THE TEN AT 10
1. One of the Georgia football players who may have significantly helped his cause during UGA’s Pro Day on Monday is tight end Aron White.
White, a fifth-year senior who played the last couple of seasons in the shadow of All-American Orson Charles, performed very well for the 40-something NFL coaches and scouts gathered at Woodruff Practice Fields. He ran the fastest 40 time of the tight ends in the blustery conditions (4.71, according to one scout), looked considerably bigger in his upper body and said he had gained about 10 pounds since the end of the football season while training with “GATA.”
“I feel like I had a really good day out here,” said White, who weighed in at 239 pounds. “I felt very well prepared and I had all the confidence in the world. I felt like I was as prepared or more prepared than anybody else who came out here. I came out and hit the numbers I wanted and thought I performed well in the pass-catching drills. It got to the point where I almost felt loose out there. I wasn’t uptight at all. I felt like I could go out there and enjoy it and have fun because I knew I had prepared and worked hard.
White, who finished with 34 catches for 512 yards and 10 TDs at Georgia, said he has no idea whether he’ll get drafted or not. He just wants the opportunity to make a roster.
“It’s up in the air right now,” he said. “Hopefully my name gets called, second day, third day, whenever. I don’t care if my name doesn’t get called and somebody calls me on the phone the next day [as a free agent]. As long as I get a shot, I know I can come in and compete for a job because I’m willing to do do whatever it takes. If you’re hungry and you’re a player, they’ll find you. Hopefully I caught somebody’s eye out there and they’ll give me a chance.”
2. In case you missed it, here’s A LINK to a quick summary I wrote about UGA’s Pro Day. Meanwhile, AJC Falcons reporter D. Orlando Ledbetter filed a detailed report on how the day went for Orson Charles. While he didn’t run particularly well, Charles may get a pass due to the conditions and still has a shot to be the first tight end drafted.
3. Nine months ago, not long after new Georgia linebackers coach Kirk Olivadotti and his family arrived in Athens from Washington D.C., his 4-year-old daughter Kasyn was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (A.L.L.). Little Kasyn has been going through treatment since and actually is doing quite well. But the wives of the Bulldogs’ coaches, in conjunction with Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, got together to plan a fundraiser for cancer research in Kasyn’s honor.
Tuesday night at the Gwinnett Braves’ Coolray Field in Lawrenceville, Georgia and Kennesaw will face off in the second annual Gwinnett Baseball Classic. All proceeds will go to the “Kasyn Cares Fund” at the Aflac Cancer Center. Individual tickets for the 7 p.m. game are $12 and they are being sold in packages up to $1,000. If you have more questions or would like to find out what else you can do, contact Renee Fraley at 404-785-7315.
Meanwhile, Athens Banner-Herald sports editor Chris White wrote a nice piece in which he talks to Katharyn Richt and some of the other coaches’ wives about what they’ve been doing to comfort the Olivadottis through this difficult time.
4. On the diamond, things have gotten a little shaky lately for the Georgia baseball team. After a strong start against a relatively tame schedule, the Bulldogs dropped their first two games of the season in the past week. They uncharacteristically committed three errors to drop a 7-4 decision to Western Illinois on Sunday and lost to Western Carolina 5-3 the previous Wednesday.
Georgia (10-2) will try to get several pitchers some work against Kennesaw State (5-6) and generally tighten up in several areas as the schedule is going to toughen considerably. UCLA, which is ranked among the Top 25 in all the college baseball polls, is in for a three-game set this weekend. The following weekend the Bulldogs will open SEC play against Tennessee (March 16-18).
5. Georgia’s men’s basketball team heads into the postseason this week in New Orleans when it takes on Mississippi State (21-10, 8-8) in the first round of the SEC Tournament (Thursday night, 10 p.m). State, you’ll recall, is one of the five SEC teams the Bulldogs (14-16, 5-11) beat this season. Georgia won 70-68 in overtime on the road on Feb. 11 over what was then a No. 20-ranked opponent.
What was different that night? Chiefly, the Bulldogs shot well from the perimeter. They made 42 percent of their 3-point shots, including six by freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who finished with 20 points and sunk the game-clinching shot.
“We have a good shooting team but we haven’t shot the ball good well year,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said. “It’s kind of been a real enigma. We felt like coming into the year we had a lot of guys who could make the 3. We just haven’t been as consistent shooting it as we hoped. But we did shoot it well that day. For us, when we win that’s been one of the keys for us. We’ve been able to sink perimeter jump shots. I’m certain that will be important on Thursday night as well.”
6. Georgia’s Matt Bucklin, a former walkon who was recently recognized during Senior Day this past Saturday, was named a member of the SEC’s Community Service Team this week for his off-court endeavors. A 6-foot guard from Marietta, Bucklin stays extremely busy with volunteer work. According to the news release, his activities include Christmas shopping with members of the Athens Boys and Girls Club, the “Friends Of Jaclyn” Foundation, “Do It For Broph” 5K Run/Walk, FCA speaker at Clarke Central High School, Camp TBI and UGA Student-Athlete Advisory Council, among other things.
7. The men’s team can only hope their conference tournament goes better than it did for coach Andy Landers’ Lady Bulldogs. After a getting a first-round bye, third-seeded and No. 16-ranked Georgia was upset by South Carolina 59-55. It was a poor-shooting night for the Lady Dogs (22-8), who went 2-of-11 (.182) from 3-point range and got just 4 points on 1-of-10 shooting from star sophomore Anne Marie Armstrong.
Georgia will get plenty of time to work on things. It has a full week to practice before NCAA tournament bids go out on Sunday.
8. I’m not sure how many of you are aware of the incredibly inspirational story that is the accomplishments of Jarryd Wallace, the son of UGA women’s tennis coach Jeff Wallace. Jarryd is a former high school state champion distance runner who, due to a rare muscle disorder, ended up having to have his lower right leg amputate in January of 2010. All Jarryd Wallace has done since then is win the gold medal in the 100-meter dash in the 2011 ParaPan Games and earn a spot to compete for the U.S. team in the 2012 Paralympics in London.
If you’d like to catch up on Jarryd’s story and, more importantly, keep up with what all is happening with him, he recently launched his own website. It’s aptly named aleginfaith.com — as in A Leg In Faith. Click it and see what all the fuss is about.
9. In case you missed it, last Friday the No. 4-ranked Gym Dogs had their best overall meet of the season as they out-scored third-ranked UCLA 197.70 – 196. Georgia had season-high totals on vault and beam and tied its season-best on bars. Georgia now leads the country with 24 consecutive rotations of scoring a 49.0 or better.
The Gym Dogs (6-3) take on N.C. State on Sunday at 2:30 p.m. in the final home meet of the season. But it’s unlikely they’ll have to venture far away the rest of the year. The SEC Championships (March 24) and the NCAA Championships (April 20-22) are both being held at the Gwinnett Arena in Duluth.
10. THIS & THAT: Word late Tuesday morning was that wide receiver Tramel Terry, generally considered the top prospect in South Carolina, committed to Georgia. . . . Another one of Georgia’s women’s programs has a good shot of contending for the national championships. Coach Jack Bauerle’s SEC champion swimming and diving team heads to Auburn March 15-17 for the NCAA Championships with a national best 16 athletes ready to compete. . . . Georgia tennis teams opened the outdoor season this past week. The No. 4-ranked men recorded wins over South Carolina and No. 10 Florida while the No. 4-ranked women were upset by No. 15 Florida after beating the Gamecocks.