If a guard spot opens up for next season, Mark Fox should punt next season on recruiting a freshman guard in 2016.
Wait? Punt? What on earth is that supposed to mean? If Juwan Parker cannot continue as a student-athlete at the University of Georgia, replacing him with a freshman in Spring 2016 is a mistake. Punting would entail bringing in a graduate transfer that would be eligible to play for one season and deferring the scholarship opening to the Class of 2017. Without injury, Parker would have exhausted his eligibility at the end of the 2016-17 season and his spot would need to be replaced by someone in the Class of 2017.
It is possible that Parker may leave or become medically exempt, which would open up a spot for the Class of 2016. Mark Fox already has a pair of guards coming in: Jordan Harris (a swingman) and Tyree Crump (combo guard). Bringing in another freshman guard creates extreme roster imbalance. By “punting” the scholarship spot and occupying the spot with a graduate transfer this roster imbalance would not occur.
Georgia has been very active as far as 2017 recruiting is concerned and this will be discussed in May as the number of vacant spots is unknown. Filling Juwan Parker’s spot in the Spring 2016 with a freshman should Parker leave takes away a spot from a class that this staff has built serious in-roads in exchange for a diamond in the rough flyer that would occupy a scholarship spot for four years. It would also mean that the backcourt will be VERY young. There is a potential situation where next season should Parker not continue on that Georgia has four student-athletes in the backcourt that are freshman or sophomores. There’s an experience gap and that is not a good thing.
If anything observers have learned about Mark Fox, he does not like to play freshmen that occupy the 1-3 spots unless they are a guaranteed NBA Draft Lottery pick, in the case of Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. His reticence to playing freshmen is a major reason why he cites that his team is “tired”. Fox also does not believe in playing freshmen in more than one position on the floor and feels that the contract extension he received was a referendum on the way that he does things. With a very young backcourt, Fox will likely play Kenny Paul Geno at the 2 spot quite a bit and sport a nearly 3 deep backcourt while he basically redshirts Crump and Harris without actually redshirting them and letting them maintain the season of eligibility.
Fox is interested in a 6’5″ 185 pound Swingman named Brian Patrick from Lauderdale Lakes, Florida. He attends Boyd Anderson High School and has offers from Charleston Southern, Youngstown State and Bethune-Cookman. He is considered by Rivals to be a 3 star recruit and MaxPreps says he is the 45th best recruit in the Class of 2016 in the State of Florida.
Fox is a bit tone deaf, if it is not obvious. For Fox, doing things the right way is synonymous with doing things the unnecessarily difficult way. His approach is often times sub-optimal and when he does take the correct approach that many around him advocate, he makes it seem like he has accidentally placated the crowd as if admitting the way he does things can be wrong. Bringing in another freshman guard is wrong, it is not slight against Brian Patrick or any other freshmen that Fox may be considering.
Many know how Fox operates and if he is going to run this operation like a mid-major program, he has to be willing to adopt the tactics of competitive mid-major programs. Graduate transfers are the life blood of mid-majors, giving new life to student-athletes that had to miss a season due to injury. Many of the graduate transfers are actually quite good and provide a steady hand. A graduate transfer would be able to provide the mentorship and competitive experience in practice that would benefit Turtle Jackson, Tyree Crump and Jordan Harris.
Here are some likely graduate transfers that Mark Fox should pursue if Juwan Parker’s time with UGA Basketball as a student-athlete is over:
Avery Woodson – Memphis: 6’2″ 200 pound Shooting Guard
Jordan Price – La Salle (former Auburn Tiger): 6’5″ 220 pound Shooting Guard
Cleon Roberts – La Salle (formerly Georgia Southern): 6’5″ 180 pound Shooting Guard
Braxton Ogbueze – Charlotte (former Florida Gator): 6’1″ 190 pound Combo Guard
Austin Loop – Marshall: 6’4″ 210 pound Shooting Guard
Ryan Taylor – Marshall: 6’5″ 225 pound Swingman
Jason McManamen – Wyoming: 6’5″ 195 pound Shooting Guard (he’s staying)
Que Johnson – Washington State: 6’5″ 210 pound Shooting Guard
What may help with getting him to choose UGA should he be available? He’s from Pontiac, Michigan just like Yante Maten!
Shivaughn Wiggins – Coastal Carolina: 5’11” 182 pound Point Guard
Tre McLean – Chattanooga: 6’5″ 205 pound Swingman
Remember him? He’s been lighting it up in SoCon action this season. He had a poor game against Georgia, but rebounded to play very well against Illinois in Chattanooga’s win over the Fighting Illini. He also went for 8 points and 8 rebounds in Chattanooga’s win over Dayton.
Canyon Barry – College of Charleston: 6’6″ 210 pound Swingman
Aaron Valdes – Hawai’i: 6’5″ 190 pound Shooting Guard
Hawai’i is not going to be eligible for the postseason next season and Valdes will make a big splash in March. Hawai’i is the favorite to win the Big West and play in the NCAA Tournament. Valdes and his family know his status very well. He could be the hottest graduate transfer out there in the backcourt.
Fox needs to punt next season’s scholarship to a graduate transfer if Juwan Parker cannot continue and this list should be his starting point.