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Post Disjointed thoughts from a disjointed game

Thursday February 19, 2009

It’s official: Team Tornado is no more. As sirens sounded across the UGA campus, we hoped that the stars were aligning for the first SEC winning streak since that amazing weekend last March. It didn’t turn out that way of course. It might seem pointless to really dwell much on this team with the season all but over, but I might as well get it all out after a game like last night. When one of the highlights was the crowd singing “Happy Birthday” to Mark Richt, you know there wasn’t much else to cheer about.

  • This morning Billy Donovan woke up next to a bottle of scotch and tried to reassure himself that his team didn’t just get lit up a few days ago by a team that didn’t break into double figures Wednesday until five minutes remained in the first half.
  • It is c-r-i-m-i-n-a-l that Travis Leslie sat on the bench for the first 33 minutes of the game. I understand that there might be attitude and off-court issues with him. If that’s the case, suspend him, and I doubt anyone would have a problem with that. But if you’re going to play him, play him. He came into the game and had the energy that had been missing from the floor for the first 75% of the game. He rebounded and finished with as many offensive boards as anyone on the team in just seven minutes of action. He made things happen in the transition game. He’s not perfect by any stretch, but you can’t convince me that he shouldn’t be one of the first players off the bench.
  • Trey Thompkins is probably the best post player to come through Athens in the 20 years I’ve been watching Georgia basketball. He needs to reexamine his love affair with the three-point shot. It’s not that he can’t hit it, and it’s good that he has that range in his game. It’s just that he’s come to lean on the shot a bit too much, and it’s creating some bad habits in his offense. It’s almost as if he’d rather settle for the outside shot sometimes instead of working for position inside. That’s a habit that the new coach needs to address early on.
  • As if Georgia didn’t have enough trouble scoring in the first half, at one point midway through the half, Georgia had a lineup on the court that included Swansey, McPhee, Brewer, Barnes, and I believe Jackson. If you can find the go-to guy on offense within that group, you know something the rest of us don’t.
  • This is a generic comment about basketball in general – there is a special place in basketball hell for a post player under the basket who brings a ball from chest level down to the floor. If he takes a dribble in that position, snipers should be involved.
  • I do credit the guys for the comeback and the fact they didn’t pack it in. When Auburn opened the door by shutting down on offense, Georgia responded. That said, there is no reason for the lack of effort and intensity in the first half. Defense was Swiss cheese, and the offense was lazy: it’s bad enough to start the game 2-for-18 shooting, but it’s ridiculous that half of those 18 attempts were from behind the arc.
  • Dustin Ware had 10 turnovers a few weeks ago at South Carolina. In the three games since the freshman has had 15 assists to just four turnovers. He’s scored in double figures in the past two games. He’s more than earned the starting job, and his progress has been a bright spot. It’ll be fun to watch him over the next few seasons as he continues to gain confidence and improve his defense.
  • We knew coming into this season that offense, particularly from the guard position, would be spotty. What’s been disappointing has been the defense. Even on his earlier teams with far less talent, you could count on a Dennis Felton team to exhaust themselves on defense even if it came at the expense of scoring. Somewhere along the line that message was lost, and there is nothing special about the defense we’ve seen lately. When you have a weak offense and can’t play man defense, you end up with a season like this.

It’s amazing to think that if Georgia could have only kept it within 20, they might have had a chance at the end.

3 Responses to 'Disjointed thoughts from a disjointed game'

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  • I saw the game from the stands on Wednesday, and I have to say I was pretty appalled by the effort. In the first five minutes we ran 4 post plays for Jackson and none for Thompkins. We didn’t pull Jackson after he gave up 2, 3 straight baskets by standing still on D and letting guys run right past. We have no spacing on the court and can’t find an open man when the ball gets to the post because everyone is standing at half-court watching the post player… We need that new coach soon. Your point about Leslie is spot on, and I have to applaud Hermann for yanking Thompkins towards the end after his 4th or 5th 3 attempt. That kid is all talent, but I am scared this season is chipping away at his attitude. We need a coach to come in and establish a team-first atmosphere, as well as an identifiable offensive plan, pronto. We can turn it around fast, once we have the final piece in place.

  • A few thoughts…

    I love Trey Thompkins as a player, but Jarvis Hayes has to be the best to come through Athens in the past 20 years – he was a player.

    Second, one of my biggest issues with Felton (outside of not understanding offense/inbound plays and not gauging our fan base) was his substitution pattern. Hermann is doing the exact same thing, and it drives me crazy… players can’t get in a rhythm, he puts the worst combos on the floor (see you’re point about the “go to” guy in a particular 5), and then he just flat out doesn’t play some talented guys (i.e. Leslie)

    Finally, Ware has been improving tremendously and I, too, am quite excited to see him continue to develop and play over the coming years. Swansey should be remembered for his play in the SEC Tourney last year, but Ware is definitely a more “SEC-type” PG.

  • Hayes was definitely the best player Georgia has had over that period to this point, but I think that Thompkins is the best pure post player. Hayes was surely the best wing we’ve seen.