Did some Georgia players quit tonight? Yeah.
Losing at 8-15 Vanderbilt (now 9-15) is unacceptable and the prospect of a Death March along with a Special Wednesday Night in St. Louis with Mark Fox does not sound too pleasing. In fact, a night doing the Pointersaurus Challenge at Pointer’s Pizza may be a better activity that Wednesday Night than going to watch the Dawgs mail it in.
But first, let’s address Jordan Harris’ situation and the inappropriate reaction to it by UGA and the base:
Jordan Harris was suspended indefinitely for reasons that are unmentioned, which has been hinted as drug-related. There are some who want to use the opportunity to impugn this young man’s character and his decision-making. They are wrong to do so. There’s a lot more than meets the eye and the innuendo does not tell the full story. If you can read between the lines as to what is happening with this young man with still a very bright future, you would recognize that this is not black-and-white and this delves into shades of gray. Don’t make judgments here.
What happened tonight?
The team quit. The defensive effort was horrifying, the team tried to play too slowly and Mark Fox has truly failed at teaching the 2-3 Matchup Zone this season. Georgia’s help defense in Man-to-Man is horrible and the inability to handle the dribble drive results in the guards go under screens and setting up open shots. Georgia does not do anything to scare opponents, this is a soft team with a vanilla style of play.
- Georgia ran the same two sets for most of the night.
- The offense was too centered on forcing the ball into Maten.
- The offense was too deliberate.
- The most success came when the guards were attacking the basket or off screen and roll.
- The defense did not make Vanderbilt do anything in reaction.
- Nobody played with toughness.
It’s the same recipe. Mark Fox’s team resembles Jeff Lebo’s final team at Auburn, Johnny Jones’ final team at LSU, John Brady’s final team at LSU, Dennis Felton’s final team at Georgia, John Pelphrey’s final team at Arkansas, and Darrin Horn’s final team at South Carolina.
This is a team that really should not have offensive struggles and defensively could be a lot better than this. Everyone on the staff is to blame for this. Everyone, including Jonas Hayes. This is a collective failure.
Jonas Hayes is to blame for:
- The lack of aggression on the part of the posts.
- The inconsistent rebounding effort.
- Not lobbying for Isaac Kante to get minutes.
- The aborted development of Mike Edwards.
Philip Pearson is to blame for:
- Not standing up to Mark Fox when it comes to the offense.
- Installing 1/7 of Mark Gottfried’s offense and letting it become a micromanaged mess.
- Not having a plan or not sticking to a plan when it came to recruiting guards. It’s a hodge-podge and Pearson bears responsibility.
David Carter is to blame for:
- Being a yes-man for Mark Fox.
- Letting Mark Fox double down on the same approach.
Mark Fox is to blame for:
- Robbing E’Torrion Wilridge of his confidence.
- Misdiagnosing Tyree Crump’s abilities.
- Poor salesmanship of the program. Fox evidently cared more about the Football Team than his own team.
- Making Turtle Jackson timid.
- Not letting Teshaun Hightower guard aggressively like he knows to do.
- Running an offense that is predictable in timing and decisions.
- Micromanaging the team.
- Letting J.J. Frazier play hero ball at the expense of the development of his younger talent last season.
- Not playing a style of play that fits his roster and giving opponents something to fear.
- Letting Greg McGarity and Michael Adams’ prejudices dictate his recruiting decisions early in his tenure.
- Annually repeating the same mistakes despite better talent on the roster.
- Letting Yante Maten’s SEC Player of Year Season go to waste just like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s in 2012-13.
- Playing Juwan Parker with a torn Achilles against Arkansas in the 2015 SEC Tournament when the NCAA Tournament spot was locked up for the Dawgs.
- Letting a flu-ridden Teshaun Hightower travel with the team and sit on the bench.
Mark Fox as Athletic Director would have made a lot of sense, but his decision to put his team at risk like the way he did with Teshaun Hightower was completely irresponsible. UGA can do better than the 1950’s Country Club Athletic Director Greg McGarity and can do better than someone who fails to understand the dangers of this flu epidemic. Even if he was lying about it to cover for something else, it is terrible. Come up with a better lie, something that is not as life-endangering. This disqualifies Mark Fox from being Athletic Director at UGA, the welfare of the student-athletes always comes first. Flu-ridden student-athletes are quarantined and treated, not put on planes (confined spaces) with their teammates and not sitting on the bench yukking it up with their teammates.
In fact, this irresponsible and potentially dangerous decision (or even lying about it which still reflects upon his decision-making) should result in the immediate firing of Mark Fox or the immediate tendering of his resignation. Many people want Jonas Hayes to be the interim coach and remain on the staff with a new Head Coach next season. However, there should be a clean, fresh start for the Georgia Basketball Program. A new day in Athens with individuals who are strong enough to stand up for what is right and are more careful in what they say. It’s painful to say this because Jonas Hayes has been a brilliant representative for UGA. Who knows? Maybe Jonas Hayes has some things to say about it to give reason that he was opposed to the poor decision-making and he did not have a venue. It certainly is not reflective upon Hayes if Fox lied, he cannot control what Fox informs the media.
Let’s just be clear: Mark Fox was not trying to intentionally harm anyone. If he told the truth about the flu, then he did something ridiculous. If he lied about the flu, it’s a reflection upon his judgment as well. It’s not like Mark Fox is a bad person, he made a dumb decision and it gives the UGAA an out.
The student-athletes deserve better than someone who put their health at risk and a staff too cowardly, impotent or incompetent to call it out. If it is a lie, it’s a reckless lie that reflects poor judgment and requires someone of better judgment at the helm.
Mark Fox may have McElwained himself.
It’s a total unforced error.
Here’s the stupid boxscore. Whatever.
It’s time for a New Day across the board. We need new leadership (Adminstration), new checks and balances (Athletic Board) and a new Men’s Basketball Coach. People who will stand up for what is right and not be afraid to do so.
The board didn’t “press the point” b/c we received ticket price info on paper exactly 5 minutes before we voted. We had been told some of the information verbally, but we did not insist on an opportunity to vet it through the finance committee. I wish we had. https://t.co/38sj3KAaPR
— Janet Frick (@jfrickuga) February 7, 2018
Nobody wants it to be like this. This is a sad article. It’s time for a #NewDayUGA.
(Updated point: It all could have been cut-and-dry, just say “no comment” to the press when guys are not on the bench or are DNP’d. He could just leave a flu-ridden player back in a quarantined dorm. Now we know that he would travel a guy on the plane with the flu or did do it. Either way Fox loses. Many schools have complete hush orders when it comes to the health of players, they say nothing. Why say anything? And I have to get up in 4 hours after punching this in on my phone… )