Georgia Bulldogs College Basketball Preview

Mark Fox's Georgia Basketball team is looking to make the jump from a team that went winless on the road last season to an NCAA Tournament team. With returners Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, Fox might just be able to pull it off.

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Georgia Basketball: Trey Thompkins Named SEC Preseason Player of the Year

A panel of media members who cover SEC Basketball have selected Georgia's Trey Thompkins as the league's preseason player of the year. Thompkins received 18 of 20 first place votes and was also named to the all conference team along with teammate Travis Leslie

Thompkins is a six foot ten inch forward who was a unanimous ALL-SEC selection last season while averaging 17.7 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. One of the big reasons that Georgia is looked at as a program on the rise was due to Thompkins returning to school for his Junior season and putting off the NBA draft for at least one more year. 

The media also predicts Georgia to finish third in a rugged SEC eastern division finishing behind Florida and Kentucky but ahead of Tennessee. That is a big step for a program like Georgia that has finished dead last in the SEC east for the three seasons and six of the last seven. 

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Georgia Basketball Preview: Sports Illustrated Says Trey Thompkins Leads A Top-Ten Frontcourt

Georgia comes in at #10 in Sports Illustrated’s top 16 Front Court combinations in the nation. Stars Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie will be joined by Jeremy Price, Chris Barnes, and former Georgia Mr Basketball true Freshman Marcus Thornton.

The pre-season accolades are a strong contrast from Mark Fox’s first season at the helm for Georgia where the Bulldogs had little to no expectations while finishing dead last in the SEC East. In just his second season, Fox now has Georgia on the verge of being a pre-season top 25 team in addition to having a Naismith Player of the Year candidate in Junior Trey Thompkins.

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Mark Fox Previews the Upcoming Georgia Basketball Season

With practice just around the corner, Mark Fox addressed the media yesterday and Georgiadogs.com has a video of the press conference available.

Some of the highlights include Fox talking about the renovations being done to Stegeman Coliseum as well as his outlook for this Georgia team that he says is much deeper than last year’s squad.

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UGA Basketball Key Players for the Upcoming Season

Returning Players

Trey Thompkins – Thompkins averaged a team high 17.7 points per game and 8.3 rebounds per game. He is a candidate for SEC Player of the Year and was named to the preseason Wooden Award watch list. He is versatile with the skills to play on the wing but at 6’10" has the height to play some in the pivot.

Travis Leslie – Leslie finished last season with averages of 14.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. He also led the team in Sportscenter Highlights with an array of high flying dunks. Even more so than Thompkins, it was important for Leslie to return to school to try and work on his jump shot if he hopes to be successful at the next level.

Dustin Ware – Last years starting point guard played a whopping 976 minutes for the Dawgs and wore down as the season went on. The addition of Robinson Jr will take some of the pressure off of Ware. Ware was still highly effective for Georgia placing third in the SEC in assist to turnover margin.

Chris Barnes / Jeremy Price – Barnes and Price will be relied upon to provide some of the muscle and good defense for the team this season. They won’t get a lot of the headlines but they will still be very important in either a starting or bench role.

Newcomers to the Team

Gerald Robinson Jr – 6’1” guard that sat out last season after transferring from Tennessee State. Averaged 16.5 points and tallied over 1000 career points in two seasons at TSU. A pure scorer that should fit nicely with Leslie and Thompkins. Could push Ware for the starting spot at Point Guard but there is a good chance that Robinson finds himself on the court with Ware, Leslie, and Thompkins quite a bit.

Marcus Thornton – Last years Mr Basketball for the state of Georgia originally chose to play at Clemson but found his way to Georgia after former Clemson coach Oliver Purnell took the job at at DePaul. At 6’7”, Fox will be looking for an immediate impact from Thornton.

Sherrard Brantley – Brantley is a JUCO Sophomore that Fox is hoping can replace the long distance marksmanship of Ricky McPhee.

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Georgia Bulldogs College Basketball Preview

University of Georgia Men's Basketball Coach Mark Fox last season began the hard work of laying the foundation for what he hopes will be a successful basketball program in Athens. While the overall record (14-17) from last season is not overly impressive, observers can't deny how far the program came in Fox's first year on the bench. Fox dodged a bullet during the off season when his two best returning players, Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie both decided to return to school for their junior seasons rather than entering the NBA Draft. Had they chosen not to return, Fox's team would have been faced with replacing it's top two scorers and rebounders from last season. Combine Thompkins and Leslie with Tennessee State transfer Gerald Robinson Jr and there is a buzz around the Georgia Basketball program that hasn't been in place since Jim Harrick was the coach.

With those expectations comes pressure. During Fox's first year there weren't any expectations as the roster was depleted and Fox was a virtual unknown in these parts having come to Georgia by way of Nevada. However, teams quickly found a Georgia team that was going to compete night in and night out. Along the way Georgia knocked off NCAA Tournament teams Georgia Tech, Vanderbilt, Florida, and Tennessee. They also beat an Illinois team that was squarely on the bubble and put a scare into Kentucky at Rupp Arena. This season Georgia won't be sneaking up on anyone and one of the biggest stroy lines of the season will be to see how Fox and his players handle the added pressure. 

Fox's stated goal for the 2010-11 Basketball team is to put it's self in line for a return to the NCAA tournament. That would be a fast turn around for a team that has gone 8-24 in the SEC over the last two seasons and that went 0-11 on the road last season. Fox has done an excellent job in one season of restocking the team with talent. There is a lot riding on the shoulders of Robinson Jr, but with the return of Thompkins and Leslie along with veterans Dustin Ware, Chris Barnes, and Jeremy Price, Georgia should be in good shape. Things won't be easy in a loaded SEC East, but this time Georgia should have enough depth and talent to keep their heads above water and perhaps a return to the Big Dance. 

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