This is how far Georgia Basketball has come.
It all comes crashing back down to being just like the way it was before Mark Fox arrived. Opposing fans, alumni and students would crash Stegeman Coliseum and get to celebrate while UGA supporters feel ashamed. In this 78-61 loss, it was a flashback to the days of Dennis Felton when the Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, and LSU faithful crashed Stegeman Coliseum to neutralize the crowd. Even Wisconsin got in on the act and nearly took over Stegeman Coliseum back when Felton was at the helm, but it was supposed to be different with Mark Fox. It was certainly not and the rigid “discipline” of the old era has continued. Ever since Vince Dooley prioritized Football over keeping a Men’s Basketball Coach who could take Georgia back to the Final Four (Tubby Smith), this is Georgia Basketball: Underachieving and Proud of It.
We can look back on a couple of good years, but it was never sustainable. Sometimes, there was a lot of good fortune involved to keep Georgia from having a recent Men’s Basketball History that is like Auburn since Marquis Daniels left The Plains. Even if Jim Harrick did not have the Tony Cole saga, his recruiting in Atlanta High Schools suffered as he relied upon transfers to save him. A known sexual harasser who left UCLA and Rhode Island in rough shape due to his own misdeeds is not the hero of Georgia Basketball, but yet there are people in power who have let the legend become greater than the reality with the sheer incompetence of recent vintage. Jim Harrick was a sleazebag and should never have been hired by the University of Georgia, but he has become the Bear Bryant of Georgia Men’s Basketball. Former UGA President Michael Adams is a corrupt politician who went into business for himself at UGA and put his own interests before the institution. Vince Dooley was an incompetent Athletic Director who served as a figurehead. This is why Georgia was passed by Florida. It’s about leadership and interests.
Today’s game was a testimonial that just because you renovate an arena, it does not mean you are committed to a program. It also helped drive home the point that real estate does not win Championships, it enriches developers and contractors.
People really believed that Mike Anderson was offered the UGA Men’s Basketball job, they really believed this then and still think this actually happened. When push came to shove, Michael Adams made the decisions in Athens and Mark Fox was a Michael Adams hire. Mike Anderson never stood a chance in Athens, why? Let’s get uncomfortable. Mike Anderson is not a “Cornball Brother”, he did not fit in with The Powers That Be and he certainly would never be approved by Michael Adams.
Mark Fox’s hire came with the directive that he not interact heavily with the AAU scene, why? This seeped out through the media and painted all AAU coaches as corrupt. It was a sleazy act perpetrated by President Adams, the UGAA, and the local media. They might as well have said that the AAU coaches were dealing crack on the corners too with the way the talking points were given.
AAU did not take down Georgia Basketball, Jim Harrick, his son, Michael Adams and Vince Dooley took it down all on their own. The scapegoat became the AAU coaches in the Atlanta area who fed Georgia Basketball with talented young men during the Dennis Felton era. The off-the-court issues that were experienced had nothing to do with AAU coaches, they were the fault of the players and an aloof Dennis Felton.
The excuses and perverted, alternative history fed by the establishment funnels its way through message boards and local media has infected how the majority view Men’s Basketball at UGA. It’s unfortunate. Prejudices, control, egos and incompetence define the past 22 years of Georgia Men’s Basketball and it is time. Time for a clean break.
Auburn may have a tainted season, but their team played with pride and confidence. The same cannot be said for the most talented Georgia Basketball Team to grace Stegeman Coliseum since possibly when Tubby Smith was in Athens. When the excuses, narratives and ignorance go away – the truth is far more disturbing than the fiction.
Unfortunately, at the University of Georgia success is so fleeting that any past success has to be mimicked in the exact way because apparently we know no other. Charting a different course is a good thing, change is a good thing. Everyone on this UGA Men’s Basketball staff needs a fresh start and so do the student-athletes. The frustration is evident and the underlying issues are currently ignored. #NewDayUGA
Insecurity and Inferiority is a Theme
Mark Fox is an insecure coach with a boss who happens to be a very insecure man himself. There’s an inferiority complex at the institution that claims that Georgia Tech has the inferiority complex. Wins over Florida are viewed as rare and special rather than wins that Georgia should have. Championships are viewed as once-in-a-lifetime rather than just the perfect ending to a great season.
This insecurity played itself out on the court today as a shot made was celebrated as if they never fall, but there was no follow-up or awareness to defend because it was so startling that the shot was made. This is a team not accustomed to the smallest successes. How can this program ever be expected to win consistently?
Auburn took better, more confident shots. Auburn played aggressively. Auburn was not afraid to play physically. Georgia did just the opposite. Auburn was the bull and Georgia was the cuck. That simple. It happened again.
This Georgia team when faced with pressure curls up into the fetal position rather than seeing it as an opportunity to exploit. This is the way it has been for over a decade.
Georgia played this terribly with Auburn not having their top scorer and shooter on the floor, Bryce Brown. It did not stop Auburn from steamrolling the Dawgs in Athens while those in Orange and Blue were able to celebrate during the last four minutes of the game.
The body language in the last 2:37 was sad, these kids came to Georgia with hopes and dreams. Reality bites and the truth stings. This is not something build from, it’s an outcome to avoid.
Mark Fox’s firing should seem imminent, but it may not happen. The replacement may just be another Mark Fox and it will stir the base into the same sort of pattern until there is wholesale culture change.
Breaking down the game is useless because it is the same game played, everything just repeats itself. It’s a microcosm of the season and the program that has been created.