one of the top 75 gyms in college basketball.

Averages 24 wins per season, Georgia thrives under head coach Andy Landers.

Georgia ranks No. 2 in both NCAA Tournament appearances with 28 and weeks ranked by the Associated Press 480 weeks, currently ranked # 16 in the nation.

Andy Landers has continued to send his recruits to the WBNA. He has the third-most alumni in the WNBA of any school in the nation with 21 former Andy Landers players in the WNBA.

Andy Landers gets after his recruits both on and off the field, which is why you do not hear about his players with all these off-field issues. This is further evidenced with Andy Landers’
104 percent graduation rate among four-year letterwinners (57 letterwinners with 59 degrees.)

I have watched every one of Andy Landers seasons. I know women’s basketball. I can tell you this, if he played in a gym considered one of the nation’s best, he would do far better.

854-277 a .755 winning percentage, Andy Landers significantly impacts the game of women’s basketball.
_________________________________________________________

The question I have is has Mark Richt significantly impacted the game of college football ?

Hairy Dawg

March 4th, 2012
11:28 am

Dawgs is Top 20 cause you gots Auburn listed twice. Given Awful Barns split personelity one of those must be the War Buzzards and the other the Orange Aubie Kitty Cats.