Archive for the ‘Basketball’ Category

Dogs are ranked for first time in eight years

For the first time in almost eight years, Georgia’s men’s basketball team is nationally ranked.

The Bulldogs are No. 24 in this week’s Associated Press poll -– the first time they have been in the Top 25 since the final poll of the 2002-03 season.

Saturday’s 77-70 victory over No. 10 Kentucky vaulted the Dogs (12-2, 1-0 SEC) into the poll. The win was Georgia’s ninth in a row, the program’s longest winning streak since the 1982-83 season.

Georgia, however, did not crack this week’s ESPN/USA Today coaches’ poll. The Bulldogs are fourth among teams “also receiving votes” there.

The AJC’s UGA basketball coverage from the past few days:

Game story: The win over Kentucky.

Mark Bradley column: In beating the regal Big Blue, UGA proves it’s big-time too.

Jeff Schultz column: Mark Fox succeeding in changing basketball culture at Georgia.

Next: Weather could ’severely’ impact Dogs’ travel to Vanderbilt.

Continue reading Dogs are ranked for first time in eight years »

Weather could ’severely’ impact Dogs’ travel to Vandy

Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox said his team’s travel plans for Wednesday night’s game at Vanderbilt could be “severely impacted” by the snow.

The Bulldogs customarily travel on the day before a game, and their original plan was to fly from Athens to Nashville on Tuesday. But that might not be possible because of the storm that dumped almost nine inches of snow on Athens.

Fox said four options are being considered: flying Tuesday as planned from Athens; busing to Atlanta on Tuesday and flying from there; busing to Nashville on Tuesday; or flying on Wednesday, the day of the game.

“We have talked about all of [those options] here this morning,” Fox said, “but really we’re waiting to see what the weather does before we make a decision.”

UGA is closed today because of the weather, but Fox is expecting his players at this afternoon’s practice.

“If they had to, they live close enough [that] they could walk down here to practice,” Fox said.

Georgia won its ninth consecutive game …

Continue reading Weather could ’severely’ impact Dogs’ travel to Vandy »

Hoops update: Thompkins still out; Nolte will play in mask after breaking nose

From AJC correspondent Andy Johnston in Athens:

Georgia coach Mark Fox said this afternoon that forward Trey Thompkins is doubtful for Thursday’s game against Notre Dame in the Old Spice Classic in Orlando, Fla.

Thompkins is out with a high right ankle sprain and hasn’t practiced since late October for the Bulldogs (3-0), who won their first road game since March 2009 with a 61-59 victory over Saint Louis on Saturday.

Thompkins spoke to the media Monday for the first time since injuring his ankle and said he hasn’t been cleared to practice.

“Progress is great,” Thompkins said. “I’m starting to run and cut and things like that, so I should be back on the court sometime soon. I can’t give you a definite answer.”

Junior forward Connor Nolte, who has started all three games this season, broke his nose in the first half of Saturday’s victory and was being fitted Monday for a mask to protect his nose.

Fox said Nolte will play in this week’s tournament and then …

Continue reading Hoops update: Thompkins still out; Nolte will play in mask after breaking nose »

Bulldogs sign three basketball players

News from the first day of college basketball’s early signing period:

Georgia received signed letters of intent Wednesday from three players who previously had committed to the Bulldogs: 6-6 guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope of Greenville (Ga.) High, 6-10 forward Tim Dixon of Oldsmar (Fla.) Christian School and 7-foot center John Florveus of Hillsborough Community College in Tampa.

Caldwell-Pope is rated the third best shooting guard in the nation and 11th best overall prospect by Rivals.com. He averaged 29.7 points per game for Greenville last season.

Dixon transferred to Oldsmar after playing three seasons at Kendrick High in Columbus, where he averaged 16.1 points, 11 rebounds and 6.4 blocks per game last season.

Florveus averaged four points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game as a freshman at Hillsborough last season.

The three players will join the Bulldogs for the 2011-12 season. Caldwell-Pope and Dixon are currently entering their high-school senior seasons and Florveus …

Continue reading Bulldogs sign three basketball players »

Fox: Thompkins ‘a long way away from playing’

From AJC correspondent Andy Johnston …

Preseason SEC player of the year Trey Thompkins will not play in Georgia’s season opener Friday night against Mississippi Valley State while he recovers from a high ankle sprain.

“He’s been living in the training room,” coach Mark Fox said Tuesday. “It’s still swollen. He’s able to walk on it, I think, but it’s still in a protective boot. We’ll keep aggressively treating him and re-evaluating him every couple of days.”

Thompkins, who averaged 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds last year, injured his right ankle chasing a loose ball in a scrimmage on Oct. 30. He watched from the bench as Georgia defeated Augusta State 85-48 in an exhibition game on Thursday.

Fox isn’t sure when Thompkins will be ready to play.

“My trainer came today and said he did a little better,” Fox said. “I said, ‘So he gets to play and dress out?’ He said, ‘No.’ … He’s a long way away from playing. I know that.”

Continue reading Fox: Thompkins ‘a long way away from playing’ »

Trey Thompkins, preseason player of year, sidelined with ankle injury

ATHENS -– Georgia’s basketball team apparently will open the season without its best player.

Junior forward Trey Thompkins, recently voted the SEC’s preseason player-of-the-year, has a high ankle sprain that will keep him out of Thursday night’s exhibition game against Augusta State and make his chances “extremely slim” of playing in the regular-season opener Nov. 12 against Mississippi Valley State, coach Mark Fox said Wednesday.

“I think it’s a pretty significant injury,” Fox said. “It’s a high ankle sprain, which is the worst kind. It’s fairly severe. It couldn’t happen at a worse time for him or our team. But injuries are a part of the game, and we’re going to have to rally the troops and adjust.”

Fox said there is no firm timetable for Thompkins’ return.

“Could be two weeks. Could be a month. Kind of depends on how he responds to the treatment,” Fox said. “So we basically have left it [that] we’re going to treat him as aggressively …

Continue reading Trey Thompkins, preseason player of year, sidelined with ankle injury »

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 …

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

Preseason media vote reveals new respect for UGA basketball

The Georgia men’s basketball program is moving up in the eyes of the media.

The Bulldogs are picked to finish third in the SEC’s Eastern Division this season, according to a media vote announced by the SEC office on Monday. That would be a marked improvement for the Dogs after three consecutive seasons of finishing sixth –- last -– in the division.

More impressively, Georgia junior forward Trey Thompkins is the media’s overwhelming preseason pick to be the SEC’s player of the year.

Georgia junior guard-forward Travis Leslie joined Thompkins on the preseason All-SEC first team, making UGA the only school with two players on the first team.

The new respect for Georgia basketball surfaced in a vote by a panel of 20 regional and national media members.

Thompkins, who averaged 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game last season, drew 18 of the 20 votes for preseason player of the year. Ole Miss senior guard Chris Warren and Kentucky freshman guard Brandon Knight each received one …

Continue reading Preseason media vote reveals new respect for UGA basketball »

Georgia will open SEC hoops play vs. Kentucky

ATHENS -- Georgia drew the SEC’s marquee men’s basketball opponent to open the 2010-11 conference schedule.

The Bulldogs will play Kentucky, the SEC’s defending champion and perennial power, in Athens on Saturday, Jan. 8,  in both teams’ SEC opener. The game will start at 4 p.m. and be televised on the SEC Network.

The SEC announced the conference schedule Thursday. Georgia previously had released its non-conference schedule, which opens Nov. 12 against Mississippi Valley State in Athens.

The SEC said all league games will be televised regionally or nationally.

Georgia’s SEC schedule includes four games scheduled for national networks: Jan. 25 vs. Florida in Athens on ESPN, Jan. 29 at Kentucky on ESPN, Feb. 19 at Tennessee on CBS and Feb. 24 at Florida on either ESPN or ESPN2.

“The competition within the SEC will be tremendous,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said in a statement Thursday. “I believe we will have the toughest league in the country this season. I’m also pleased about …

Continue reading Georgia will open SEC hoops play vs. Kentucky »

Fox ‘excited’ new AD has known hoops success

A significant part of the reason Mark Fox came to Georgia 16 months ago was his belief that UGA President Michael Adams and athletic director Damon Evans were committed to building a successful basketball program.

Fox expects that commitment to continue under Evans’ successor, Greg McGarity.

“He’s obviously very prepared for the position, and he’s passionate about Georgia,” Fox said. “And from my perspective, he’s also been at an institution [Florida] where basketball and football have co-existed at a very high level, and he understands that part of it. So I’m very excited.

“I was very impressed [by McGarity's news conference Friday], and I’m really glad we have an athletic director as the school year begins because I think not having one would have taken energy and focus away,” Fox said. “Now the kids, the coaches, the staff –- everyone — knows ‘this is the boss, here’s our new direction,’ and it’s going to make life easier for everybody.”

Florida won three national …

Continue reading Fox ‘excited’ new AD has known hoops success »

Murray’s ‘very minor’ injury, Thompkins’ honor, A.J.’s birthday

Three quick notes to start the weekend:

  • Quarterback Aaron Murray sustained what Georgia associate AD Claude Felton described as a “very minor” injury in a conditioning drill earlier this week -– a bruise under his left eye. Felton said Friday afternoon that when he saw Murray in the locker room on Thursday, the bruise was “noticeable but not prominent.” It doesn’t sound as if the injury will be any sort of factor when practice starts next week; a black-eyed Murray joked to Marc (Athens Banner-Herald) Weiszer, “I think I could be blind and still throw it up and [A.J. Green would] catch it.”
  • Georgia basketball player Trey Thompkins recently was named a second-team preseason All-American by ESPN’s Dick Vitale. Thompkins is the top-ranked SEC player on “Dickie V’s Preseason All-America” teams. “We’re very excited about Trey and his development and his return to school,” UGA coach Mark Fox said a few days ago. “He’s very hungry to win.”
  • And a happy birthday to A.J. Green, …

Continue reading Murray’s ‘very minor’ injury, Thompkins’ honor, A.J.’s birthday »

Georgia posts want ad for AD

A few quick items to start the week (more later today):

  • The University of Georgia has placed a want ad for what might well be your dream job: running the Bulldogs’ athletics department.

UGA posted the ad for its vacant athletic-director position on the NCAA’s website. The ad says the position “requires someone who has considerable expertise in intercollegiate athletics management, a keen business sense and an appreciation for the important role athletics plays in a great public university.”

Eighteen “duties and responsibilities” of the job are listed, ranging from “coordinating the recruitment, selection and evaluation of all coaches” to “serv[ing] as the primary spokesperson of the Department.”

Interested? Click here for the ad, which includes info on how to apply.

  • Georgia’s annual Bulldog Club tour ends Monday night with the “Celebration of Georgia Athletics” at the Cobb Galleria Centre. Social begins at 5:30 p.m. and program at 7 p.m. Admission and parking are …

Continue reading Georgia posts want ad for AD »

D.J. Shockley to Omaha, Kentavious Caldwell to Athens, SEC media to Hoover

A few quick notes to start the week:

  • Former Georgia quarterback D.J. Shockley, recently released by the Falcons, will attend mini-camp with the Omaha Nighthawks of the United Football League next weekend, according to the National Football Post. The UFL is preparing for its second season, Omaha’s first in the league.
  • The momentum Mark Fox is building within the Georgia basketball program was evidenced by the enthusiastic buzz that circulated around Bulldog Nation Saturday night and Sunday regarding the commitment to UGA by highly touted prospect Kentavious Caldwell. A shooting guard from Greenville High, Caldwell is ranked the nation’s No. 11 overall prospect and this state’s No. 1 prospect by ESPN.com. Check out the story from the AJC’s Michael Carvell here.
  • You should know by mid-week the kickoff time for Georgia’s football season opener vs. Louisiana-Lafayette Sept. 4 in Sanford Stadium. The SEC plans to unveil the full TV schedule for the first three weeks of the …

Continue reading D.J. Shockley to Omaha, Kentavious Caldwell to Athens, SEC media to Hoover »

Five months later, a very different Athletic Board meeting

The same board that five months ago approved a new five-year, $3.25-million contract for Damon Evans will convene at 11 a.m. today to hear details of his resignation.

This morning’s meeting, via conference call, of the UGA Athletic Board’s executive committee is expected to reveal Evans’ resignation settlement and perhaps the game plan for choosing his successor as Georgia’s athletics director. I’ll be listening in on the call from the Butts-Mehre building and will post updates on Twitter (@ajcuga), so please follow me there.

Meanwhile, I keep thinking about that meeting barely five months ago -– Feb. 3 -– at which the Athletic Board expressed its enthusiastic approval of Evans’ job performance by giving him a new five-year contract and a $110,000-a-year raise.

At that meeting, UGA President Michael Adams said of Evans:  “He’s already become a nationally recognized figure in athletics, and we are fortunate to have him. . . . I think he’s done an extraordinary job. . . . …

Continue reading Five months later, a very different Athletic Board meeting »

Former UGA star Edwards will be inducted into Hall of Fame tonight

Former UGA hoops superstar Teresa Edwards will be  inducted into the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame tonight in Knoxville. It’s the latest honor for maybe the most honored player in the history of women’s basketball.

Her resume dazzles: the only U.S. player, woman or man, to compete in five Olympics; winner of four Olympic gold medals; the youngest and the oldest player to win a gold medal in women’s basketball; a two-time All-American at UGA, where she helped take the Lady Bulldogs to three SEC championships and two NCAA Final Fours in the 1980s.

After graduating from Georgia, Edwards played in Italy, Japan, Spain, France, Russia and the U.S. She last played for the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx in 2004 and enters the Women’s Basketball Hall of Fame in her first year of eligibility.

Remember what her UGA coach, Andy Landers, said when she was elected: “In my mind, she ought to have her own room at the . . . Hall of Fame.”

The Lady Bulldogs posted a 116-7 record during her four …

Continue reading Former UGA star Edwards will be inducted into Hall of Fame tonight »

UGA reports nine secondary violations

Georgia has self-reported nine secondary violations of NCAA rules this year — a list of transgressions that provides a glimpse into the minutiae of the NCAA rulebook.

The violations, revealed in response to an open-records request by the AJC, cover a range of sports — a football coach returning a call to a high school junior, basketball recruits sitting in the wrong seats in Stegeman Coliseum, a track-and-field recruit being reimbursed an extra 5 cents per mile.

All crossed the line of NCAA bylaws.

Schools routinely self-report secondary violations to the NCAA, which defines them as inadvertent missteps that don’t create a significant competitive advantage. Georgia’s nine violations since Jan. 1 are a typical number for that time period; UGA reported 10 in the final six months of last year.

“Not to make any excuses, but the NCAA manual is over 400 pages thick, with other interpretations out there too,” said Eric Baumgartner, Georgia’s assistant athletics director for …

Continue reading UGA reports nine secondary violations »

Vandy No. 1, UGA No. 2 in SEC football academics (Plus: APR for all UGA sports, all SEC football teams)

Georgia posted the second best score among SEC football teams in the Academic Progress Rate (APR) statistics released Wednesday by the NCAA.

UGA’s football team had an APR of 973 out of a possible 1,000, topped only by Vanderbilt’s 975 in the SEC. The national average for football teams was 944.

Georgia had the SEC’s highest scores in women’s basketball (1,000), men’s golf (1,000) and gymnastics (996). The baseball team posted Georgia’s lowest APR, 941.

The Bulldogs’ men’s basketball team recorded a score of 944, which ranked fifth among SEC teams. The national average for men’s basketball teams was 940.

All of Georgia’s 20 sports teams posted scores comfortably above the NCAA-mandated threshold of 925. Teams that post APR scores below 925 and have a player leave school ineligible can be assessed penalties, including loss of scholarships.

The APR is an NCAA-designed measure that assesses the eligibility, retention and graduation of athletes over a four-year period. The figures …

Continue reading Vandy No. 1, UGA No. 2 in SEC football academics (Plus: APR for all UGA sports, all SEC football teams) »

A third Georgia basketball player transferring

Georgia basketball player Ebuka Anyaorah has requested and received a release from his scholarship, the school said Wednesday.

He becomes the third player since the end of the season to leave the Georgia program. Like the first two, Anyaorah said he intends to transfer elsewhere in hopes of more playing time.

A 6-foot-4 guard from Suwanee, Anyaorah averaged 10.5 minutes per game as a redshirt freshman this past season, scoring 2.7 points per game. He sat out his true freshman season after surgery to repair a stress fracture in his right tibia.

The other two players to depart the program since the season have found new schools. Forward Drazen Zlovaric signed with Tennessee-Chattanooga and guard Demario Mayfield with UNC-Charlotte.

Anyaorah, Zlovaric and Mayfield were recruited to Georgia by former coach Dennis Felton.

The rest of today’s UGA news:

Hot seat? Or  not? Taking the temperature of Richt’s job security.

“We’ll be fine. Russ will do his job.”

UGA’s Adams advises …

Continue reading A third Georgia basketball player transferring »

The UGA notebook: pricey new seats, fretting the Gators, etc.

Hoping to capitalize on the buzz about Bulldogs basketball, Georgia plans to add 28 premium and pricey courtside seats in Stegeman Coliseum for the 2010-11 season.

The plan is to add 12 sideline courtside seats, six on each side of the radio table, and 16 baseline courtside seats, eight on each side of the basket in a second row behind the existing baseline courtside seats.

The sideline seats will require a $2,500 per seat annual donation to qualify for, and the baseline seats will require a $1,750 per seat annual donation. Potential additional revenue: $58,000 if all of the new seats are sold.

The new  seats will raise the total number of Stegeman’s premium courtside seats from 60 to 88.

*****

Georgia’s Athletic Association projects that it will bring in $18.76 million from ticket sales in the 2010-11 school year –- a whopping 92.8 percent of that from football.

The association projects football ticket revenue of $17.4 million, not including the donations made just for the …

Continue reading The UGA notebook: pricey new seats, fretting the Gators, etc. »

Take a look at UGA athletes’ spring semester grades, team by team

ST. SIMONS ISLAND – Georgia’s Athletic Board receives reports not just about the Bulldogs’ on-field and financial performances, but also about their academic performance.

Contained in the information provided to board members at this week’s meetings here was the spring semester grade point average of every UGA sports team.

The men’s and women’s teams with the highest GPAs? Swimming, in both cases.

The men’s and women’s teams with the lowest GPAs? Basketball, in both cases.

Overall, Georgia athletes had a 2.98 GPA for spring semester (2.82 for the men and 3.14 for the women). Football came in at 2.76.

Here’s the team-by-team breakdown for spring semester 2010, with teams listed in order of GPA:

MEN’S SPORTS

Sport                    # of students      Semester GPA

Swimming                     24                     3.21

Cross-country              15     …

Continue reading Take a look at UGA athletes’ spring semester grades, team by team »

‘Great day for the Dawgs!’ Fox says

Mark Fox put his Georgia basketball players on Twitter restriction last week and said he wouldn’t be sending out tweets to let the world know “whether I got up and shaved in the morning or what time I went to bed. It’s just too much information.”

Landing Mr. Basketball, well, that was worth a tweet from the coach.

“Great day for the Dawgs!” Fox posted on Twitter.  “We added a great young man in Georgia’s Mr. Basketball, Marcus Thornton.”

Fox’s tweet was his first public comment on Thornton’s announcement Wednesday that he will attend UGA.  Fox expanded in a prepared statement a bit later:

“We are delighted that Marcus has decided to join our program. He is a terrific basketball player, a great student and an outstanding young man. He’s a winner in every way. He has a great family who now will be able to watch him play. Marcus was well coached in high school and is ready for the next step in his basketball career. It means a great deal to have Mr. Basketball coming to the …

Continue reading ‘Great day for the Dawgs!’ Fox says »

UGA’s Fox restricts players’ use of Twitter

MACON — University of Georgia men’s basketball coach Mark Fox is cracking down on his players’ use of Twitter.

Fox said Wednesday night that he wants his players -– several of whom had become prolific tweeters -– to focus on improving the team and to avoid the “distraction” of communicating minutiae about themselves to the world in 140-character snippets.

“I want our players to focus on our team,” Fox said. “I told them, ‘Right now, I don’t want to hear a bunch of Twitter tweets and stuff like that.’  . . . The off-season is about getting better. We need to get better.”

Fox said no particular tweets triggered his Twitter crackdown, which he decreed to the team on Tuesday.

“It’s just that it’s just another distraction,” he said. “It’s just another thing. We’ve got to focus on going to school, going to work, getting better and earning the respect back for Georgia basketball. And I want more focus on that.”

Fox made his comments in an interview before speaking to a Bulldog …

Continue reading UGA’s Fox restricts players’ use of Twitter »

News and notes: Curran, other ex-Dogs go to work … Thompkins would’ve made 81 … Sturdivant’s comeback

The five former Georgia football players selected in the NFL draft last weekend already are at work this weekend in their new teams’ rookie mini-camps.

Linebacker Rennie Curran is in mini-camp with the Titans, defensive tackle Geno Atkins with the Bengals, safety Reshad Jones with the Dolphins, defensive tackle Jeff Owens with the Eagles and defensive tackle Kade Weston with the Patriots.

Curran, in an interview with reporters in the Titans’ locker room, said “it still hasn’t really hit me” that he’s now in the NFL.

“I don’t think it’ll really hit me until I get to that first game and probably get my first paycheck,” he said.

You can watch the interview on the Titans’ website here.

Curran, No. 35 at UGA, has a new number, by the way: He’s currently No. 38 with the Titans, according to the nameplate on his locker.

——

Georgia’s Trey Thompkins, a unanimous first-team All-SEC pick this past season, definitely bucked the trend when he resisted the lure of the NBA draft. The NBA …

Continue reading News and notes: Curran, other ex-Dogs go to work … Thompkins would’ve made 81 … Sturdivant’s comeback »

The UGA notebook: Richt on turnovers, Fox on tournament and draft

Cleaning out the notebook:

  • A couple of months back, while many college basketball coaches were pushing to swell the NCAA tournament from 65 teams to 96, Georgia’s Mark Fox argued for a much more modest expansion to 68 teams. As you’ve heard, the NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee last week recommended an expansion . . . to 68.

Didn’t realize how much clout you had, I said to Fox. . . .

“How about that?” he replied with a laugh. “I was the only one preaching that [a while ago]. I’m glad they expanded. Certainly, as you know, I supported 68 before people were talking a lot about it. I do think it eventually will go to 96.”

Actually, Fox said, his opposition to 96 has softened as he’s learned more about how it could work.  “It will still preserve the magic of the tournament,” he said. But his guess is that March Madness will stay at 68 teams for “at least two years.”

The NCAA Division I Board of Directors is expected to approve the expansion to 68 at its meeting on …

Continue reading The UGA notebook: Richt on turnovers, Fox on tournament and draft »

What do Georgia football players make on the SAT? New study reveals answer

For the past year, a University of Georgia committee has been conducting a “self-study” of the school’s athletics program — a review required every 10 years by the NCAA from Division I schools. The resulting report is 148 pages long, and you can read it all here if you like.

Here are a few things that jumped out at me:

  • The report compares the standardized-test scores of UGA student-athletes to the general student population.

All male students who entered UGA in 2007 -– the most recent year covered by the report -– had an average standardized-test (SAT and converted ACT) score of 1250. By comparison, male student-athletes who initially enrolled in 2007 had an average score of 998. Football players had an average of 916 and men’s basketball players 906.

All female students who entered UGA in 2007 had an average standardized-test score of 1201, compared to 1058 for female student-athletes. Women’s basketball players averaged 955.

The report also provides comparisons of …

Continue reading What do Georgia football players make on the SAT? New study reveals answer »

Trey Thompkins says he’ll skip NBA draft, remain at UGA

ATHENS -– Georgia sophomore forward Trey Thompkins has made his decision: He’ll forgo the NBA draft and remain at UGA for his junior season in 2010-11.

Thompkins revealed the decision in impromptu fashion Thursday night at the UGA Tipoff Club’s end-of-season banquet at Athens Country Club.

“Don’t worry, Coach, I’m coming back,” Thompkins said when coach Mark Fox alluded from the podium to the stay-or-go decision facing the first-team All-SEC player.

Thompkins’ words drew a long, loud ovation from the crowd of 200-plus and this reaction from an unsuspecting Fox: “God bless you, Trey.”

Thompkins, Georgia’s leading scorer and rebounder this past season, said in an interview immediately following the banquet that his decision is firm and final, although the deadline to enter the draft is 10 days away.

“I’m coming back,” he said.

Thompkins had been considering for the past month whether to enter the draft or remain at Georgia for another season.  He said he reached his decision …

Continue reading Trey Thompkins says he’ll skip NBA draft, remain at UGA »

Dogs add two recruits as spring signing period starts

ATHENS — Donte Williams and Sherrard Brantley officially became Bulldogs on Wednesday.

Williams, a 6-9 forward from Miller Grove High School in Lithonia, and Brantley, a 6-2 guard from Dublin by way of a Florida junior college, signed letters of intent with Georgia on the first day of  college basketball’s spring national signing period. Williams had committed to Georgia late last month and Brantley early this month.

Williams was the AJC’s Class AAAA Player of the Year this past season, averaging 13.1 points, 11 rebounds and four blocks per game as Miller Grove won a second consecutive state championship.

Georgia coach Mark Fox’s statement on Williams: “We’re excited to have signed a player of Donte’s length and athleticism, but also a person of his caliber. He has the ability to affect a game from both ends of the floor. He’s well-coached, comes from a great program at Miller Grove, and he’s been a big part of their success during his career.”

Brantley played one year at …

Continue reading Dogs add two recruits as spring signing period starts »

Writer: Oregon should hire Mark Fox (PLUS: Time again for Dogs-Jackets)

  • You knew it was just a matter of time before someone would suggest that someone should hire Mark Fox away from Georgia. FoxSports.com senior college basketball writer Jeff Goodman does so, opining in a column that Oregon should hire Fox for its vacant coaching job. Important distinction: Goodman does not list Fox as a “candidate” for the Oregon job -– he lists four others in that category -– but as his “pick” for the job. Goodman on Fox: “He went to a trio of NCAA tournaments in five years at the helm at Nevada and has West Coast ties. The guy can coach, as further proven by taking a pitiful Georgia team to a 14-17 record this past season, and can also evaluate. . . . “
  • It’ll  be Georgia vs. Georgia Tech on Wednesday night at Foley Field. It’s a baseball game both sides of the rivalry would love to win, of course, but it’s still secondary to conference games. So, mindful of the upcoming weekend series at Arkansas, Georgia will start a pitcher, Eric Swegman, who has …

Continue reading Writer: Oregon should hire Mark Fox (PLUS: Time again for Dogs-Jackets) »

Travis Leslie will pass on NBA draft and keep dunking for the Dogs

Travis Leslie will keep dunking for the Dogs for at least another year.

Georgia’s high-flying sophomore forward from Decatur announced Wednesday afternoon that he will pass on the 2010 NBA draft and remain with the Bulldogs for his junior season.

“After talking about it with my family and coaches, I believe it’s the best decision for me,” Leslie said in a statement. “I enjoy being at Georgia. . .  I think we have a chance to have a great season next year. Right now I just want to continue working hard to improve as a player and help us become a great program.”

Leslie made huge strides in his second season at Georgia, averaging 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game and drawing much national attention for his dunks. He had a recurring role on ESPN’s “Top 10″ plays-of-the-day feature.

His sophomore season contrasted sharply with his freshman year, when Leslie averaged 6.3 points and 3.9 rebounds and was benched for the final five games to focus on academics.

Leslie had said …

Continue reading Travis Leslie will pass on NBA draft and keep dunking for the Dogs »

Fox comments on two players transferring out of UGA program

ATHENS — In my interview Monday with Mark Fox –- see some of it here and more of it  in a story later this week -– he answered questions for the first time, albeit guardedly, about the two players who left the UGA basketball program last week.

Freshman guard Demario Mayfield and sophomore forward Drazen Zlovaric left with plans to transfer to other schools.

“Playing time, really,” Fox cited as the reason for the departures. “Great kids. No hard feelings at all.”

This is the portion of the interview dealing with that topic:

Did [Mayfield and Zlovaric] ask you if they should stay?

“We had long conversations and healthy conversations, you know.”

Did they do the right thing for them?

“I’m supportive of the whole thing. I think it’s healthy. They didn’t choose this style of play. And they are wonderful kids.”

Was it their decision to leave?

“We had honest communication, both ways, and I certainly expressed my feelings of how much I thought they could develop, where they would …

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