2009-10 SEC Basketball Previews: Georgia

Kurt Wirth@Kurt_WirthCorrespondent IOctober 14, 2009

NEW ORLEANS - MARCH 18:  Head coach Mark Fox of the Nevada Wolf Pack signals from the sidelines during the second half against the Memphis Tigers during in two of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at the New Orleans Arena on March 18, 2007 in New Orleans, Louisiana.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

Georgia is a football school. When you're a Georgia athlete, you want to play between the hedges...not in Stegeman Coliseum.

This is well-known. This is fact.

No surprise, then, that Georgia's men's basketball team isn't exactly the most successful in the league. In fact, it's perennially one of the least-respected and mediocre programs in the SEC.

Dennis Felton is the latest victim to this fact, as he was unable to revive the Bulldogs past a dream run through the 2008 SEC tournament as the East's six seed. Georgia, put simply, is a tough place to coach.

This is the situation former Nevada coach Mark Fox inherits. Little talent, no devotion to success, and no history on which to build.

And to be certain, 2009-10 doesn't appear to be a year to build upon. The Bulldogs lose two starters, including their top scorer, from a squad that went 12-20 overall and 3-13 in the league.

Terrance Woodbury was the team's main scoring threat, averaging a team-best 14 points per game. He led the team with 141 attempts from behind the arc despite a 33.1 percent mark from that distance.

Corey Butler also graduated, and was possibly the more talented of the two and certainly the more versatile.

With the head-coaching loss, a couple of reserves opted to transfer as well. Zac Swansey, who started 17 games last season, is gone after seeing limited success as a Bulldog. And Troy Brewer left after enduring several off-the-court issues that limited his playing time.

Filling those vacancies are a trifecta of three-stars, who need to step up quickly if Georgia even has hopes of finishing above .500 this season.

Marlon Brown
SF—Three stars (Rivals)—6'5", 205 lbs

Information on Brown is limited, but his size is substantial for his position and this could create some mismatches.

Vincent Williams
PG—Three stars (Rivals)—6'1", 150 lbs

Williams is a speedy ball-handler, but severely undersized. Decent upside.

DeMario Mayfield
SG—Three stars (Rivals)—6'3", 175 lbs

With his only offer from Georgia, his skills need improvement before he will see heavy floor-time.

Only one current Bulldog is more than an average role-player, as the Bulldogs suffer from a bare talent cupboard.

Trey Thompkins 

6'10", 247lb Sophomore PF
(12.6ppg - 7.4rpg - 38.4% 3PT - 31 blk)

Thompkins, in all seriousness, could be SEC Player of the Year someday. His pure talent at nearly every aspect of the game is nearly impeccable. His three-point mark included a respectable 86 shots attempted, so it's no fluke.

He's one of the most unfairly overlooked players in the league and has super potential, if only he could protect the ball a bit more. Will start.

Dustin Ware

5'11", 182lb Sophomore SG
(7.2ppg - 1.7rpg - 36.4% 3PT - 1.44 A/TO)

Ware is a surprisingly efficient sophomore who has a solid stroke from everywhere on the court. He handles the ball very well, especially for his age, and should be a staple for the Bulldogs this season. Will start.

Travis Leslie 

6'4", 202lb Sophomore SF
(6.3ppg - 3.9rpg - 21 stl - 44.7% FG)

Leslie, who started four games a year ago, is merely a sub-par roleplayer on a sub-par team. He doesn't specialize in any one area, has a poor shot and turns the ball over prolifically. He does, however, defend fairly well. May start.

Jeremy Price 

6'8", 264lb Junior PF
(5.1ppg - 2.9rpg - 10 starts - 25 ast)

Obviously, Price is a big guy and big guys don't like to hold onto the ball typically. Such is the case for Price. He also doesn't perform well either offensively nor defensively. Another body to have on the court. May start.

Albert Jackson 

6'11", 265lb Senior C
(4.5ppg - 3.8rpg - 48.3% FG - 28 starts)

Jackson also has size, and also can't handle the ball. He is, however, efficient offensively but not nearly as aggressive as he should be. Defensively, he can hold his own. Likely to start.

Chris Barnes 

6'8", 240lb Junior PF
(4.4ppg - 3.9rpg - 52.9% FG - 25 blk)

Unlike most Georgia reserves, Barnes has a good amount of potential if he were to see more playing time. He uses his time wisely offensively and defensively, and could easily be a starter under a good coach.

Look for him to challenge for a starting spot at some point this season if he can learn to hang onto the ball.

Ricky McPhee 

6'1", 184lb Senior SG
(3.6ppg - 1.5rpg - 36.4% 3PT - 1.00 A/TO)

McPhee is a serviceable player who can shoot and defend well. He's a versatile player that can handle the ball, but the main knock against him is his aggressiveness. He ranks amongst the 10 worst in the league in minutes/field goal made despite a solid shooting percentage.

McPhee needs to find some purpose on the floor if he wants to challenge for a starting spot, as he well could given his ability.

Drazen Zlovaric 

6'9", 210lb Sophomore SF
(1.2ppg - 0.9rpg - 37.5% FG - 17 games)

Zlovaric is amongst the worst in the league in most categories, and is more a practice body than anything.

With such a lack of talent and depth, the Bulldogs look to struggle yet again.

Schedule Breakdown

  • Cupcakes: New Orleans (H), Wofford (H), UNC-Asheville (H),
    Jacksonville St. (H), Florida Atlantic (H), Pepperdine (H)
  • Real Games: UAB (A), St. Louis (H), St. John's (N)
  • Marquee Matchups: Virginia Tech (A), Illinois (N), Missouri (A),
    Georgia Tech (H)
  • Opposite Division: Ole Miss (H), Mississippi State (A), Arkansas (H), Auburn (A), Alabama (H), LSU (A)
  • Predicted Result: (10-19, 3-13), No Postseason
  • Analysis: This is a surprisingly tough schedule for a team who is struggling to rebound from years of mediocrity. The Bulldogs will be pushing it to make it to the double-digits in wins.

What's Returning

  • Points: 62.21% (9th - SEC Avg: 73.81%)
  • Rebounds: 68.92% (9th - SEC Avg: 75.80%)

Mark Fox has a long way to go to get this program back to respectability. Unfortunately, there simply isn't much room for improvement in 2009-10.

Any kind of postseason for the Bulldogs, barring another miracle SEC Tournament streak, is deserving of National Coach of the Year honors.