Georgia faced Armstrong State tonight and it was a nice sample of what is to come.
Armstrong State, a Division II school that is coming off a 6-19 season and has almost re-shuffled their entire roster, was not expected to put up much of a fight against Georgia. These expectations were fair considering the 59-41 outcome in favor of the Georgia Bulldogs, but Armstrong State provided good preparation in some facets of the game. Some other things that Georgia will see during the season were not covered in this exhibition at Stegeman Coliseum leaving a lot of questions going into the game against Chattanooga.
Armstrong State helped this team’s development by:
- Running a screen-intensive offense to set up perimeter shots. The backcourt needed to be tested in the half court sets against teams that would look to free perimeter shooters by setting stagger and elevator screens. Mann, Gaines, Wilridge, Jackson, Geno and Parker all had to adjust to switching on the perimeter. Thankfully, Armstrong State was dreadful shooting from the perimeter (6 for 24, 24%), but Georgia left them with good shooting opportunities that they simply missed.
- Having physical, bulky posts that were Division I tested. Georgia is accustomed to facing teams with weak, passive frontcourts that are very perimeter oriented. Georgia faced a more physical test in the form of Marcus Hopper and Ethan Mackey. Hopper and Mackey tested the Georgia frontcourt and did not make anything easy for them. Kessler was able to pull down eight rebounds, but was completely shut down on offense and he struggled defensively against Hopper. Hopper had attempts against the physically dominated Kessler that Gavin Ware, Angel Delgado, Cinmeon Bowers and Charles Mitchell would be able to make with greater ease and efficiency. Maten, Ogbeide and Edwards fared better by blocking shots and discouraging activity in the paint.
- Giving Georgia a sloppy and tough game. Armstrong State did not passively sit there and play a weak 2-3 zone like the way Palm Beach Atlantic did against Florida. Armstrong State was playing a tough Man-to-Man defense and did so with pride. It forced the offense to run their sets correctly and tested the team’s chemistry on the offensive end. Georgia committed 22 turnovers, some were due to Armstrong State, but a good number were self-inflicted wounds. Georgia only forced 12 turnovers in this one.
Armstrong State did not help UGA by:
- Armstrong State did not press at all. No token pressure, no traps, nothing. Some of it had to do with their own awful shooting, but most of it was by design. Georgia was not being pressed and Armstrong State made no effort to play aggressive full court defense. Armstrong State was focused on the action within 25 feet of the basket. This is not adequate preparation for Seton Hall and Chattanooga. Georgia was able to have 25-26 seconds on the shot clock to run through a set, this is completely unrealistic.
- Armstrong State was content to play a slower pace. The pace was artificially faster, but Armstrong State was not making efforts to run up and down the floor by using the secondary break. Armstrong State’s slower pace did play into Georgia’s game plan on defense, but it did not help the team going forward.
- No practice against zone defense. Many teams will play zone to avoid racking up the fouls. Zone press + half court zone will be very common.
This game was sloppy on both sides, so sloppy that Georgia had more rebounds than points. Georgia pulled down 60 rebounds and scored 59 points. Derek Ogbeide had ten rebounds, but only four points to his credit. Houston Kessler had eight rebounds, but only one point. It was an odd basketball game that resembled a Middle School game where at times nobody could make the easiest of shots.
Fox Unveils Some New Looks
The “Back Ball Screen” looks like a back screen as a ball screen, but it is just a different way to set the ball screen so that both parties are blind to the collision. Georgia has had so many moving ball screens in the past with Marcus Thornton and Nemi Djurisic that Georgia is trying a different approach by doing a literal backscreen and it may end up becoming a part of the “chin” look during the regular season. Derek Ogbeide and Mike Edwards experienced some awkwardness with this new screening look.
The obvious intention is to enable Ogbeide or Edwards the ability to screen and roll straight forward to the basket. It also forces a help switch in the Man-to-Man. In this situation, Will Jackson was able to drive to the hoop and get a layup.
It is an incredibly awkward screen to set as you can see.
Georgia’s 1-2-1-1 Press is not going to be confused with Shaka Smart’s 1-2-1-1 as it had some leaks in it, but it was successfully executed once and a few other times it was broken. The key thing is that it made Armstrong State play faster than they wanted to and let some Georgia defenders make athletic plays or commit fouls.
Here’s an example of a press that was easily broken by Armstrong State. Wilridge was a bit too far off and Edwards may have reached him too late, but Turtle Jackson may have taken a bit more of a matchup look than he should have. It was a perfect pass though and that is always the toughest to defend.
J.J. Frazier: Committed no turnovers, but also did not have any assists, points, minutes, steals or minutes. Yes, that’s right, Frazier was clearly benched and it was due to another facial injury, but this time sustained in practice on Thursday. Frazier will wear a mask again, whether he broke his nose is unknown. Peter Brady is on notice.
Kenny Gaines: Played only 18 minutes, looked a little bit rusty with his shooting from the field. Had 7 rebounds, but was not a significant player in the outcome here. He went 4/5 from the Free Throw line, which is his usual rate. He will be more in the groove next week, he looked like he was just getting used to things again.
Charles Mann: Was not as active of a dribble-driver tonight. Still attempted eight free throws and hit 75% of them. Can he keep that up for the rest of the season? Committed two turnovers in 17 minutes, but will need two turnovers a game in 25 minutes this season. If Mann figures out a way to read a defender in the paint, he should be fine. He gets himself stuck and the decision to pass or score becomes a decision that is made as a whim. Just create some sort of a rule of thumb and stick to it.
Juwan Parker: Still has the yips from the perimeter, it’s a mental thing. Missed a mid-range jumper on the baseline, but was able to draw a foul on his dribble drive. Parker is an effective Free Throw shooter and more needs to be done to set him up with those opportunities. He did not look defensively frazzled.
Kenny Paul Geno: Hit a three, but did not do anything to stand out tonight.
Will “Turtle” Jackson: Had a good night, played 23 minutes. He was actively involved on the offensive end, occasionally made some mistakes on defense, but overall had a good night. He led the team assists with 4 and scored nine points. His ability to attack the rim and competently shoot threes is encouraging. The offense really ran without a hitch with him manning the Point Guard position.
E’Torrion Wilridge: He was the least talked about freshman this offseason, just an afterthought and he made a very clear point tonight that this team needed him last season. Wilridge was very active in attacking the passing lanes, swatting balls and being disruptive on defense. Wilridge only had two shot attempts and the third ended up being a shot clock violation that he really could not control. Wilridge knocked down a three and had an acrobatic baseline dunk that brought back memories of Travis Leslie.
Michael Edwards: Had a very good night, but he could have had an even better night. Edwards needs to finish better and should not be afraid to choose aggression over finesse in the paint. He has some nifty moves that are much like what a Small Forward would have. Edwards’ physicality will be a big question this season because he has the skills to be a significant contributor to this Georgia Basketball team. 11 points, 2 rebounds, 2 blocks and 3 for 6 from the Free Throw line are all signs that Edwards’ debut is merely a starting point against an inferior opponent. Better days are ahead, but Edwards is going to be a necessary cog on this team.
Houston Kessler: Struggled physically against Marcus Hopper tonight, let him back him down and play smaller than he is. Kessler was able to pull down eight rebounds against Armstrong State, but would have had a tougher night against bruisers that were more competent finishers at the rim. His rebounding and offensive play without the ball were good, but his overall defense and ability to finish was discouraging.
Derek Ogbeide: Has power, finesse and a little bit of ball handling skill. Ended up with a 4 point, 10 rebound night. Ogbeide was a force on both ends of the floor, but was in foul trouble due to unwise decision making on defense. One of his fouls came off a really bad turnover he had committed. Completely ran out of gas in the last 4 minutes of the game after playing only 19 minutes against a team that was not pressing.
Yante Maten: The Sophomore from Bloomfield Hills, Michigan played only 18 minutes and had 7 points, 7 rebounds with a block to his credit. Maten committed three turnovers and got most of his work done at the Free Throw line on offense. Maten had a quieter night, but it seems that he is still getting used to being “the man” in the post for Georgia. Maten will need to finish with authority, but he did take advantage of his appearances at the Free Throw Line.
Osahen Iduwe: Played five minutes tonight, but showed that he can make an offensive move and blend into the offense in some way. He committed an offensive foul when in the act of trying to score at the rim, but this is a sign of progress for a player that had a such an offensive presence where it was 4 on 5 in a half court setting.
Georgia played much faster tonight with an estimated 73.45 possessions played tonight. Georgia averaged 66.35 last season. Georgia’s tempo was rather fast against a team that was rather content to play slower. Georgia’s depth is absolutely necessary if the tempo is going to be this fast paced and if the team is going to get pressed.