Narratives and Cliches make the Mark Fox era so aggravating.
Mark Fox has given into narratives and cliches far too often. He believes that his team sucks in terms of talent because the media and probably some of the newer readers who only pay attention to Hoops when things are truly dead in terms of Football news, think they suck too. Fox resorts to micromanaging their capabilities believing that he has to approach every game like he’s in the WAC and playing every game as if it is a non-conference game. That’s the Mark Fox era. He did not believe in his kids EVER. He slowed down the game and choked the game to death. He did not play his younger players because they were not accustomed to his style of play and would defy his method of success because he has supposedly inferior talent. The younger guys have not been indoctrinated in his ways. He resorts to Hero Ball just like the way inferior teams would in the NCAA Tournament hoping to pull of a miracle. However, the interpretation of this style of play and failure to reach success by the base is strikingly similar based on the rationale and rhetoric despite the extreme differences between two specific segments of it.
It’s sort of like how Fascism and Communism are similar in the way that they are both authoritarian political philosophies.
The Pretentious Sycophants
Mark Fox is that coach that the base can feel good about in a “I’m a better person than you” way, which is not exactly good diplomacy between alumni of different schools and it projects a perverted sense of morality too. After all, what constitutes morality in this sense is the enforcement of young men not being compensated for their work.
Dennis Felton was smeared for having student-athletes who made the same sort of decisions that Mark Richt’s student-athletes made. Unlike Richt, he did not project a sense of morality that made people feel warm and fuzzy and politically, he did not represent the views of those in power and of the base. Also, Felton did not win as much as Richt. Felton was “smeared” as an Atheist, which is supposedly a bad thing.
The Felton era was a failure on the court and the Fox era was as well. Fox wasted a lot of talent and was summarily dismissed from the NCAA Tournament twice in nine seasons. Felton was not fired due to performance, but rather because his student-athletes were getting into trouble and this was the program that UGA President Michael Adams sought to tame in his quest to become NCAA President.
This paragraph defines the values of those who want to keep Fox and it denigrates Dennis Felton, who certainly was not a scoundrel. It’s a bit of Rorshach Test, if you can come away feeling proud of this then you want Mark Fox at UGA forever as Head Coach.
“As far as his long-term replacement goes, Georgia needs to focus on three qualities in a coach: classiness, good recruiter and humbleness. No matter how badly the Bulldogs want to win, bringing in a coach with even a hint of shadiness concerning NCAA rules is probably out of the question. The Harrick years have not been that long ago. Secondly, someone who can get young people excited about the University is also in ordered. The State of Georgia is filled with high school talent and a dynamite recruiter could have a top-15 program very quickly. Finally, the Bulldogs would probably do better with a coach that understands that football will always be king. While the athletic department wants all sports to do well, as evident by relieving Felton of his duties, the fan base will always love football more than anything. If the new coach accepts and understands this, he will not likely be looking to leave at the first sign of a “basketball school” calling.”
The above paragraph is the problem with Georgia. People want this and got this with Mark Fox. If you have aspirations for better, do not come to the University of Georgia. There’s a limit on the pretentiousness, many of the same people who believe the above also voted for the sentiment in this video clip.
Make up your minds sycophants. You want to win at everything or not?
The typical lines from the sycophants:
- “He’s a good man.”
- “He’s a clean coach.”
- “He’s a great Xs and Os coach.”
- “Who could possibly replace Mark Fox?”
- “Everyone is cheating except for Mark Fox, that’s why he cannot get the kids from Atlanta.”
- “He knows how to coach.”
- “He can’t get the talent because he is a good man.”
- “He doesn’t play the AAU game and he still wins.”
- “AAU Basketball is dirty and slimy.”
What are the themes behind these typical lines? Aside from the whistle words that are rather sad to acknowledge…
They believe that Mark Fox’s student-athletes have no talent whatosever and they think that without Mark Fox to guide the talent, the team cannot win. They think that Mark Fox’s failings are not due to anything of his own fault. They believe that Fox is a victim of circumstance and that if he had better talent, he would win.
Fox cannot get the best kids from Atlanta to come to Georgia because he will not pay them or their parents, that’s the messaging. The talent Fox has brought in is bad and that Fox is such a brilliant Xs and Os coach because there’s no other way to explain how the team could possibly win.
In short, they validate the unquestioned and opaque recruiting media and Mark Fox is a strategic genius to them.
The Mark Fox Can’t Recruit and He’ll Never Win Because of it Crowd
So with this crowd it is a bit different in terms of the criticism, there’s no holier than thou attitude, which is refreshing. This crowd wants Mark Fox fired. Whether they actually want to create a Basketball Culture in Athens is an open question. Many of those in this crowd want a reason to jump on a bandwagon or already pull for another program. Winning over this crowd is like trying to win over non-alumni with Men’s Basketball, there’s no reasoning with them. To this crowd, there’s a simplistic approach and if there’s caps lock, typos and yelling, it’s coming from these folks.
This crowd thinks that Men’s Basketball is like a video game or like Football. Elite talent = Elite results. Not exactly how it works. Their desire to win in Men’s Basketball is questionable because this crowd only makes noise when there is a sense of a coaching change about to happen. They like feeling that they are a part of a process and get very excited by names that they heard on TV. Names like Billy Donovan, Tom Crean and Arie Luyendyk Jr. catch their attention.
It’s not just TV, this crowd is very Pro-Georgia. Pro-Georgia, as in the State of Georgia coming first. Rather than finding the best candidate, looking inward is the best option based on sheer locality alone. It’s why names like Ron Hunter, Sam Mitchell, Bob Hoffman and Georgia College graduate Earl Grant have been tossed about. Forget style of play, level of success or ability to be able to do the job. No, just hire someone who is local. It all becomes very weird when finding out that many of the recruits are transplants or their parents are transplants, which throws out all of that logic.
On the recruiting trail, they think that Mark Fox is a terrible recruiter who can create diamonds out of 2 star coal. They think Mark Fox is a Xs and Os master who just cannot recruit. Here are the things that this crowd says…
- “Mark Fox is a really good Xs and Os coach.”
- “Mark Fox is a master developer of talent.”
- “Mark Fox cannot relate to kids in Atlanta.”
- “Mark Fox has a roster of untalented kids.”
- “MARK FOXS need to be mor like Kirby and GET 5 STAR KID STAY HOME WHRE!!!!!!! THEY BELONG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!”
- “Mark Fox gets Georgia.”
- “Mark Fox is not from the South.”
- “Mark Fox can’t recruit top talent.”
- “If Mark Fox had top talent, he’d win.”
- “If you took all of the top talent in Georgia and convinced them to stay home, Georgia would dominate. The coach really doesn’t matter.”
- “It’s about the Jimmies and the Joes, not the Xs and the Os.”
This crowd thinks that Mark Fox has no talent on the team because some of the talent is not from Georgia and they have not seen them play in High School. They think that Mark Fox’s system would make the top talent in the State of Georgia look really good and the team would win. It is like putting NASCAR sponsor decals on a beat-up Geo, fueling it with racing fuel and expecting to win the Southern 500. It’s does not work like that! (And yes, I have been to Darlington and it is absolutely awesome.)
Consider all the talent that Alabama has or at least the hyped talent per the opaque recruiting media’s evaluations. Alabama should never have to win a game in the SEC Tournament to make the NCAA Tournament.
What is lost with this crowd is that every member of this Georgia roster was pursued by major conference programs. Almost all of them had national acclaim when they were in High School. Even that one you don’t like seeing on the floor.
Diminishing the talent with a Football Mentality towards Men’s Basketball and praising Mark Fox’s abilities with Xs and Os because of the “lack of talent” is a far stretch to justify the recruiting media evaluations.
So in short, for this crowd Mark Fox has zero talent on his team and he’s a great Xs and Os coach, who needs to go because he cannot recruit well enough because he’s not from Georgia. That’s the sorry message they have bought.
Two Sides of the Same Coin Justifying the Recruiting Media Hype and Burying Talent
Recruiting media have done more harm than good in terms of shaping expectations for fans, alumni, media and coaches. It has put coaches into positions where they are recruiting guys who would not fit their style of play. Don’t tell this to this crowd though.
West Virginia, Oklahoma, Texas Tech, TCU, Baylor, Arkansas, Virginia and Saint Mary’s do not necessarily blow away the recruiting media, but they find guys who fit what they are trying to accomplish. They still win.
The biggest problem that exists is that Men’s Basketball is evaluated on the same basis as Football. The sports are completely different and the ratings are rather arbitrary once the NBA one-and-done talent are culled through and even the borderline NBA one-and-done guys are questionable in their differentiation. Only a handful of guys are sure things as one-and-dones like Collin Sexton, Michael Porter Jr. and Mohamed Bamba. Of course, being drafted as a Lottery Pick does not ensure success, it means you’re playing for the Sacramento Kings and a second contract.
The willingness to bury the talent based on talent evaluations that are mere snapshots, hold little accuracy and provide very little information outside of a horribly simplistic rank and star rating is rather ridiculous. The decision to give unaccountable, faceless individuals who create these simplistic evaluations for the purposes of entertainment and clicks so much power in terms of the narratives that define a program is ridiculous. However, many do. 4 Star means nothing, what does the 4 Star mean? What skill sets are there? What upside is present? How would the talent fit in a particular system, how would the recruit thrive? When was the evaluation made? Was the evaluation updated? There are so many questions and to boil it down to an opaque star and rank plays to the stupidity of the crowd.
Both the Fire!!!!!! and Keep crowds mentioned get it wrong. The talent level is fine, but there’s no vision as to how to use the talent and the style of play is far too passive. The development has been poor under Mark Fox and there’s nothing about this offense that should get a recruit excited. However, both crowds want something to brag about that have nothing to do with winning. One crowd wants to feel superior on a moral basis and the other wants to feel superior on Signing Week(s). Both crowds have a questionable commitment to actually winning.
So to the FIRE!!!! FOX!!!!!!! and Keep Fox crowds, here’s a way to keep the peace. Acknowledge your commonalities.
- You both think the current roster is awful and untalented.
- You both think Mark Fox is a terrible recruiter.
- You both think Mark Fox is a great Xs and Os coach.
- You both think Mark Fox is a great developer of talent.
- You both love the recruiting media and never question their methods.
- You both want to feel superior and actual Wins and Losses really do not matter as much.
- You both hate Georgia Basketball Blog for pointing all of this out and having a different take.
The good news is that once Mark Fox is gone maybe this nonsense ends.
Viva The Blogs!