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Georgia basketball head coach Mark Fox took his team overseas to Italy not so much to win games, but more for the greater experience related to team-building, especially since they lost a game to a Luithianian squad the same day they took a tour of the Leaning Tower Of Pisa:
"We didn't play with a great deal of energy and looked like an exhausted group," Fox said.
The Bulldogs played a variety of foreign professional and national teams, but the point was simply to create more game time for a young Georgia roster entering the 2012-'13 campaign. Fox told the Macon Telegraph all four freshman on the squad saw starts, as well as every player on the entire roster, save for injured forward Marcus Thornton.
Unrelated to Italy, Fox is also now golfing buddies with actor (and noted Atlanta Falcons enthusiast) Samuel L. Jackson, who spoke to UGA's football and basketball teams last week:
"He talked about how stars deal with fame and how some people mismanage their money, and what pitfalls guys can fall into. He talked to our team about some of that, which I thought was terrific," Fox said. "I mean he was as down to earth as you can imagine. I really appreciated his approach to it. I don't know if he enjoyed it but we sure did."
The Georgia Bulldogs just landed a big recruit for the 2013 season as three-star shooting guard Juwan Parker verbally committed to the Bulldogs.
Parker, a 6'4" guard from Tulsa, Oklahoma, picked Mark Fox's team over Memphis and Stanford.
Verbal commitments are non-binding and recruits cannot sign letters of intent until the early signing period in November.
The shooting guard is ranked 117th nationally by Rivals.com and is described as a prolific scorer with a great shooting touch. Like most high school kids, though, Parker needs to add on a bit of bulk to effectively play in the college realm.
Parker was the 2010-11 state player of the year, and averaged 20.5 points and 9.4 rebounds as a junior last year. He initially visited Georgia in June and considered them the favorite, although Memphis was making a very hard push for him.
"My family has a good relationship with coach Kwanza and coach Fox, and Georgia has one of the best business schools in the country," Parker told the Tulsa World. "Coach Fox built a winner at Nevada and he's doing the same thing at Georgia. When I visited there, I felt very comfortable. I felt at home."
Parker is the second commitment for Fox's team in 2013. J.J. Frazier, a point guard from Ludowici, Ga., committed in February.
Georgia basketball got their trip to Italy off to a good start on Monday with a 83-58 win over the Vicenze All-Stars. The Bulldogs got 14 points apiece from Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Nemanja Djurisic to lead the team.
Georgia jumped out to a 44-26 halftime lead which was spurred on mostly by the team's dominance on the boards. Tim Dixon finished with eight points and 10 boards while forward Donte Williams added nine rebounds. The Bulldogs grabbed 20 offensive rebounds in the game while also shooting 46 percent from the field.
The Bulldogs will continue exhibition play on Wednesday when they take on Lithuanian team Atletas Kaunaas. The Bulldogs will play their last scheduled game of the Italy trip on August 11 against All-Star Italy.
The Georgia Basketball team will leave on Friday for a 10-day trip to Italy where they will play three exhibition games against European teams. The Bulldogs were afforded 10 extra practices leading up to the trip which they have taken advantage of as they look towards the upcoming season.
"What we've seen so far is that we have a much deeper team, we're a more physical team, we're a more athletic team," Fox said. "I've enjoyed the progress of the returning players and been excited about the new guys and what they've been able to bring."
Fox also indicated that the addition of freshman Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines, Brandon Morris and Houston Kessler makes the team much deeper and more athletic than last season.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is the Bulldogs' leading returner and will shift primarily to the shooting guard position this season. Fox indicated that Sherrard Brantley would start at small forward during the exhibition and that Vincent Williams would start at point guard.
Here is a look at UGA's full exhibition schedule:
Monday, August 6 - Vicenza All-Star 2 p.m.
Wednesday, August 8 - Lithuanian team Atletas Kaunaas
Saturday, August 11 - All Star Italy
Junior center Donte' Williams was arrested back in May in Atlanta on a possession of marijuana charge but now the charge has reportedly been dismissed. After the arrest Williams was subjected to several drug tests and reportedly passed them all. According to head coach Mark Fox it was more about Williams putting himself with the wrong people than it was him actually doing anything wrong.
"Putting himself in a wrong place, wrong time, wrong people, I'll deal with all that," Fox said. "I won't deal with any of that until later.
Fox didn't rule out some sort of punishment for Williams which could include an early season suspension.
"I don't know. I think I'll weigh that out. I think the important thing for him is really when he's trying to get a job and he's 30 years old and people Google his name, I want the truth to be known."
Williams will accompany the team when it embarks on an exhibition trip to Italy on Friday.
While the football side of the SEC seems to have worked out most of the kinks associated with conference expansion the basketball side continues to have problems. After some pretty intense discussions at the annual meetings in Destin, Florida earlier this season it appeared that the league had hammered out a schedule plan going forward.
The plan called for an 18-game conference schedule including a home and home against a permanent rival.
Each school gets a permanent rival (Kentucky and Florida, Ole Miss and Mississippi State, etc.) to play an annual home-and-home against. Each team will then play four more home-and-homes and one game against each of the other eight teams in the conference.
When meetings broke, coaches thought they knew what those 18 games looked like for this upcoming season and began finalizing their non-conference slate accordingly.
However, when coaches recently received the league schedule via email changes had been made which has caught many coaches completely off guard.
Mark Fox's Georgia basketball team has completed five of his team's 10 allotted practices in preparation for its exhibition trip to Italy on August 3rd. This could be yet another transition year for the Bulldogs who have to replace backcourt veterans Dustin Ware and Gerald Robinson.
"We're going to have a lot of competition for playing time. I'll tell you that. "
Fox indicated that Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has moved back to his natural shooting guard position which should provide him with more of a size advantage over many of his opponents. Caldwell-Pope primarily played the small forward position last year for the Bulldogs out of necessity.
Georgia's frontcourt struggled for the most part last season and Fox indicated that they are getting stronger and singled out John Florveus for being the most dominant in the paint from early practices.
The Bulldogs will have a difficult time replacing the experience of Ware and Robinson but Fox thinks that incoming freshman Charles Mann, Kenny Gaines and Brandon Morris will make the Bulldogs a much deeper team and expects all to challenge for playing time right away.
Georgia Basketball head coach Mark Fox says that a recent NCAA rule change that permits coaches to work in groups with players during the offseason is being taken full advantage of by the Bulldogs and his staff. Fox also confirmed that all four members of his 2012 recruiting class are on campus with no academic casualties and have begun summer classes and are working out preparing for next season.
"This is a team I'm looking forward to coaching,"
It didn't always look like that was the case last season as the Bulldogs struggled to replace Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie while finishing 15-17 and out of postseason play. However, a year removed from those struggles Fox thinks that this team is capable of taking a step forward and believes that some of his freshman can play a big role in that.
Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann are expected to challenge for playing time right away and will compete with returners Vincent Williams and Sherrard Brantley. Georgia lost both members of its starting backcourt to graduation last season.
Brandon Morris could also see some time at the small forward position this season as Fox tries to work Kentavious Caldwell-Pope some at the shooting guard spot where he should be able to use his size to be more effective.
Georgia Bulldogs athletic director Greg McGarity is calling the South Carolina Gamecocks basketball program the Dogs' men's hoops rivalry over the next few years, according to Marc Weiszer of the Athens Banner-Herald.
UGA AD Greg McGarity said South Carolina will be men's hoops rival opponent next 3 years. They will play twice a season.— Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) June 1, 2012
The Bulldogs and Gamecocks played each other twice last season and split those games. South Carolina drew first blood with a 57-56 nail-biter in Columbia. Then Georgia answered a few weeks later in Athens with a more impressive 67-55 win in the final regular season game on the schedule.
UGA went on to knock Mississippi State out of the SEC tournament, before losing the Vanderbilt the next day.
Georgia Basketball will take on South Florida as part of the annual SEC/Big East challenge during the upcoming season. The game will take place on November 30 at South Florida and will be televised on either ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU
#UGA men’s hoops plays at South Florida on Nov. 30 in SEC/Big East Challenge. Games are on ESPN, ESPN2 or ESPNU.— Marc Weiszer (@marcweiszer) June 1, 2012
The Bulls finished 22-14 a year ago and were 12-6 in the Big East. Victor Rudd is the top returning scorer for South Florida after averaging 9.3 points per game as a sophomore.
The Bulldogs will look to improve on last season's disappointing 15-17 campaign. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will be called upon to lead Georgia after averaging 13.2 points and 5.2 rebounds as a freshman.
While the addition of Texas A&M and Missouri to what had been a fairly uniform 12-team league has caused all types of scheduling difficulties in football, it's required a lot of juggling from the basketball side of things as well.
According to a report from the Macon Telegraph, here's what the latest proposed format could look like:
For now, the conference seems committed to a thee-year scheduling format before they would make another change, but the unwieldy nature of the whole situation means that nothing has been set in stone yet.
Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox tapped into his program's past with the addition of former Bulldogs' big man Jonas Hayes as the staff's new program coordinator. Hayes had been an assistant at Belmont Abbey College for the last five seasons.
"I am really excited to have Jonas join our staff," Fox said in a release. "He will be a valuable asset as we move forward. He is a smart and talented young man who will be a great example to our players. I am excited to have a former player who is so passionate about Georgia become part of our team."
Hayes played in 88 games for the Bulldogs during his career finishing with a career 8.6 points per game average. He and his twin brother Jarvis were key members on some of Georgia's most successful basketball teams.
Georgia's Basketball team will be making a trip to Italy in August where it will play at least three exhibitions against professional Italian teams. The trip will provide the Bulldogs with some extra practice time leading up to their departure. The extra time is crucial for a team that will be adding four true freshman to the mix this upcoming season.
"hope is to play three games. If we can work in a fourth-great. The hard part is going to be it's an Olympic year. The gold medal game is Aug. 12. We're going right during the Olympics, but that's the only window we have because we start school so early."
Georgia will be breaking in new players in its backcourt after the departure of seniors Dustin Ware and Gerald Robinson Jr.
Bill Self and the Kansas Jayhawks are looking for a home and home series against a quality opponent and the Georgia Bulldogs under Mark Fox have never been one to shy away from a non-conference challenge. The two parties seem like a match but the Bulldogs are unlikely to seek another road game until they know what awaits them with their conference schedule.
"I'd love to play Kansas," the Georgia coach said. "I'm not sure we can add another road game."
The problem for Fox is he won't know if he will be playing perennial powers like Kentucky or Florida twice until the reworked schedule is released. Georgia already has a challenging non conference schedule that includes a trip to the Legends Classic in Brooklyn where they will matchup with either Georgetown, Indiana or UCLA. The Bulldogs also will play a Big East team in the SEC/Big East Challenge and has dates scheduled against USC and Georgia Tech.
"Do we need another high-level game?" Fox said. "Are we going to get Kentucky twice? Are we going to get Florida twice? It hasn't been decided. I'm a little frustrated we haven't decided that. I guess maybe they're waiting for us to get together at the league meeting (in Destin, Fla., late this month) to get our two cents."
So the Bulldogs are unlikely to fill out the one or two remaining dates on their non conference schedule until Fox is sure what he is dealing with in conference play.
For more on Georgia Basketball check out Dawg Sports.
One year after scrapping divisional play, SEC Basketball will once again be making a change as the league revamps its schedule as it officially incorporates both Missouri and Texas A&M into an expected 18 game slate. The conference schedule could be released at any time but could be held until the conference meetings in Destin Florida scheduled for later this month.
The Bulldogs' non conference slate is starting to take shape however and it figures to be challenging which has become a staple under Mark Fox's leadership. Georgia will play in the Legends Classic beginning on November 11 with the first two games being played in Athens with the semifinals to be played at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. The pairings have yet to be announced but Georgia, UCLA, Georgetown and Indiana are all scheduled to participate.
Georgia will have home dates this season against Jacksonville, East Tennessee State, Florida A&M, Mercer and USC who is scheduled to make a return date to Athens. The Bulldogs will also participate again the SEC/Big East Challenge although that matchup has yet to be announced. The annual series with Georgia Tech will have the Bulldogs visiting Atlanta this season.
For more on Georgia Basketball head over to Dawg Sports.
The Georgia Bulldogs basketball team will open the 2012-13 season against Jacksonville University.
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