The Georgia Basketball Talking Points Died Last Night

Georgia did what was expected against Cal State-Fullerton:  Play terribly.

Cal State-Fullerton is not a contender in the Big West and they are a fragile opponent with minimal depth.  The only shot Cal State-Fullerton had to win this game was to employ the Josh Pastner approach, which was throw the kitchen sink of defenses at the Dawgs on every single possession.  Mark Fox’s counter to the turnover issues was to slow things down considerably, give Juwan Parker more minutes and almost remove the dribble drive from the offensive repetoire.  This was an ugly game, it was symptomatic of the issues that plague this Georgia Basketball program.  It was also a game that proves that all the mainstream and message board talking points are wrong.  In fact, they are so wrong that they prevent any positive change from taking place.

It’s important to admit being wrong.  People make mistakes, misdiagnoses or even just plain believe things that are factually untrue.  Being wrong and maintaining the same stance in the face of being proven wrong does not help bring about progress.

Those who wish for Mark Fox to be fired use the wrong arguments and accidentally make the case for him staying even stronger.  Those who think Fox has Georgia Basketball in the right direction are also wrong because they fail to understand why the program has not cleared the proverbial hump.  There are even those with their heads in the sand completely and resort to wild factually incorrect statements to justify their world view.

So 4-0 and feeling great?  Right?  Time to celebrate a road win?

Or how about feeling like Mark Fox can’t recruit?

Thinking that Mark Fox cannot survive in AAU because every coach in AAU is the equivalent of a dealer manning a corner?

Maybe mad about Mark Fox’s rotations?

Time for a so-called “Real Coach”?

Triggered yet?

This is just getting started.  These are the stupid talking points that give University of Georgia Alumni and Students a Men’s Basketball Program that has no urgency, no clear progress and happens to just exist in the background.

The nice part of tonight’s game was that the team busted them all one in night.  It’s sweet vindication on an otherwise ugly winning night.  The game went exactly as previewed with the exception of Yante Maten coming through at the end rather than Rayshaun Hammonds.

So is it time to celebrate?  BIG ROAD WIN RIGHT?  RIGHT?

Unless you are Chuck Dowdle, this is not the appropriate reaction to this game.

15 Turnovers, a complete inability to defend Kyle Allman, 13 second chance points on 12 offensive rebounds (really?), zero fast break points and nearly 3/4 of this game is spent trailing a Cal State-Fullerton team that is not good at all.

NCAA Tournament teams knock teams like this out early and not have to struggle, but that’s the Georgia Way.

Who forced the slow pace in this game?  Was it Cal State-Fullerton?  Was it Georgia?  Maybe both coaches just decided that this game was going to be an affront to the viewer.  62 possessions and that is inflated by 3 due to the Hack-A-Dawg attempts in the final 70 seconds of the game.

Georgia let Cal State-Fullerton get 12 shot attempts inside the restricted arc, which is obscene considering Georgia resorted to the 1-2-2 and 2-3 Matchup Zone because of foul trouble in the Man-to-Man.  Mark Fox hated the fact that he had to play zone, in fact, he expressed such regret in the post-game interview.

Cal State-Fullerton committed only 9 turnovers against this Georgia Defense.  It is not terribly surprising against a defense that retreats to the 1/4 court and just hopes for missed shots and one-and-outs.  Nothing disruptive there.

Georgia only had 6 shots in the restricted arc despite a major size, talent, length and athleticism advantage.  Cal State-Fullerton knew how to disrupt the Georgia Offense regardless of where they were on the floor.  Playing on your heels is tough.

Notice how much better the team played when they were not chucking up threes in the second half?  How much better the team played when forcing fouls on the Titans as opposed to taking jump shots everywhere.

Mark Fox can’t recruit?

He has two future NBA Draft picks on the team.  He is recruiting just fine.  Yante Maten is projected to be drafted in the 2nd Round of the 2018 NBA Draft and Rayshaun Hammonds is projected to be the 10th pick of the 2019 NBA Draft.

There is plenty of athleticism and talent.  Georgia would really have to be a pariah program if the problem was talent because no SEC program should be struggling against cupcake opponents.  They are cupcake opponents.

The problem has nothing to do with talent level.  Even the arbitrary star ratings make that clear.

Mark Fox cannot recruit AAU and does not do the AAU scene…

Let’s just show this image below on repeat until the lie ends.  Every member of the Georgia Basketball Team played on an AAU Team.  Almost every recruit plays in AAU to get better and to gain exposure.   It is not the 1970s and it is not the movie Hoosiers.

Why pick on AAU?  College and High School Football is certainly not pristine (rape and sexual assault coverups are part of the culture, shady boosters, tax arbitrage, obesityCTE and brain damage, terroristic fans, attempted murder by fans, vandalism by fans to name a few issues) and so is the state of institutions of higher learning across the United States.  Think that Hollywood and Washington are going to be isolated in the #MeToo reckoning?  Nope, the Ivory Towers are soon to fall too.

The swamp surrounds us all.  From oligopolistic cable/internet/phone agreements with local governments to the various forms of corruption and legalized theft found in all forms of government.

If AAU is the only swamp that is called out and reckoned with… that’s just pure ignorance.  It’s the metaphorical splinter in the eye.

Mark Fox needs to tighten up the rotations, that’s the solution!  Play your BEST PLAYERS!!!!!!!

Who are the best players again?  Is it someone who cannot help but chuck the ball at the basket any time there is an opening?  Or is it someone who cannot defend?  What is the criteria for BEST?

Would playing the best players really make an obvious pattern-oriented and sequenced offense work?  No.  It would not.

Here’s an analogy:  Ever play a side-scrolling video game?  Think Super Mario Bros., Sonic the Hedgehog, Donkey Kong Country or any other games that existed during the early-to-mid 1990s on the NES or SNES.  Nobody gets through on the first try because everything is impossible to predict as you are merely reacting to the action on the screen.  After several play-throughs, there are obvious patterns in terms of what is taking place and certain parts of the game are memorized as far as what to expect at what time.  This pattern exists because the creators did not have any sort of a randomization feature in the program, which makes the game universally predictable on every single cartridge or in the modern era, a ROM or Flash Game version.  The NBA Live franchise on SNES actually had a predictable pattern for the AI offense in their offensive sets, which made it easy on any mode to collect 30 blocked three point shots in a game because the player knew where to be when the shot was to be taken.  This made the game incredibly boring after a while and the 100+ point margin of victory was rather hollow.

Well, Georgia’s offense is much the same way as a 1980-90s video game.  Much like how anyone with the ability to detect patterns could block 30 shots after being exposed to the NBA Live game for a long enough or know when the Thwomps were going to come down in Super Mario Bros., it is all very predictable and part of the problem for Mark Fox is that he does not realize that coaches have figured it out.  The only reason why the team is winning is due to sheer size and talent.  Georgia is winning in spite of their own offensive strategy.

How can any lineup work properly when there are no counters?  No matter how many minutes played together at a time, the offense will have problems because of the sheer predictability.

Mark Fox only went 10 deep, but it was more of a 9 deep rotation because of his dissatisfaction with Jordan Harris tonight.  There was a tighter rotation, the results were still miserable against an overmatched opponent.  It was an uphill struggle of a Basketball game when there was no reason for it to happen.

Time for a “Real Coach”?

What is this supposed to mean?  It means absolutely nothing, Mark Fox is the real coach.  Donald Trump is the real President of the United States.  Marshall Mathers is the real Slim Shady.  De-legitimizing Mark Fox’s role is not going to help things.  It actually dumbs down the conversation to the point where any alternative is considered good.  It creates a lower bar of expectations for those in charge and diminishes real criticism because any criticism can become fringe.  It takes the eyes off the prize and waters down argumentation.  There’s no room left for nuance once there is emotion involved.  Lurking in the nuance is truth.

Without specifying real issues and resorting to bumper sticker insults and pleas, there’s no weight behind it.  It is the equivalent of screaming at the sky.  It’s catharsis, not opinion.

Catharsis does not deliver victories.

There’s No Credibility Left Behind the Talking Points

The pro and con Talking Points are not based in fact.  A game like this one shows that there are significant problems with the State of Georgia Basketball.  It will not change until there is a clear directive for everything to change.

It was easy to brush off when there were just merely hard-working student-athletes trying their best to just be competitive on the 2004-05, 2005-06, 2011-12 and 2012-13 rosters.  It’s impossible to do it now unless you are actively looking the other way, there’s too much on-the-court talent and progress made off the court by this iteration of student-athletes to ignore.

However, none of the criticism matters.  In fact, most people just do not care about Georgia Basketball or let alone any other UGA program winning.  Greg McGarity is judged and compensated based on one sport.  Right now, UGA is on pace to an 11-1 Football Season, a chance to win the SEC Championship and so much more.  Everything is apparently great in the Butts-Mehre Building.

The silent majority supports the status quo.  Those unsatisfied have just been ineffective in bringing about reform.  It’s time to fight back with arguments grounded in facts that are simply undeniable.  There has to be a better way to do it and it is time to stop screaming at the sky.

6 comments

  1. You’ve insisted about Crump being a point guard for awhile. He has impressive handle, but he has looked awful running the offense. There had to be multiple moments where he dribbled for 20 seconds and got nowhere.

  2. Georgia basketball is hard to watch no excitement , no run and gun just boring sets that don’t work. The players have no confidence in their abilities and talent to play the game because Coach fox has to control their every step on the floor. Let them play and use their talent . The defense was bad giving up the baseline many times and leaving people wide open. Hopefully today will be better, the 4 bigs and one guard isn’t working and Maten never turns to look at the basket and score he just catches the ball and throws it back out what is up with that? Let the players play their game not your game see if it works better than your boring game plans

  3. This and the other articles on this site are simply brilliant. It is and has been quite apparent that there are a lot of missing pieces that has led to continual failure. Failure being measured by absent achievements. Some of the worst basketball I’ve watched on any level is Mark Fox coached teams. Too many marginal talents and not enough of the type of players that make a difference. Without JJ Frazier running the point and leadership, there will be no NCAA bid again this year.

  4. Saw an interesting post concerning another sport that hopefully will influence our AD to believe “I can do this ” – when he evaluates both the basketball and baseball programs at years end.. Women’s volleyball went 1-35 last 2 yrs and now are 10-7 in the SEC under new head coach Tom Black.. Who’d thought that just a simple change at the top can make such an impact ?
    Looking at the way the rest of SEC is competing against legit opponents so far this season I’d say coach is in for long stressful year..

  5. Almost any successful high school coach in Georgia would be a vast improvement over Fox. His teams are unwatchable on offense. Stand around until the shot clock is almost to zero then turnovers or bad shots. His imagination offensively is non -existent.

  6. A well thought out article as you always present. No matter CMF’s positives or negatives, I have reached the point of no return on his coaching and what it does to really dedicated UGA basketball fans. I’m so very tired of our scribe, beggar, monk, rabbits, golfer, memphis, rotten, and others going through the Fox cycle every year. They deserve better.

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