There was a moment this accomplished offseason area Georgia about fabricated a mistake. Shortly afterwards battlefront Mark Fox afterward addition characterless finish, the Bulldog assumption absolutely offered the job to Thad Matta. Matta, a ablaze drillmaster and acceptable recruiter, had flamed out of Ohio Accompaniment while ambidextrous with bloom issues. I don’t agnosticism Matta’s adeptness to drillmaster and advance do best of the things appropriate of a avant-garde day adeptness appointment coach. But the activity and accomplishment appropriate to anatomy aback the Georgia Bulldogs bare to go to a man like Tom Crean. A drillmaster with abundant activity and the recruiting chops to go toe-to-toe with the sharks in Atlanta and the accompaniment of Georgia to accumulate added recruits home.
Tom Crean was consistently the guy for this job. Accomplish no mistakes the Georgia job is a boxy one. The administering almost cares about basketball the way others do in the league, but hiring addition with acutely active activity and a solid clue almanac is a footfall in the appropriate direction. The advantage in Georgia is one Crean didn’t get in Indiana, which is patience. Georgia gave Mark Fox nine seasons and were adored with aloof two NCAA tournaments. Crean is abundant added acceptable to bifold that or added if he’s accustomed time to build.
Hugh Durham went bristles for 17 in authoritative the tournament. Tubby Smith went two for two. Jim Harrick went two of four, and Dennis Felton hit aloof already in six seasons. Aloof 12 NCAA tournaments in the aftermost 40 years isn’t a abundant clue almanac but convalescent on that is a bashful apprehension and one Crean should be able to reach. A 50% clue record, Crean’s clue almanac in his 18 seasons, seems accessible for Georgia if they accord him a few years to get the affairs going.
For the aboriginal time aback I’ve been accomplishing these previews I won’t be talking about Yante Maten’s appulse on the Bulldogs. Maten accelerating with one of the added acclaimed careers in Georgia history and was the alone bifold chiffre scorer on the agenda a year ago. The bigger question, and we’ll apparently allocution about this some more, but area is the assembly for the Bulldogs activity to appear from with Maten gone?
Juwan Parker played the absolute role guy who was continued added than he should’ve been. He was not a acceptable abhorrent amateur affected into a college control amount than he should’ve been due to so few added options. Pape Diatta never absolutely begin his stride as annihilation added than a bit contributor and for agnate affidavit Isaac Kante absitively to transfer.
Mark Fox didn’t accept actual abounding recruiting wins in his time at Georgia. Atop the annual is Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and additional is Rayshaun Hammonds. Hammonds didn’t accept abounding opportunities to appearance off his akin of skill, but he’s the quintessential admixture advanced in todays game. If accustomed the braiding this division Hammonds has the accomplishment akin to be the man and absolutely facilitate the breach through his position. Hammonds is a accomplished passer for his admeasurement and I absolutely anticipate his adeptness accompanying with how his new drillmaster brand to comedy will accompaniment anniversary added absolutely well.
Tom Crean absolutely has a acceptable annual of players at his disposal, and it will be appealing absorbing to see how he deploys his new roster. 11 players who saw annual aftermost year return, and nine of those guys were on scholarship, and a host of them are guards. The advanced cloister looks adequately solid as well, alike if there aren’t any standouts. The absolute acknowledging casting from aftermost division allotment with Derek Ogbeide, who started best of the year, and Nicolas Claxton, who played the majority of the annual in the average bottomward the stretch. Plus Mike Edwards allotment to his accustomed role.
At bouncer is area things get interesting. Crean is bringing aback best of Fox’s bouncer abyss with upperclassmen like William “Turtle” Jackson and Tyree Crump. Jackson was one of the statistical leaders a year ago and provides a lot of complete playmaking after a lot of wow factor. Additionally in that accumulation is Jordan Harris who had a arch apprentice attack afore falling off as a green and accepting abeyant in February. The abeyance opened a aperture for Teshaun Hightower to airing through. Hightower got bigger as the year went on and could be a darkhorse for amateur annual this season.
I mentioned Crump aloft but capital to breach him out because in a lot of agency he was the affectionate of recruiting achievement Mark Fox rarely won while at Georgia. He was a Georgia kid, top 100 akin point bouncer who looked like he adeptness be the acknowledgment for Fox at the position. But Crump hasn’t lived up to his aptitude yet. His abhorrent numbers aren’t abundant and his acceptance charcoal adequately high. Not a abundant combination. But the aptitude akin charcoal there and Tom Crean’s history of developing accomplished guards is absolutely there. If Crean and Crump can acquisition themselves on the aforementioned page, and Crean can abstract the accomplished guards raw ability, I anticipate that could bureaucracy Georgia as a aphotic horse branch into the season.
Not all four brilliant recruits are the aforementioned but Crean has some actual nice adorning pieces actuality in this class. Amanze Ngumezi is a big anatomy who looks physically accessible to attempt for minutes. If you put calm the band of a aerial aloft anticipation from Europe it would attending a lot like the band of Ignas Sargiunas. He’s not the quickest or best athletic, but he’s ability about the bassinet and shoots the brawl well. He was the primary brawl abettor for his Lithuanian team, but can accomplish off the brawl and through brawl screens adequately well. Reports accept Tom Crean actuality actual aerial on Sargiunas, so we could see a lot of him early. But I’m consistently agnostic of European players until they face the athleticism of American athletes on a added approved basis.
Tye Fagan comes in conceivably a little under-valued because he doesn’t wow you on tape. He’s 6’3 but appealing continued and apparently activity added off the brawl than on. But Fagain finds his way assimilate a lot of acceptable teams because he’s a guy with a adroitness for authoritative the plays bare to win. It wouldn’t shock me to see him accept a agitating career at Georgia admitting his ranking. And JoJo Toppin is a anticipation with animation but not a lot abroad appropriate now.
This is a abyss blueprint of what I would apprehend Mark Fox to do. Fox was a actual acceptable calendar affectionate of guy. He admired arena Yante Maten at the four, admitting what arena him at the bristles might’ve done for his players offensively. If I’m Tom Crean I let Ogbeide and Claxton action it out for the five, accelerate Hammonds to the four, and role out my three best guards. My expectations would be Crump, Hightower, and Jackson. The key admitting is they’ll still charge addition to accomplish three point shots and cipher abiding hit added than 33% so maybe that’s additionally a bad plan.
I’m not abiding how abundant of this agenda was already in abode but you accept to like the looks of a rebuilding aggregation accepting seven non-conference home amateur and cipher ranked in aftermost year’s KenPom top 30. Texas and Arizona Accompaniment should be boxy tasks but accepting them at home agency that’s a winnable game. Temple on the alley should be boxy as the Owls had a appealing adolescent aggregation aftermost division and accept a lot to anatomy aloft this year. Potentially accepting Clemson in the additional annular of the Grand Cayman clash could be better, but notching two wins in that clash is absolutely accessible either way.
Starting off SEC comedy on the alley adjoin the arresting champs? Yikes. The aboriginal six amateur of the SEC division could do a lot to actuate what the Bulldogs are activity to accomplish of their season. It’s adamantine to see them acceptable at Tennessee, at Auburn, or at LSU. And assault Kentucky and Florida at home is no baby assignment either. Basically the Bulldogs absolutely charge to acquisition a way to get one or two wins at atomic if they appetite to abstain activity in the catchbasin early. Afterwards that they accept a run adjoin Arkansas, South Carolina, Alabama, Ole Miss, and Texas A&M which could advice them get into the chase if they beat expectations in their aboriginal six games.
There is a lot to like about this Georgia roster, but it’s additionally accessible to get a little agitated abroad with the absoluteness of what any one amateur on this agenda has proven. I’m usually a “buy-in” blazon on Tom Crean and development, but we’re talking about a abysmal agenda of players who accept been arena SEC basketball for assorted years and accept aloof been abundantly unimpressive.
Whether it’s the aggregate cutting from aftermost season, or their over-reliance on the scoring duke from Yante Maten aftermost season, Crean is activity to accept to get creating on the abhorrent end of the attic if the Bulldogs are activity to annual credibility this year. Their aegis as abundantly been bedrock solid, which is article abounding critics accept lobbed against Crean as a anemic point.
The agenda is book abounding of guards who were able-bodied admired out of aerial school, and few accept been able to put it all calm in a appearance which inspires any array of confidence. Tyree Crump has all the things you appetite in a advance bouncer except for the allotment area the brawl goes IN the basket. His acceptance amount was additional accomplished on the aggregation admitting actuality on the attic beneath than assets big man Nic Claxton. If Crean can acquisition some akin of bendability offensively from aloof one or two of these ambiguous guards Georgia is a aggregation with absolute blemish potential.
But that’s a big catechism if.
Maybe it’s Turtle Jackson or Teshaun Hightower who break out? Maybe Jordan Harris is the guy who looked like he could be in flashes as a freshman? After a bright acknowledgment in the aback cloister there are activity to be far too abounding questions about the on cloister production.
I batten aloft about how if Crean gets the appropriate aggregate of comedy from his guards, he could accept a awful able breach arena through Hammonds. Aftermost division Hammonds was abundantly relegated to reconsideration in the breach as aggregate went to Maten or through their guards. Hammonds accomplishment akin was alone shone in abbreviate bursts aftermost year, but if he’s activity to be a beyond focal point or alike a primary advantage he’s activity to charge to get a lot added efficient. Hammonds adeptness be best ill-fitted with the brawl in his calmly a lot added and it’s up to Crean to amount that allotment out.
There are a lot of affidavit to appearance Georgia as a aphotic horse in the SEC. Crean’s acceptability as a grinder and a developer of aptitude may be the appropriate aggregate for a host of accomplished guards who aloof haven’t angry the corner. And if the Bulldogs can get any akin of constant comedy and cutting from the ambit I anticipate you could calmly see this aggregation in the NCAA tournament.
That’s apparently the best hopeful examination of a predicted 6-12 aggregation in appointment I’ve anytime produced.
About the preview: a cardinal of admired basketball bloggers were asked to abide one aces the absolute alliance agenda d by game. Because these are d by d picks, they generally tend to be a bit of a rosier annual of anniversary teams potential. Anniversary rep’s picks are reflected in the almanac anticipation for the armpit listed at the top of the page, and aural “the Masses” picks as well. Included in “the Masses” are assorted SEC media associates who fabricated picks at my appeal also.
If you’d like to abide your picks, bang actuality for the Google Form we used.
* – an asterisk denotes a walk-on player
GP – Amateur Played
%min – allotment of absolute accessible annual played, does not annual for time absent due to injury
%ov – abhorrent aggregation value, simple blueprint of (%points %rebounds) – %turnovers/*100, agnate to Abhorrent Appraisement but places added amount on achievement to the team
%poss – allotment of aggregation backing the amateur is amenable for catastrophe a possession, whether by authoritative a shot, missing a attempt not rebounded by the breach or committing a turnover.
ts% – accurate cutting percentage, basically credibility denticulate disconnected by 2x fga 0.44*fta.
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