This is the antepenultimate Interrogation Article of the 2017-18 Season.
You had questions and comments that were coherent and logical, here are the answers and responses that are of the same quality. The next Interrogation Article will have a more fluid timing due to the various possibilities surrounding Georgia Basketball in mid-to-late March. The last Interrogation Article before Fall Practice will be after the Spring Signing Class is complete and that could be in April or May. Georgia Basketball Blog will go into Summer mode, which is going to mean that articles keep coming out, but they will be special feature quality and the frequency is reduced.
Alright, onto the questions…
Question 1: Jordan Harris’ Absence and ESPNU
“I didn’t watch the game because I don’t have that cable package with ESPNU. I listened to the game and they haven’t played this poorly straight out the gate all season. They usually play poorly during certain stretches of the game but not all game from start to finish. I wonder how much of this has to do with Jordan Harris’ suspension? I thought the Florida win would give them momentum to finish the season strongly. They played very confidently in that game. I guess that I wanted them to win so much that I expected too much from this team. I’m not giving up on the team hopefully they will show up in Nashville.”
Let’s address the first sentence, ESPNU is a linear channel offering that is simply floundering out there. This is going to be a bit of riff…
Let’s just consider that ESPN has lost most of the Big Ten rights and they are creating that ACC Network, which means ESPNU is just a Big XII and American Conference overflow channel. With the move from linear to non-linear, ESPNU may be a thing of the past sooner rather than later. Don’t be surprised if the games that would have previously been on ESPNU end up on ESPN+ or in the case of the ACC, on the ACC Network. ESPN is not the ideal partner for the ACC and they were not the right partner for the SEC either. The ACC’s ideal partner was CBS. The SEC and Big XII’s ideal partner was actually Fox. ESPN’s ideal partners are the Big Ten and Pac-12. Everyone ended up with the relationships that fit them worst based on footprint, culture and ability to present the conferences.
Now onto Georgia-related matters… This comment was in response to the Mississippi State game and the team certainly played with little spirit, but Mark Fox’s approach was poor as well. Usually in Starkville, UGA plays with more resilience and there was none in that game. Jordan Harris’ suspension could have in the short term had a role, but the team would go to Nashville and completely give up. The motivation going forward was about the Seniors rather than Mark Fox. This is a team that went from single digit NCAA Tournament seed to likely firing Mark Fox at the end of the season and the realization in February that their coach is a lame duck.
Question 2: Greg McGarity likes to copy-and-paste.
ESPNU was showing wrestling. By the time they switched to basketball we were already essentially beat. No energy. Poorly coached. The Georgia way.
I sent McGarity a note last week that I wouldn’t be renewing unless changes are made. He said “thanks for your interest”.
More fun talk about ESPNU, their programming is so scattershot and unfocused. Spend some time with the programming groups at a sports network and prepare to be befuddled by the scheduling decisions.
You e-mailed McGarity, that’s a massive waste of time. Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V are his go-tos. Probably not, he’s over 65 so he probably highlights and then right-clicks copy and then right-clicks paste if he’s going to do that.
Question 3: So much bad information in one paragraph, it was broken down piece-by-piece.
“I sense some issues on this team.”
Your spidey-senses are correct, there are issues with the Georgia Basketball Program. Do go on.
“I can’t understand why Diatta has been sitting on the bench all year after the way he shot the ball against Miss St. He alone with Claxton were the only ones who showed that they wanted to play.”
Pape Diatta has been injured for much of the season, he was in crutches and recovering from a bad ankle sprain. He missed almost all of Fall Practice and he did not play because he could not play.
Is it a matter of want to? It’s a matter of having your spirits crushed by your coach, being poorly motivated and having a playing style that is restrictive. You either want to give up or rebel.
“I like Edwards but why was he in game when he’s not that good on offense and no one plays any defense.”
Then what do you like about Edwards then? Edwards’ development was a complete botch outside of Free Throw shooting. The team plays defense, but it is inconsistent.
“I guess Hightower is now in the doghouse and I guess Harris didn’t want to go back in there.”
Hightower had the flu and traveled with the team. Harris was indefinitely suspended, missed the memo?
“Our big men need to quit taking the ball to the hold soft and start dunking it. Yante missed two layups when he should have jammed it home.”
Yes, there is far too much finessing going on at the rim. No question about it. The worry is that they took away Isaac Kante’s ultra-physicality and aggression. This falls on Jonas Hayes, he’s responsible for developing the frontcourt guys and seeing Derek Ogbeide play with more finesse rather than ruthless aggression at times this season was sad.
“This is not a tournament team unless you are talking about the NIT or the CBI. The last tournament of any kind won by UGA was that SEC tournament when there was a tornado and Dennis Felton was the coach.”
UGA is not exactly known for winning tournaments anyway, in fact in UGA Men’s Basketball History, they are very rare events. UGA is all-in on Football and went through some rough SEC Championship droughts in that sport. It took 12 years to get an SEC Championship back to Athens in Football until Georgia whipped Auburn at the magnificent Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Let that sink in.
It’s been so long they’ve made a 30 for 30 off of it. Think about that?
It was an SEC Storied, not a 30 for 30 and they did not even focus on the Georgia aspect until the second half. It was an okay documentary, but the whole thing with the tornado victim who lost his wife and had property destroyed tying his recovery process to the Georgia Basketball Team’s efforts was awkward and scripted. The guy is never going to get his wife back and his property was destroyed. Did he really care about a Georgia Basketball Team that was absolutely awful before the SEC Tournament? No.
Question 4: Mark Fox, Ball Screens and Ogbeide is not Dirk Nowitzki
“Why doesn’t this college team know how to defend ball screens? Really high school players can do that so I guess high school coaches are better than fox and his assts? Has anyone noticed how the Georgia players always look at the bench anytime they make a mistake? They are scared to death no wonder they can’t play. Why is 34 at the top of the key on offense— what can he do out there? Hightower misses the whole goal is he going to be taken out? Georgia’s defense stinks they couldn’t stop anything. Got to stop them and got to score. Two things Georgia can’t do”
It is a mystery why the backcourt guys go under ball screens, everyone is doing it. It must be something that they are instructed to do. Mark Fox is very sensitive about getting his frontcourt in foul trouble and the dribble drive has eaten Mark Fox coached teams alive. It’s a very conservative approach that is taking the bet that they will miss a three point shot and secure a rebound on a ball screen.
They make plenty of mistakes. The problem is not about mistakes and yanking guys out. The problem is that Mark Fox is a micromanager who treats his team like they are a mid-major with very little margin for error. Mark Fox really believes that his team lacks talent and it shows with his approach.
Ogbeide at the top of the key for the 5 to 4 pass makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.
Georgia’s defense is in the upper decile in terms of adjusted defensive efficiency per KenPom, but it is a very conservative defense that leaves little room for error. Ever watch North Korea’s soccer team? It’s very similar to Mark Fox’s approach.
Question 5: Being the Last Bastion of Sanity in this Georgia Basketball World
“This blog is the only thing I enjoy about Georgia basketball at this point. Thank you for offering an intelligent voice in the empty wilderness of UGA basketball commentary.”
Thank you! As much as this is appreciated, the bar is pretty low. To be quite honest, it is odd that this program gets coverage by traditional media in the first place.
- There’s no organic demand for the sport.
- Basketball doesn’t generate page views, which means that media are wasting their time.
- Men’s Basketball does not matter to those in power.
Softball, Soccer and Baseball do not get coverage, why not just extend the blackout? Nobody will notice and not bringing attention to the blackout would result in zero controversy. Honestly, the sports beat for Georgia Athletics should strictly be Football from a pure profit perspective. Wait 10-20 years for a generational shift and then opt to cover Men’s Basketball again, but by then the atmosphere will have changed so drastically that College Athletics will not be what it is now.
Question 6: Hero Ball and Poor Footwork
“I can’t argue that leaning on JJ last year stunted the development of this team but our guys look awfully slow across the board against anybody’s guards. Can’t a coach develop some quickness in a team through the strength and conditioning program.? Surely Fox will resign at season’s end even if they miraculously win a few. Go back and check the records of the teams we beat in November and December. That’s more evidence of a change is needed.”
Hero Ball destroyed the Recruiting Class of 2015 and the poor development of Tyree Crump and Jordan Harris has manifested itself this season.
That’s a matter of game planning and poor lateral footwork. That’s coaching. The guys are actually fast in terms of straight-line speed, but with the exception of Teshaun Hightower there’s a lack of lateral quickness. Perimeter defense has been a bugaboo for Georgia Basketball for a while. J.J. Frazier, as great of a career he had at Georgia, he was a defensive liability at times – not because of his size, but because he would try to do too much and he’d blow off his assignments.
The records of the teams in November and December have nothing to do with Georgia’s lack of success. Everything that is wrong with Georgia Basketball is self-inflicted and not all of it can be solved just by changing coaches alone.
Question 7: The past 20 years of Sadketball at UGA
“I agree with you on Mark Fox, He is a huge fraud and our AD is incompetent, your way off base about Harrick, his last team was in the hunt to win it all. People loved him because he was amazing coach, very approachable open practice to the public. I’m sure Bruce pearl is loved by Auburn Fans and four months ago he was about to get caned. Dennis Felton was a great recruiter but awful coach and just came at a bad time but Mark fox makes no effort to promote Uga men’s basketball and he is a little arrogant to suck as bad as he sucks.”
Fox should be fired. McGarity is a puppet of corrupt political players. Right on! Fox has rendered himself a cheerleader for the Football Team and a glorified babysitter for the Men’s Basketball Team.
Jim Harrick sexually harassed a secretary at Rhode Island, he should not have been hired. He also falsified expense reports at UCLA. Dooley had it right with Mike Brey, but former UGA President/Kleptocrat Michael Adams made the call.
Harrick was a rather awful recruiter on the High School level and he had to recruit transfers to Georgia. It’s why Harrick was able to have immediate success. Harrick was a short-lived Fred Hoiberg, but his model of success was simply unsustainable.
The last time Georgia was in the hunt to win it all was 1983. That 2002-03 team was not going to win it all. His team was always flirting with disaster due to disastrous depth issues. One injury could take down the entire team and his tight rotations were not by design, they were because he had no other options. Harrick could not recruit.
19-8 teams are not National Title contenders, they are #4 or #5 seeds that likely get bounced in the Second Round. Harrick is worshipped because (1) the base does not know any better and (2) because The Powers That Be have ensured that the best memories have an asterisk next to them. Hindsight and being deprived of success creates a weird revisionist history.
On Bruce Pearl:
Should Bruce Pearl be hated? Not really. The success of Auburn Basketball helps Georgia’s resume. Auburn is going to likely turn a new page and Georgia needs to hire Nate Oats before Auburn does. Their new Athletic Director came over from Buffalo and Oats is the current Head Coach at Buffalo.
Should Bruce Pearl be caned? This is not Singapore. We’re still in the United States where the 8th Amendment of the Constitution still applies, at least we all should hope!
On Dennis Felton:
Dennis Felton’s biggest failing was similar to Mark Fox’s. Felton recruited better than Fox in the backcourt, technically it was Mike Jones doing all the work.
Felton would have kept his job, if he was able to do the following:
- Adjust to his talent. His rigid adherence to 4-out, 1-in motion offense was ridiculous.
- Used both his 1-3-1 Zone Defense with a Pack Line Defense.
- Played with same full court pressure he used when he was at Western Kentucky.
Remember, Felton had Mike Mercer, Billy Humphrey, Sundiata Gaines, Levi Stukes (the greatest shooter in the History of UGA Basketball and owner of the most unique Twitter accounts out there) and dropped the ball on keeping Channing Toney in the fold.
Question 8: Pat Kelsey
“What was your turning point with Kelsey? The loss to Fox earlier this year?
One point not mentioned in this article, though I know you’ve thought about, who trusts mcgarity to make this hire?”
Nobody really trusts Greg McGarity to do anything other than fulfill the wishes of the activist owners, the oligopolists.
The loss of faith in Pat Kelsey has nothing to do with his willingness to be political and it has nothing to do with his decision to back out on UMass. Pat Kelsey did something that Will Wade did at VCU and it messed with his team (it also messed with VCU too). When your team has an identity, you play to the identity. Kelsey is both a Skip Prosser and Chris Mack protege, which is great, but when considering how his Winthrop team got to the point they were in last season and then not having the faith to play his style of play in the NCAA Tournament, it was discouraging to watch. When Winthrop played Butler, they looked like a shell of themselves, they were pretending to be a team that they clearly were not. Kelsey’s team pressed a lot last season, but did not press Butler and their lack of aggression carried over into everything else.
Consider that UNC-Wilmington pressed Virginia all game long and made it a miserable game for the Hoos in the NCAA Tournament. Kevin Keatts brought his style of play to the NCAA Tournament, he was not going to be intimidated by the opposition. UVA had a very strong backcourt with London Perrantes, Marial Shayok, Kyle Guy and Devon Hall. Keatts did not care, he brought his style of play and forced Virginia to play his way.
Kelsey did not do that and it was a very disappointing effort. Winthrop presses less this season, which makes little sense given their roster composition, but it may help explain why they took a step backward in the Big South.
Question 9: Oats and Dooley
“Okay, going through the list, I pick Oats or Dooley. Oats since I’d like to see some excitement on the team and he should know the southeast for recruiting. And Dooley because I could recycle some of my gear from my college days.”
“True, but there is a new AD now. Question: Was Jacobs dirty or was Jacobs only following the blue print given to him by others. with the historical data, I agree that if Jacobs was still at the helm that Aub would find a way to keep Pearl, but I’m not ready to rush to that judgment on Greene yet. I guess we’ll see. Considering Greene and if he fires Pearl, curious as to how much of a look he may give Oats.
With all of the dominos referenced, especially with Seton Hall, Oats is looking more and more good to me.”
Then you would definitely appreciate the features on Dooley and Oats. With Oats, students could have Wilford Brimley Night! Everyone dresses up like Wilford Brimley, even Hairy Dawg gets in on the act. Fun Basketball, fun atmosphere… Nate Oats for Head Coach.
Question 10: Andy Kennedy’s Future
“Kennedy sounded like a man thinking, “Thank God” during that press conference. TV or another coaching job for him next season???”
Andy Kennedy is going to coach next season. Cannot picture him doing TV. Unless the idea is to replace Seth Greenberg on College Gameday so that Randy Kennedy becomes a weekly thing, but that may run stale with too much exposure. Kennedy would be a good fit at a few High Major schools. Southern Mississippi could work for him, but he may be more inclined to take a position like East Carolina due to the inherent job security.
Question 11: Interrogations don’t usually involve product plugs.
“I feel like we are going to need a lot of these “do not hire” articles sent directly to McGarity, along with some intense prayers, to keep ADGM from s****ing his pants with this hire.”
If you have made it this far, congratulations! McGarity may not need stress to trigger incontinent episodes. This segment has been sponsored by Depend.
Okay, it hasn’t.
Question 12: If you thought the Tampa accent sounded like nails on a chalkboard…
“And yeah, that shrieking was obnoxious. I only watched the last 10 minutes and overtime (you’re welcome), and it was driving me crazy. Can you imagine trying to call a game with that going on?”
It is a tad mean, but the Tampa accent goes up there as one of the more painful accents to hear. The most well-known person with a Tampa accent is Erin Andrews, it’s rough. Roughly, 1 in 5 of the Rowdy Reptiles have an accent that is not exactly pleasing (New York and Tampa), which means that the rest sound relatively fine.
The shrieking sounded like someone did something horrible and that the area needed to be cleared out. It was bad. Turns out the emergency situation was that Florida was going to lose to Georgia at the O’Connell Center for the first time since 2002. May all of our lives be so charmed that a sound like that be reserved for a sporting event only.
Question 13: Let’s! Play! Hockey!
“Was there a hockey rink under that court?”
If you know what reference was just made, put it in the comments. No, they do not play Hockey at Exactech Arena. They probably do not do Disney on Ice there either.
Some people do not like Stegeman Coliseum and want a new Downtown Arena to replace the Classic Center. This is only a good idea if Georgia has an NCAA Hockey Team. Volleyball, Women’s Gymnastics and Women’s Basketball can be played at Stegeman Coliseum. The new arena would be for Men’s Basketball, Men’s Hockey and Women’s Hockey.
Women’s Soccer should be played at Sanford Stadium, it would create a cool backdrop for games as opposed to the status quo and it would result greater attendance.
Question 14: That’s the spirit!
“I read this while drinking tequila at COA.”
The core audience for this publication likes hard liquor, recognizes that it is very difficult to be productive on a plane and wants UGA to win at everything.
Monterrey in The Vista is pretty good, but it’s a bit of a dive.
Question 15: Collin Sexton Talk and Mark Fox’s Problems
“As badly as we need a PG, there’s only so much he could have done in his one year before heading to the NBA…see Sexton at Alabama. We had KCP for 2 seasons and didn’t finish with a winning record in either season. ..another Mark Fox point of pride!”
You mean Collin “My team plays better when I’m sitting out for the game” Sexton? It’s amazing, Alabama is a First Round SEC Tournament loss away from missing the NCAA Tournament. There’s no way anyone could put them in the NCAA Tournament if they lose a second game in a row to Texas A&M. Avery Johnson is Anthony Grant 2.0.
Mark Fox is a Hero Ball coach who is not very good at evaluating talent and it shows. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten were the designated heroes and what happened? No NCAA Tournament appearances.
Question 16: Ashton Hagans making a difference?
“Heck with Tech do you think Hagans would be a difference maker for Fox? A great point guard especially a pass first point guard who can score too tends to make guys work harder to get open knowing that they will get opportunities to score.”
No. Absolutely not. Plus, Hagans is probably not going to reclassify at this time so it makes no difference. Guards really have not developed well at Georgia and given what the offensive and defensive philosophies are it is just going to be a redux of the past two seasons. Talent makes no difference at Georgia, there is a ceiling for Fox. Fox could have North Carolina’s roster and have an NIT team.
Fox’s best performing team was comprised of guys he did not recruit, he did best with Felton’s recruits. If you were at the 2011 NCAA Tournament Game in Charlotte, you saw Georgia at its peak during the Fox era.
It’s not about recruiting at Georgia. That’s not the problem. It’s also not about filling spots and not being strong at particular positions. Fox’s developmental capabilities, style of play and destruction of the confidence of his young men are the biggest problems. He wrecked his Recruiting of Classes of 2015 and 2016. You want to put a potential NBA player in that system at the school in which Football has the greatest primacy? There’s much to overcome and Mark Fox cannot do it with talent alone, a lot of changes are necessary to get where Georgia needs to be.
Look at Cameron Forte, he was a supporting cast player at Georgia and he was a graduate transfer to Portland State. He’s forever a Dawg.
This is the 2015-16 Georgia Team on a per 100 possessions basis…
We miss you Cam!
Question 17: More Tyree Crump questions. It just won’t stop until he and Jordan transfer to Ole Miss.
“Once again resorted to his old ways, play everyone doesn’t matter that we are in a must win situation. Crump is a shooter and should be out there most or all of the time . This Coach doesn’t have a clue about who should be playing and who should sit the bench. His rotations and subs tonight were horrible, does he over think what needs to be done. If something is working let it be but he can’t. The rotation of the 8 players in the previous game worked so why change?
But when the team is down in the last seconds of the game and they need a basket who does he call on—–Crump. So if he knows he is a shooter why isn’t he playing more minutes. He is the only player besides Maten who can create his shot consistently. Another thing that bothers me is when they throw the ball inside and there isn’t a good shot Yet they don’t throw the ball back out to the guards they just take a bad shot. Don’t they teach the big men if your shot isn’t there—get it back out , I mean you see the other SEC teams do this, it just blows my mind how bad the offense can be”
Look, telling Tyree Crump he is only a shooter is the dumbest thing you can do with him. He’s a complete guard, he’s not a shooter. Having Crump attempt 4 out of 5 in conference play from three point range is simply dumb, 3 out of 4 shots he attempted this season were from three point range. Nobody does that. Crump has allowed himself to be typecast. Tyree Crump became Sherrard Brantley 2.0 and he let the staff do that to him.
He’s a 35.1% three point shooter this season. He was a 32.8% three point shooter last season. It’s very obvious that his Senior Year of High School was an aberration and his shooting is reflective of the rest of his time in High School. He’s a streaky shooter, but to make him a shooter only is terrible development and the staff bear the blame for not convincing him that he can do more.
Crump’s defense has been inconsistent at best on a team that is decent defensively within an extremely conservative defense. Crump has shown at times that he can dribble penetrate and set up his teammates very well. However, he has been pigeon-holed and if Mark Fox is the coach next season, he needs to transfer immediately. He probably would not be alone in the exodus.
Crump is capable of a lot of things and there are many people who want to force him to specialize at doing only one thing. They are destroying him.
Crump is not really creating his own shots. If you’re creating your own 26-27 footers while a defender is happy to let you release it from there in a fashion that is completely out of rhythm, that’s bad shot selection. The offense is not designed to allow for any sort of freedom. He’s poorly coached.
You do know that this site has nothing to do with the University of Georgia Athletic Association right?
Question #18: The 12 Year Plan Lives to See Another Year?
“I still think Fox has another year.
What you say HWT?”
Wouldn’t put it past The Powers That Be, but they have to extend him by two years. If they do not extend him, he’s going to not only have an exodus on his roster, but he’ll also be radioactive on the recruiting trail because he may not be recruits’ coach. Greg McGarity’s contract goes up in June 2019. McGarity, if he wants to punt on the decision, could just give him a two or three year extension and let the problem fall into the hands of the next puppet.
Question #19: More about Ashton Hagans.
“Nice work on all of these potential candidates, HWT. I’m pretty ignorant about the intricacies of basketball, I just look at the W-L records. But I recognize there’s much more to it than that.
I like Dooley simply because I want to cheer for Dooley’s Dawgs once again. If they play a fast, exciting game, all the better.
Unfortunately, I agree with Slick Willy. I think McGoofity will keep Fox due to all the uncertainty around the FBI probe. If so, it will be interesting (and sad) to see how Fox shackles Hagans if he comes.”
If Fox sticks around, if I were Jonas Hayes, I’d know that I have a pretty high market value and go elsewhere. No one could blame Hayes for jumping in that case, there’s only just so much of this a man could take. Plus, he’ll have a better career trajectory and may end up being the Head Coach in March 2020.
Ashton Hagans would benefit from not playing for Mark Fox. In fact, Hagans could probably be eligible for the NBA Draft sooner rather than later, he’ll be 19 in July. If anything, he could play overseas for a year and make at least $500,000 and then get drafted by the Orlando Magic.
Question #20: Are you having issues placing comments on your mobile?
“Just testing a comment from my pc. HwT, I’ve had trouble posting from mobile devices just in case you weren’t aware of an issue.
Thanks and keep up the good work.”
I tested a comment on my mobile just fine. So for other users, any issues posting on your mobile or tablet?