Since 1995 - Insightful commentary on the Georgia Bulldogs

Post Christi Thomas a WNBA first-rounder

Tuesday April 20, 2004

Christi was selected with the 12th overall pick by the Los Angeles Sparks. LA is one of the top teams in the league, but they failed to capture a three-peat title due in part to the lack of post depth. They addressed that need with Thomas who will back up or play alongside Lisa Leslie, one of the best players in the game who has become increasingly injury-prone. LSU’s Doneeka Hodges will join Christi in LA.

Following this week’s team banquet, Christi will immediately head out to training camp April 25th.

From the Sparks release:

“We are very excited to have a lady of her caliber, who comes from a great basketball program, like Georgia,” said Sparks Head Coach Michael Cooper. “If I had to, I’d compare her to a female version of Tim Duncan. She’s really an excellent addition to our front court. She will be a great compliment to Lisa Leslie and Delisha Milton.”

Thomas, a 6-3 forward/center, averaged 12.8 points and 7.3 rebounds per game during her four-year career with the Bulldogs. She posted a career high 16 points and 8.0 rebounds per game in her junior season. As a senior, she was named AP All-America honorable mention, All-SEC First Team, coaches, All-SEC Second Team, media, and SEC All-Tournament Team.

“I’m looking forward to playing with Lisa Leslie and the exceptional veterans on the team,” Thomas smiled. “I’m confident that my ability to run the floor and help Lisa inside will be of value this season.”

In the meantime, Christi is still a student. She didn’t even attend the WNBA draft in person because, according to ESPN, she was catching up on schoolwork. The season is demanding on student-athletes, and here is a first-round draft pick having to put the books ahead of her moment in the sun.

This year’s great NCAA tournament introduced us to some incredible players, not the least of which was Minnesota’s Lindsay Whalen. An outstanding player, an entire city and state rallied around her and the Gophers on their way to the Final Four. Alas, the draft didn’t work out and she’ll be in Connecticut. Here’s a good analysis of the situation from the Minnesota perspective. Now while she wants to be in Minnesota, and they want her there, she can’t expect to last in the pros moping about the outcome of the draft. She’s heading into a situation where the fans will support such an outstanding player and needs to make the most of the opportunity. Michael Jordan wasn’t from Chicago, but there are now few people more identified with that town. Meanwhile, the same applies to the fans back in Minneapolis – they can’t let this outcome diminish their support of the teams and people they lived and died with over the past few months.

Post Watching the Georgia hoops seniors lead the team to a big win….

Sunday January 4, 2004

Is like seeing the Pips go off and record a hit album.

For three years (or whatever), these guys were the role players, the steady contributors, the sixth men, the rythym section and backup singers of a great band.

They developed into very good players at what we asked them to do, but what we asked them to do was usually rebound, defend, and help guys like Layne, Williams, and Jarvis Hayes shine.

It’s not that we never asked any of them to be the man or that they never stood out here and there…it’s just that what we’re asking them to do every night is so different from what we’ve asked them to do in the past (especially Rashad, Jonas, and Damien). The road adjusting to these new roles obviously hasn’t been smooth, but it’s encouraging to see the response. Rashad stepped out first with some big shooting early on. Chris – jeez…just pencil in the double-double. Now we’re seeing the team recognize how to use Jonas and, as Felton noted, Damien looked much, much more patient.

If those things we saw from the seniors were a one-game flash, then the Tech win is useless except a feel-good to keep the fans off Felton’s back (for this week anyway). When you’ve worked three years getting really good at doing something and then are told that your role must be different because of the team’s “challenges” (to use Felton’s word), it can be hard to accept. I hope the win serves to show the players that these are the roles they can win with this year. I also hope the coach realizes the flexibility these “backup singers” are showing in finding their way as the frontmen and will scheme to make the best use of what they’re doing. Keep feeding Jonas. Keep encouraging Damien that his best role is going to the basket and being deadly from the stripe. Get Rashad the chance for open looks or isolation to blow past his guy.

It looked like the players and coach are buying into each other a bit more – I hope it’s not just one game…that would be a bigger shame than losing that Tech game.

Post A lot of these guys

Friday January 2, 2004

“A lot of these guys have gone through a lot. We’re going to end up with an 11-win season and, hopefully, finish in the top 10. We had guys going pro, guys with season-ending injuries, suspensions. Somehow, we found a way to get here.”

– Georgia coach Mark Richt on the end of the 2003 season

Post “The great thing about football

Friday January 2, 2004

“The great thing about football is that you can pick each other up.”

– QB David Greene on Kregg Lumpkin’s overtime redemption

Post Receiver redemption

Friday January 2, 2004

Georgia’s offensive line injuries and changes that gave Purdue the chance to drop more men into coverage took away a bright spot that was helping Georgia score at will early on.

Fred Gibson and Reggie Brown were having their best game as a duo. Even in the second half and into overtime, there were significant catches. Gibson owned the cornerback that was on him, and Brown came up with big plays after making a nice catch for several clutch first down receptions.

Post Whew

Friday January 2, 2004

Lots of people are questioning the offensive playcalling, especially at the end of the first half when there might have been a chance for more points. I don’t share that view – the series at the end of the half did a good job to reverse any momentum Purdue had at the time.

If you told me that we would be handing Brian VanGorder a 14-point lead and the opportunity to adjust at halftime, I’d take that any day.

Purdue had stolen every bit of momentum and we went out there and stopped the leak. The running game really stepped up and didn’t give them the chance to get the ball back. If you heard the ABC announcers, the Purdue sideline was very confident that they’d get the ball back and put more points up before halftime.