Georgia Basketball coach Mark Fox answered questions for the media on Thursday in Hoover, Alabama as a part of the conference's annual media blitz prior to the start of hoops season. The Bulldogs made the NCAA tournament last season but aren't picked to replicate that success thanks to the early departures of Travis Leslie and Trey Thompkins to the NBA.
Fox addressed those concerns and while acknowledging them, he isn't prepared to use the team's youthful state as an excuse.
"We did lose two great players and there's no hiding that fact. We're a little younger than we planned on being, maybe not as mature physically or as experienced as we planned on, but there are some advantages to being young: we just have to find them.
Coach Fox is also putting a lot of emphasis on defense as always and says that it is important to "put a premium on being a defensive team" although he admits that is still a work in progress. He indicated that the 2011-12 team is smaller and quicker than last year's team so he sees the possibility of mixing more pressure and the ability to extend the defense into the game plan this go around.
On the SEC returning to power in basketball this season:
"SEC basketball is terrific. We have at least four teams ranked, and there should be at least five in the top ten. Any time your league has a handful of teams that are legitimate contenders for a Final Four, you have a great basketball league. Kentucky's going to have a great team, and Vanderbilt's going to have a great team. There's going to be a lot of great teams and I don't think you can focus on just one of them. I think that the league now has some real quality and depth to it."
In recent seasons the conference has been top heavy with a couple of really good teams and not much else. This season the SEC shapes up to have much more balance. Fox hopes that his team becomes a part of that conversation.
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