The Interrogation: January 31 Edition or is it Clapbackmania?

You had questions or comments… here are the answers.

It’s Interrogation Time!  The next edition of this article will be out on March 4, the day after Georgia’s last game of the regular season.  On with the best of your questions and comments.

Question 1:  We go all the way back to the loss at Kentucky

“I disagree with your assessment. While the turnovers in second half were bad, overall we played well, on the road, and our big fellas snatched down a lot of rebounds. Outside shots didn’t fall. But, we are better and Coack Fox is doing a good job IMO.”

You IMO’d, that’s so lame.  Look, you either make an argument or you don’t.  Saying “I think”, “IMO”, “JMHO” or something related is diminishing your argument before a rebuttal could ever be made.

The typo was funny.

The team did not play well at Kentucky.  There was no composure handling the ball and no desire to attack when their bigs were off the floor with foul trouble.  Kentucky outrebounded Georgia without P.J. Washington and Nick Richards on the floor for much of the game.  The offensive rebounding win rate was good, but the defensive rebounding win rate was atrocious.

The winning team is the team that is more aggressive, Kentucky was more willing to get themselves to the Free Throw Line and score at the rim.

This was an unacceptable performance because good teams take advantage of opportunities.

Question 2:  Going back to the Alabama Game

“Good points. We beat a short-handed team the way we should. I agree with you about more read and react on offense. It seems like we’re doing a little more, but we need to keep adding to it.”

This team would benefit from more read-and-react on offense, no question.  The problem is that takes control out of the hands of Mark Fox.  In the Cross Screen with the Staggered Downscreen Sequence to free up a shooter at the top of the key (typically the 2 guard, sometimes it is the 3), the shot is not always fired.  Juwan Parker has broken the set to drive toward the basket and take a more comfortable 10 footer and so has Rayshaun Hammonds.  Sets need to be viewed as an initial structure rather than a rigid flow of events.  Taking away the ability to read and react results in the woes that Georgia experiences on a regular basis.

When the same two sets are run and the defense becomes well-acquainted with what they are going to see, it is very easy to defend.  The best offense the team has run has been simple ball screen and rolls with the threat of the dribble drive, which says a lot about this offense.

This roster is capable of being one of the best offensive teams in the country, but the two offensive sequences are horrible and the coaches are either typecasting their players or letting the players typecast themselves.

Question 3:  Georgia Basketball Blog is Accused of Being Like Fox News

“I get down on Fox through the years. Sure Ingram out, had you known you would have changed your prediction. I am thankful at times we have a dedicated blog. I was a new early fan. But each topic had a negative slant to it. You reminded me of FOX news during Clinton administration. So I rarely read. We have shooters now. And players get better especially ours big men.
It was endearing to hear Antoine Walker admit he was wrong in broadcast today and make apologies
about Maten’s shooting range. Try a little crow . It is not so bad. Or create a Georgia Tech blog you will not be missed. You seem snobby enough to fit right in. See negative easy. Also try to coach a team to 20 wins (last year) with 2 shooters. A point guard that is not a point guard even though in locker room you may think that.”

Many readers think this blog comes from a fairly progressive slant (it does not, but fine have your opinions) and reading this was absolutely hilarious.  To see the Fox News comparison is rather humorous, especially their reputation for having right of center programming.  When readers are left confused as far as your political affiliation, you have done a good job.

Dazon Ingram is more important to the Alabama team than Collin Sexton.  Sexton operates on an island, Ingram impacts everything.  Ingram is that team’s energy source.  He makes a major difference in the game.

This is not the “Fire Mark Fox” Blog.  Yes, more readers come here to see what is said after a loss than a win, but Georgia Basketball is bigger than Mark Fox.  There will be other coaches to step through the tunnel.  Much of the publication is dedicated to debunking the talking points that exist because they obfuscate what happens in the games and behind the scenes.

“Create a Georgia Tech blog”… that’s like saying if you disagree with what is happening in the country, leave.  That’s not how it works.  In fact, this sort of attitude is counter to the traditions of the University of Georgia.

UGA has a rich history in fierce debate and disagreement.  UGA students and alumni come from various backgrounds and hold plenty of divergent views.  Conformity really is not in the spirit of the First State Chartered Public University in the United States.  It is reflected in our debate societies, political groups, student-interest groups, and commitment to Free Speech.  The City of Athens caught the bug of non-conformity too.

You’re reading something else.  Nobody is preventing you from doing that.  Congratulations!  You do not live in a repressed regime.

Question 4:  The Georgia Basketball Experience

“Like many, I’ve got a collection of friends that I tailgate with for fb games and grp text back and forth about fb. getting or keeping the interest for bb has never been easy. hope that the other circles have a greater likelihood of interest…..cause unfortunately mine doesn’t….so as good as above sounds, I question the ability to step out of the stereotype of just being a fan base only interested in fb and making above a reality.”

It’s a challenge with weekdays, but weekends are really open for some.  In some cases, it is a matter of choosing priorities based on expenses and even time.  UGA really has done a poor job selling the base on the idea that going to a College Basketball game is a social event.

Juxtaposing the SEC Football game day experience with the College Basketball experience at Duke, North Carolina, Kansas or a Big East school is still night and day.  College Basketball is a more casual experience, but the attendees have stuff to do.  Tailgating really is not associated with College Basketball and the closest thing to it would be the students camping outside of arenas like it is Zucotti Park to get a slice of pizza for their troubles by the Head Basketball Coach.  The visuals from afar (by the media) typify the stereotypes of the actual college experience.

The SEC Football experience is like going to a restaurant in Cordoba or in Andalusia.  You tender to linger and the company, culture and environment make it that way.  Comparing an SEC Football game to Argentine or Southern Spain dining experience is a bit of a stretch, but it is a good enough analogy.

There needs to be a re-conditioning of what a game night is supposed to be like.  There’s definitely a case for reducing seats in Stegeman Coliseum and replacing the upper deck with luxury suites to make it a more media-friendly, recruit-friendly, corporate-friendly and attendee-friendly place to be as well.

Question 5: Waterloo Talk

“Is this Fox’s Florida game? Will Fox ever have a Florida game?”

Mark Richt’s Waterloo was not the loss to the Florida Gators in 2015.  He was fired because he fielded a phone call from the University of Miami Athletic Department during the bye week after Al Golden was fired.  The Powers That Be were looking for a reason to get rid of Richt and his act of disloyalty was that last straw.

There was a lot of patience for Mark Richt, but the blowout against Alabama followed by that action before the Florida game spelled the end.  Richt winning or losing against Florida did not matter, The Powers That Be wanted him G-O-N-E.

Consider this, why did The Powers That Be want Kirby Smart over Greg McGarity’s preference of Dan Mullen?  Could it be that Kirby Smart went to Georgia and they would not have to worry about a coach’s loyalty like that again?  Kirby Smart never was a Head Coach and he was getting on the big stage rather quickly, but he was not a flight risk and he was not going to take a call of that nature during the week before the Florida game.

Question 6:  Pace of Play and What’s Going on with Wilridge and Edwards

“I was so relieved to see us play more uptempo after the halftime break. the faster pace allows us to see the skillsets of other players like Teshaun and Jordan Harris. With our strong defense we should be able to get out more. It will be interesting to see what fox does when he has both Ashton Hagans and Hightower in the backcourt together. With their defense and athleticism that should be really exciting. And they both have the confidence and should have the green light to push it and break set regardless of what Fox calls. Once Maten graduates and the talent for UGA shifts to the backcourt, Fox will have no choice but to speed it up. And perhaps that’s what he is waiting on.

Also, I dont know why Edwards and Wildridge arent further along at this point in their careers. It seems like you have to have superior confidence to thrive under Foxx i.e. jj frazier otherwise he can really stifle a player on offense. He really muzzled JJ early in his career until he had no choice. Because of his heart JJ Frazier was going to be a star regardless. but hey im not in practice everyday, so I’m not sure what he is seeing.”

As far as the pace of play, it is what it is.  Mark Fox is not an up-tempo coach.  Even when Fox had an extremely limited frontcourt prior to Jonas Hayes’ arrival, the pace was slow.  Expecting the team to speed up is unrealistic.

Edwards’ development is tricky to figure out, but he is not geared for playing at a school like Georgia.  Edwards could have been molded into a Combo Forward and it seems like the effort was just aborted and he is now a Power Forward/Center who does not have much of an identity out there.  Fox and Jonas Hayes really have not figured out a way to get the most out of him and still do not know what he is and can be.  It’s rather confusing and it all goes back to vision, there really is no vision for Edwards.  How could a guy who has shown the ability to dribble drive from the perimeter at 6’9″ 235 pounds with a spin move included, but yet is too inconsistent of a shooter or pass-catcher make any real headway?  So many questions, too little answers.  Edwards’ development was like a bad home flip, they flipped part of the home and then gave up and sold it to another flipper to recoup losses.

Wilridge is the sadder story.  E’Torrion Wilridge had a lot of potential coming in from Beaumont, Texas.  Wilridge needed a few things coming into UGA and he really did not get to live up to his potential.  He was expected to be like Dominique Archie and it did not work out like that at all.

Wilridge needed:

  • Confidence:  He was coming off an MCL injury and the staff did not psychologically get him into the groove of being the aggressive player that he was in High School and AAU action.  De’Aaron Fox and E’Torrion Wilridge are good friends and former teammates in AAU, Fox knew what Wilridge could do, but things can change.
  • Strength and Conditioning:  Wilridge after his injury really did not run correctly and he needed more strength.
  • Freedom and Playing Time
  • Improvement on his jump shot

He only got one of the four things he needed.  He’s responsible for some of this, but everything concerning E’Torrion Wilridge is about confidence.  The tatters of his confidence were left behind in the Pete Maravich Center back in 2016.

The Wilridge everyone saw against Chattanooga is not the same Wilridge everyone is familiar with now.  All of the blame lies with Mark Fox, he completely destroyed his psyche on the floor.  Wilridge’s confidence impacts his jump shot, his defense, ball handling and shot selection.  He’s talented, but he has no confidence anymore and Fox was supposed to build him back up and never did.

Question 7:  The Dribble Drive is Largely Dead

“Why is there no one on the Ga team that drives to the hoop.Why are they content (or ordered to stand around and watch until either a turnover or desperation attempt ends the misery.Recruiting doesn’t matter if the players are turned into scared statues.No wonder there are so many really good Ga high school products on other teams.I would wager some of the current Ga players on the UGA team would play better elsewhere and some of probably will.”

There are so many really good Georgia High School players on other teams because there are so many in the State of Georgia.  A lot of the credit belongs to the transplants who helped make Atlanta a basketball hotbed in the 1990s.

The offense is a major issue, it’s rigid and the sets are predictable.  The players do not understand that while Mark Fox may control their playing time, they could choose to rebel against the sets and attack the rim.  Sets are guidelines, but the situation may force the situation to change.  Charles Mann was able to dribble drive constantly and he was not pulled out, there’s precedent here.

Be like Charles Mann, attack the basket.  Draw more fouls, get shots at the rim and set up teammates along the perimeter on the weak side.

Georgia has not attacked the basket with gusto since Charles Mann graduated.  It’s a shame because every guard is capable of doing it.  Tyree Crump should be attempting at least 8 Free Throws a game, but he is the laggard of the team in FTA/FGA ratio.

Question 8:  Cuckold Talk

“Very good. In terms of British aristocracy, someone is screwing your wife and you cannot or will not do anything about it.”

Well, it is a popular thing to do in 2018.  Some dress up as Superman and others dress up as Gus Malzahn, it’s what gets them going.  It’s not for everyone.

Question 9:  Is it accepting mediocrity?

“With all the HS athletic talent in this state, and in metro Atlanta in particular, there is absolutely no excuse, NONE, for ALL our programs to be going to their NCAA tournaments, and actually advancing a bit, on the regular. While some may complain about the dominance of football, right now is the time to use the football program start to push a Kirby Effect within our own program. There have been three men’s basketball coaches who’ve had success here: Durham, Tubby and Harrick, so McGarity, it can be done! We watch schools other like Oklahoma and West Virginia, where football is dominant, have success. Why in the hell can’t we? There is no reason we can’t, other than the acceptance of mediocrity that this athletic program embraces.”

Success in Men’s Basketball is fleeting, but the support is not there.  It’s more than just winning to create a Basketball culture or a culture of anything.  However, there is an resigned, yet non-emotional acceptance that certain programs do not turn a profit, which is irksome.

There’s no Kirby Effect.  Sorry, it does not work that way.  However, you and others who are ticked off about the way things are going can do something about it!  However, we need to take the initiative and control back from those who are stuck in the past.  Success in Football does not result in success in other sports, it does not work that way.

There may be quite a bit hidden at Butts-Mehre given the obsession with doing things the right way with sports not named Football.  What could be uncovered?  Why were Michael Adams and Greg McGarity afraid of AAU during the early part of Mark Fox’s run in Athens?  It’s just Men’s Basketball, why would it matter to the apathetic general populace?  Unless, they were and still are afraid that a probable cause type of situation exists that damage the golden goose?

Question 10:  Fox may not be the one.   

I think it may be time to look elsewhere. I do not think Fox is the one. We need a B. Pearl, F. Martin etc. Fox does not utilize his talent. This slow down crap chokes the life out of this team. This is why we cannot sustain leads.
I am sick of watching this team, very frustrating. There are no adjustments, horrible guard play and an overall sense of maybe luck will win out

It has been eight and a half seasons, so McGarity and The Powers That Be:

  1. Like it this way.
  2. Really think it will take 12 Years to turn around.
  3. Are not paying attention and are busy trying to find ways to get non-alumni to pony up more dough for Football.

Question 11:  There’s a better way.

“Can we get Tarkenton interested in Georgia basketball? Maybe get the liquor magnate interested? Because that’s the only way we’re going to see a change.”

They are not magnates, they are oligopolists.  They support Fox and are even friends with him.  There’s a better solution to come in the next article, you’re going to love it.

Question 12:  Octagon of Doom

“Octagon of Doom sounds like a Chuck Norris and Indiana Jones combined movie title.”

The UFC wishes they were able to trademark it.  Arenas have quirky and sometimes cheesy nicknames.  Humphrey Coliseum is called “The Hump”, which is probably going to be changed in the future since it may trigger snowflakes who attend another school.  The lamest is Bud Walton Arena’s nickname “The Basketball Palace of Mid-America”.  Seriously lame.

Question 13:  There’s nothing to talk about on local sports radio.

“I was listening to 92.9 the Game this morning and they actually ventured off the beaten path and detoured to overgrown and not much used path called UGA basketball. They talked about UGA basketball and got a big response in callers wanting to talk Bulldog basketball. I was interested in what the callers had to say on the subject. What I noticed by most was that they were real fans but they were fans that do not watch or follow the current teams. They based their opinions off reading the headlines from articles after games. I can understand why they don’t watch the games because watching UGA men’s basketball can be tedious and frustrating. One caller talked about the overall state of UGA basketball being bad not knowing that the Lady Bulldogs are currently ranked no. 21 with an 18-2 record.”

First off, at least you were not listening to Paul Finebaum.  Congratulations on that!

Next, this crowd likes chiming in because they like to give an opinion on something.  There’s a lot of pride in ignorance out there and few mediums capture it better than local sports radio.

There are many who do not want a winning program for all non-Football sports and they do not want to be a part of fixing the culture around UGA Athletics as a whole.  They find joy in making any excuse to elevate the Football program and juxtapose it against something else at UGA to justify more funding and commitment.  To them, it’s a zero sum game.  It’s all one pie to them.

We say, “Why not make multiple pies?”

Go by the general philosophy that most people are sheep and it is a good starting out point with understanding the wisdom of the crowd.  Nobody wants to investigate and think for themselves, many do not even want to be alone with their own thoughts.  It’s why many turn to drugs and alcohol.

Question 14:  Someone has a problem with the Fox for AD concept

Georgia is not one of the highest profile Athletic Departments in the country.  It’s actually a Football Program with other sports that the school has to field in order to meet Title IX requirements and requirements of membership in the SEC so that they can play Football.  Think of it as the extra costs of fielding a prominent and culturally important Football Team.

The next problem is that your premise assumes that things are going well and that Greg McGarity has done a wonderful job.  He has not.  McGarity is told what to do by the oligopolists.  One Football Season does not mean that Greg McGarity gets backslaps and kudos.

Also,let’s add that a real estate developer who went through six bankruptcies and had numerous failed business ventures became President of the United States.   You’re making THAT argument?

Mark Fox already has made the important relationships, knows the NCAA regulations, has a passion for all sports at UGA and is committed to student-athlete academic success.  Fox is not a Public Relations disaster like Greg McGarity, which may be the most important change.  Greg McGarity almost created a Mizzou situation in Athens.  Fox can say ‘no’ to people, McGarity is a puppet.

Mark Fox with the guidance of his wife, Cindy, will certainly be an upgrade.  The objective should be to change the status quo and put it in the status quo’s wrapping paper.  That’s Mark Fox.

The general idea of qualifications in 2018 is an outdated concept.  Your qualifications can quickly become obsolete.  The NCAA and College Athletics is in the early stages of a shake up.  Vince McMahon can hasten this significantly if he’s smart enough to realize the opportunity in front of him.

Question 15:  Two related questions regarding pace of play.

Fast break points are a subjective measure.  Would a 3-on-2 be considered a fast break or would a fast break be considered capitalizing on a turnover in the backcourt when the numbers are even?  It’s a tough one to measure and the accuracy is questionable, but because you asked, the answer was searched for.

Your answer from the 18 games that the data was available:  2.94 fast break points per game.

Why don’t they get into a secondary break or fail to continue the transition?  These are the reasons:

  1. Fox tells them to slow down.
  2. Fear of committing a turnover and getting yanked for it.
  3. Not having the numbers.
  4. No clear path to a quality scoring opportunity.
  5. Depends upon who is rebounding the ball.  If it is Yante Maten, the pace will be slow.  If it is Juwan Parker or Jordan Harris, they’ll look to run.   If Rayshaun Hammonds gets a loose ball and sees even numbers or better with his hands on the ball, he’s going to take it up the floor off the dribble when he’s beyond the three point line and getting his first touch of the ball.

UGA does not press because Mark Fox is not a pressing coach.  The team pressed last season more often with a full court press and extended 1-2-2 Zone Press, but Fox does not want to speed up the game.

Mark Fox’s decision not to press with under 2 minutes down 8 is as brilliant as Mike White’s decision not to press for almost the entire game against the Dawgs last night.