The Interrogation: November 29, 2017 Edition

Readers and followers had questions, here are the answers to those questions for November 29, 2017.

Readers have asked questions in the comment section and rather than answer them in the comment section where it all gets lost or turns into a comment section spat like on YouTube or [insert dying newspaper here], it is answered here in this article.  It’s like a Mailbag, but far lazier.

Onto the questions!

Question #1

Let me get this straight. We played the #2 team in the country in front of a sellout crowd in their home state. We lost by 12 with our best guard defender and scorer out. We rebounded with them and matched up relatively evenly in all major statistical categories, and it is something to be disappointed about?

Losing by 12 is not something to be proud of in any sport.  This is a really bad moral victory and as mentioned in that Michigan State game, the team played Hero Ball.  Georgia Basketball’s success will not come through Hero Ball, it comes from the team playing like a team.

There are many paths to success, the goal is for that path success to be easily replicable.  Hero Ball is too inconsistent and easy to defend.  In fact, the Georgia Offense as a whole is very easy to defend and if it is not clear enough, dribble driving is really easy to do against this team.

So if this is satisfactory, be in for a rude awakening.  Opponents will have improved scouting reports and game plans for this team.  Georgia better not bring the same game plan into every game and Hero Ball becomes Martyr Ball.

Two of the other big problems Georgia had with Michigan State was defending the perimeter drivers and live-ball turnovers.  Just “cleaning” things up does not solve fundamental offensive issues, neither does “tighter rotations”.  Opponents are jumping the scripted passes in the sets.

Georgia’s size and frontcourt depth should have afforded them the ability to outrebound a smaller, shallower Michigan State team.  The glass was a disappointment.  Being close on the glass is usually not good enough for a team that has a smaller margin for error due to offensive/defensive philosophy.

Question #2

There needs to be changes in the UGA men’s basketball program. If you do the same ole things, you will get the same results. I agree with you that the program has the talent to reach the NCAA tournament and win at least a game. Fox has not shown in his 8 years that he can take them to the NCAA tournament and win at least a game. Is this all that UGA can do? Most schools would not put up with these kind of results, two NCAA appearances and no wins in eight years.

This is a common point made about the Mark Fox era.  Many people believe he should have been fired for lack of success as other programs have fired coaches for achieving less or the same during their tenures.  Johnny Dawkins’ run at Stanford would be an example.

Here’s the part of the answer that will make people mad and is considered heresy:

However, Mark Fox has embedded himself well into the fabric of UGA.  Expectations and cultural issues prevent UGA from ever wanting to have a program that is a perennial NCAA Tournament program.  Many of these same issues have permeated into non-Football sports.

It can be simplified to the matters of money, tradition and scheduling that enable Georgia Football to completely engulf all other sports.  However, there are deeper issues that explain for the antipathy of other sports at the expense of Football.  To say that it is an uncomfortable topic to discuss would be an understatement.  There ar cultural, generational and regional issues that prevent the other sports from being embraced.

Georgia is not like other schools.  Georgia gets the most revenue nationally (on a percentage basis) from Football.  Greg McGarity is judged based on how the Football Program does.  There are not as many howls now about Greg McGarity’s obnoxious donor letters nor people calling for his job.  Why?  The Football Team is winning and will get vengeance on Auburn while keeping Alabama out of the Playoff.  Maybe this is The Real Georgia Way.

Mark Fox is here as long as he wants to be.

Question #3

I’d love to disagree with your conclusions from this scrimmage, but I know better…..the historical data on Fox, especially last year forces you not to. Aside from the 2nd half of the Aub game last year, 2016 – 2017 was the worst coached season I’ve ever seen from Fox. What was different about the Aub 2nd half? Aggressive and non-descript ball movement, transition baskets off of turnovers and misses, a 3/4 press, etc.

Yes, the second half of the game at Auburn last season was one of the best halves of the Mark Fox era.  It was striking how the team could play so differently in two different halves.  Auburn could not keep up the shooting pace and never underestimate how Bruce Pearl’s approach toward defense has softened.  Pearl still does not have a feel for how the rules work as it pertains to defense and his teams at Auburn just do not put in a defensive effort.

Since getting married to his second wife, Pearl’s approach toward coaching has changed drastically.  Pearl ran a dynamic Modified Flex Offense that was disciplined, but still very unpredictable as there were counters and reads.  His teams played a harassing style of defense for 40 minutes.  Something changed and it started to show in 2010-11, but his recruiting efforts reflected it in 2009.  To say that Pearl took shortcuts would be an understatement.  (However, the student-athletes should be allowed to be compensated as much as they wish and the current system is a farce.)

Bruce Pearl’s personal life creeped into his professional life, it is plainly obvious.  Pearl is not a so-called “bad guy”, but he is just not as willing to put in the work like he did in the past and the case can be made that some aspects of the game passed him by.

Fox’s adjustments enabled the team to play aggressively and break Auburn’s spirit to the point where T.J. Dunans wanted to join the Georgia huddle.  He could learn from that game and the Missouri game from last season.

Question #4

Sigh. 9 years and still waiting because we are doing it the right way. I believe it took only 7 years to land on the moon. Is Kirby not doing it the “Georgia” way? I will say that this line up is missing some of the pieces that drive you crazy about Fox. There are not as many players lacking D1 talent that he can give major minutes to. I will believe in this team in two weeks if there is a freshman in the starting lineup. I will believe in this team if we can win a road game before January instead of the excuses of “It’s a weird gym setup” or my favorite “the altitude effected us” or “we had to travel across country”. No more “well we have had a tough stretch but we have a bunch of young players…….” the last couple of NCAA champs were also young. JUST DO IT. (full disclosure – they probably will surprise because after 13 years, I gave up my bball tickets this year)

Comparing Kirby Smart and the Georgia Football Team to Mark Fox and the Georgia Basketball Team is patently unfair.  Football is all that matters with UGA, Basketball is perceived as a possible stumbling block that could take down the Football Program.  Georgia Football sells out every season no matter what the record, Georgia Basketball requires at least 1 1/2 years of winning to sell out for most of the conference season.

Given the concentration of attention and resources toward Football, there are no excuses for Georgia Football to be contending for National Championships every season.  10 wins and a trip to Orlando is simply unacceptable for Kirby Smart or any Football Coach at Georgia.  There’s far too much invested into it to ever have a dud of a season.

It seems unfortunate to say, but refurbishing Stegeman Coliseum may have had less to do with the sports hosted in the venue than thought, but rather the 4-5 Men’s Basketball games that the Football Coaches take the Football recruits to before National Signing Day.  The three most important sports at UGA are Football, Football Recruiting and Football Fundraising.

There’s no “Kirby Effect” either that raises the bar for other sports.  Kirby Smart is winning in the only sport that matters to 95% of those who support Georgia Athletics, Football.  Kirby Smart’s success on the Football Field does not carry over to Men’s Basketball.  When Georgia Football was down during the 1990s, Georgia Basketball was doing very well except for when Vince Dooley gave up and let Tubby Smith go to Kentucky.  That’s the sort of mentality that is still pervasive and it will not change for a while.

Mark Fox’s excuses are creative to say the least.  The “Gym was too hot” excuse may have been the best out of all of them.  Memorial Gym was not too hot for a severely shorthanded Georgia Team to win there on January 14, 2015.

Mark Fox does not have to prove anything to the vast majority of Georgia supporters for two reasons.

  1. They don’t care.
  2. The majority are very pleased with the status quo due to extremely low expectations.

Question #5

So considering the perceived cold feet and/or interest in swaying from Bama, did sexton get caught up in something and try to get out, or was it out of that pending cold feet that something else was stirred up?

When this whole FBI probe broke publicly a couple months ago, Fox seemed to be pretty confident in a willingness to boast that his program had nothing to be concerned about. What all did he definitively know about Aub, others….or potentially with Bama and Sexton?

If Mark Fox or if any member of the staff definitively knew something, they are obligated to contact the FBI.  Iowa Head Coach Fran McCaffery called the FBI Hotline and reported what he knew.  If it is good enough for McCaffery, it should be good enough for anyone on the Georgia staff.  Fox’s willingness to boast that his program had nothing to be concerned about was from a position of knowing that his staff operated without violating rules and regulations.  Fox’s knowledge that there were activities during the recruiting or retention process likely has nothing to do with Auburn or Collin Sexton.  At the time of Fox addressing this matter, there is one particular recruit from a previous class who will remain nameless that Mark Fox likely has definitive knowledge that things were certainly “dishonest” during the recruitment process.

Sexton’s recruitment was unusual.  He was choosing between Kansas and Alabama in the very end, but he scheduled and cancelled a visit to Georgia just before he committed.  To say that Alabama came out of nowhere in the process would be disingenuous.  Alabama had been involved in Sexton’s recruitment for a long time, but the way Sexton went about things was unusual.

Question #6

Great analysis. Love the site. I will gladly donate to the site, but not into bitcoin. Paypal, perhaps?

No fiat currency.  Georgia Basketball Blog hosting and domain services are actually paid in cryptocurrencies (private currencies).  The transaction costs are far lower with Bitcoin, Ether, Bitcoin Cash, Dash, Ripple and other alt-coins.

Many people are getting on the cryptocurrency bandwagon for pure profit purposes rather than the original rationale, which would be the following:

  • Distrust in fiat currencies
  • Transaction cost reduction
  • Ease of use
  • The desire to diversify monetary holdings like the way they would diversify equity
  • Gambling
  • Create your own bank
  • Anonymity
  • Security

Question #7

If you were to take a look at bringing in a new coach that UGA would reasonably choose to afford, who would you target? I’m not advocating for Fox to go; the system seems to require too much going perfectly for it to be consistent, though.

This is the exact point made in the Saint Mary’s game.  A lot went right to overcome what went wrong.  Saint Mary’s was a more flawed opponent than expected and they may not crack the Top 25 again until January or February because they may not have the opportunity for quality wins.

As far as a new coach, this is not going to happen.  Fox is so entrenched that it would be unreasonable to expect a change.  An SEC Championship in Football and even a National Championship in Football would make everyone forget about Men’s Basketball.  This is not Florida.

Even as a thought exercise, it is not worth consideration until all of the dominoes have fallen in the FBI Investigation.  The media is trying to pretend that this is not happening in the backdrop and new revelations could be made at any time during the season.

After the FBI Investigation is complete, then hypothetical alternatives could be discussed for entertainment.

Question #8

Heck, all our signees are from Addidas AAU programs. Has that happened in the Felton and Fox years?

If not, is the Federal District Court prosecution a factor, or is it just coincidence we got two Addida players after the arrests?

Both signees were in the Adidas AAU circuit, Amanze Ngumezi with 1 Family and JoJo Toppin with the Atlanta Celtics.  Historically, signees came from the Nike EYBL circuit or were independent.  The Georgia Stars AAU Team (Nike EYBL) has long been a source for UGA signees.  However, there is a bit of diversity now with AAU circuits on this roster.  Interestingly, each class has a trend toward a particular shoe brand association.  It is very obvious with this current UGA roster.

Class of 2017:

  • Isaac Kante:  Under Armour
  • Nicolas Claxton:  Independent
  • Rayshaun Hammonds:  Under Armour, previously was Nike when with Alabama Challenge
  • Teshaun Hightower:  Under Armour

Class of 2016:

  • Pape Diatta:  Nike
  • Jordan Harris: Independent
  • Tyree Crump:  Independent/Under Armour

Class of 2015:

  • Mike Edwards:  Independent – Play in Adidas Tournaments
  • Derek Ogbeide:  Nike
  • E’Torrion Wilridge:  Nike
  • Turtle Jackson:  Nike

Class of 2014:

  • Yante Maten:  Nike

Class of 2013:

  • Juwan Parker:  Nike

It is pure coincidence that Adidas recruits came UGA’s way for the Class of 2018.  Toppin had an existing connection to Georgia that helped a lot (Rayshaun Hammonds) and Ngumezi committed before the FBI Investigation was revealed.

Question #9

How many top targets will Fox continue to miss on due to his archaic hair rules?

You’re mixing up the girlfriends and multiple sex partners thing with the hair rules.  The hair rules were relaxed in the wake of the Dennis Felton era.  Just don’t expect to see hair like the VCU team.

No targets have said ‘no’ to Georgia because of grooming issues.  This is just message board whiner nonsense.

Question #10

Why sub all these players if the intent is not to run the floor, push tempo and press? I’m just glad the majority of the people agree the talent level is the best its been under the Fox era…. 

Getting deeper and more athletic would provide incentive to push the pace.  Versatile talent with plenty of athleticism and willingness to take on contact should not be playing at a slow pace.  Mark Fox coached teams at Georgia play at a slower than average pace, it is not Virginia, but it is still rather slow.

This is a team that should have at least four different full court defensive looks.  This team should be doing this to disrupt opponents as opposed to just letting the opponent get into the offense at their leisure and react.

This is a team that should be playing 11 Deep with a mix of defensive looks and full court pressure.  However, that’s just not Mark Fox’s style and it may never be.

Question #11

Is this a gambling site or UGA BASKETBALL SITE?

You’re way too angry and you post way too many comments that have a strange, controlling nature to them.  Get that anger under control.  Anger management courses do help.

Therapy and psychiatric treatment could do a lot of good too.  Unless you’re a Scientologist and in this case you will be disappointed to find out what the secrets are with becoming an OT3. Hopefully, this link does not give you pneumonia.

Hope that helps!

Question #12

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 ?

Georgia Women’s Volleyball has been simply a great turnaround story thus far.  Tom Black deserves a lot of credit for the turnaround in Year 1.  He recruited T’ara Caesar and Rachel Ritchie into the program and to say they have helped breathe new life into the Women’s Volleyball Team would be an understatement.  Turning around a program and building a sustainable program are two different things, there’s much that remains to be seen.

Advice:  Sellout their games next season.  This is a team that deserves more support and they are playing more matches at Stegeman Coliseum.  Act like Nebraska partisans.  Just show up and make it a part of your afternoon or evening in Athens.

McGarity’s hire of Lizzy Stemke did not work in Athens and his “bright” idea of firing former Women’s Soccer Coach Steve Holeman was rather ludicrous.   However, he is not judged on these sports.  He’s judged on Football.  That’s it.

Question #13

Well, we get two similar questions and address them both in this final segment.

“Tyree crump can shoot like that consistently given the chance. Coach needs to let him play and he will produce more good things he likes to win and he plays with heart. Last year you seemed to like Tyree this year you put him down. What gives? You know coach Fox takes every bit of confidence away from these young men and then expects them to play when they are just worrying about if I make a mistake he will take me out.”

“Heck u give good insight, however I must agree with Pam, u really bash Crump. Why? Guess u decided to give him a break defensively since no one on this team obviously plays or tries defensively. Turtle made me eat some words maybe Crump will do the same for. “

Tyree Crump is not being bashed at all.  The problems are the expectations surrounding Crump and the inaccurate assessment of his capabilities.  Crump is not who the media and forum members say he is and the coaching staff have it wrong too.  Crump also has far too much pressure to live up to the hype created in Spain and his connection to Kirby Smart.  It’s all actually rather unfair to Crump.

Crump’s strengths and weaknesses are apparent, but most are creating castles in the sky as far as what he can do out there.  Crump is a streaky shooter who lacks engagement on the defensive end.  As far as the positives, he is at his best when he is dribbling toward the basket and when he locks in totally as a defender.  He’s a playmaker on offense, not a sharpshooter.  He requires engagement and situational awareness.  Tyree Crump is not the savior of Georgia Basketball, it’s a story that can engage the South Georgia audience who typically do not care about Georgia Basketball, but he’s more hype than results at this point.

Tyree Crump is limiting himself and Mark Fox is playing a role in it on the offensive end.  Crump has become a volume jump shooter, but he needs to look to attack the basket and get himself into a rhythm.  Free Throws are a great way to get there.  Coldly taking a three off a half-hearted screen on the wing is not a high percentage shot.  There’s no rhythm there.  Crump getting a charging call on a dribble drive is more encouraging than a made three point shot from 25 feet away with nobody within 10 feet of him.  Crump needs to be a more complete Guard and he can easily do that once he gets over the whole sharpshooter complex that everyone has convinced him to have since he’s stepped foot in Athens.  He’d probably shoot better from the perimeter if he did not have that sharpshooter complex.

Merely playing Tyree Crump for 36 minutes a game and letting him chuck it from three point range whenever he wants is not the solution to Georgia’s offensive woes.

So no, Tyree Crump is not being bashed.  The idea of Tyree Crump in the minds of many is being bashed.  Very big difference.

2 comments

  1. You must be guilty or you wouldn’t have addressed it at all. Shame on you
    And since you are all knowing why aren’t you coaching somewhere—like Kentucky!

Comments are closed.