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Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Hoops Preps for Another Big Game

Big game for the Georgia basketball team tonight at Stegeman as the Dawgs host No. 23 Ole Miss.

I have a story in today's Telegraph about how Georgia has made steps in the right direction, but they're hardly satisfied.

CBS Sports has a good profile of the work Mark Fox has done to get this team turned around and pointed in the right direction.

And the Banner-Herald profiles Georgia's new human highlight reel, Mr. Travis Leslie. (And if you haven't seen the dunk at Kentucky yet... what are you waiting for? Of course, don't forget about the one against Tech last week either.)

Here's a bit more of what a few of the Dawgs had to say about the current state of Georgia hoops...

Mark Fox on his reaction to UGA's performance against Kentucky...
“I told them in the middle of the game that I was proud of the fact they were competing toe to toe, that they’d gone 30-plus minutes throwing punches, taking punches and throwing some more. The next step for us is to be able to finish it. We ran out of gas because I didn’t play our bench enough, but our bench has to play better so they can play more. The bottom line is we got beat and we don’t believe in moral victories. There’s another level you have to get to so you can win games like this.”

Fox on his expectations for the team during a 3-game stretch vs. top-25 foes...

“I thought we were going to win at Kentucky. I’m not going to lie. I thought that was a game we could win, the timing and the way that it fill. So if we can win and be 2-1, we’ll take that. But you’ll always say, ‘Dang it, we could be 3-0.’”

Dustin Ware on building confidence...
“I think we’ve learned something about ourselves in the Kentucky game with the type of resilience we showed. I think we all thought with some time we could become a very good team, and I think it’s starting to come around.”

Ware on the team's perceptions of its season...
“Our goals have never changed, never been altered. We always wanted to be great, and that’s still our goal, still what we’re striving for.”

Ware on the Kentucky game...
“We didn’t get the win, so we really didn’t accomplish anything, so it’s on to the next one for us.”

Ware on Ole Miss...
“They have a lot of weapons and that’s something we’ll have to be conscious about when we’re out on the floor. But if we come out and play hard, hopefully we can make it interesting.”

Albert Jackson on what the team has learned so far...
“I think we learned how tough we are and that we can play with any competition. We’ve overcome a lot more challenges and we’re a lot better team than people expected us to be – maybe even more than some people on our team truly believed. Sometimes you have to see it to believe it, and I think everybody truly sees it now, and that just makes us work even harder in everything we do.”

Jackson on what the big performances mean for younger players...
“It’s huge for them to see the fruits of their labor. As a young player, that’s all you see is the results. You don’t really see how the little things lead to the results. So you have to see some success like that to see what you really can do and how much you really have grown.”

Jackson on this year vs. last year...
“At this point in time last year it’s when we went downhill. This year, I think it’s the point we’re starting to uplift ourselves. Last year we weren’t prepared for SEC play and now I think the sky is the limit for us. But it’s all on us how good we do.”

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

GATA, Dawgs!! I'll be watching, and cheering on Fox's Hounds on TV tonight. It's times like this I really wish I lived closer to Athens. I hope that everyone that is close enough to get to that game tonight takes the time to support the Bulldogs. This season could be the start of something big at Stegeman Coliseum.

After seeing what they were able to do at Rupp Arena, and what they were ALMOST able to do at Rupp Arena, I won't be counting them out ever again.

Eray said...

I'll be in the middle of Ole Miss country, screaming my head off for my Dawgs in the middle of a sports bar. GATA.

Rob said...

You know, I think one of the most refreshing things about reading a column like this is being able to see that the players actually believe in themselves. It's really nice to see that they have confidence and you can truly tell that the team is on the road to better and better things.

The absolute best thing about this interview, though, came from Mark Fox, when he said "We ran out of gas because I didn't play our bench enough, but our bench has to play better so they can play more." It's wonderful to have a coach who actually gives a reason as to why a team lost, while at the same time taking responsibility (albeit not completely) for why it happened. Perhaps the football Mark could take a pointer or two from the basketball Mark in that respect. Either way, Go Dawgs!

Anonymous said...

Off topic question here for Hale:

I saw your tweet about the University of Delaware and an econ degree. You got an econ degree from Delaware? Just curious, but how did you get into sports journalism after that?

Eray said...

I'm 500 miles away, so I was stuck to a barstool surrounded by Ole Miss fans. However, I'd like to know...for the few people who actually went to the game, do they know it's ok to cheer the first 39 minutes?

Anthony said...

Eray, I'm a student and was at the game tonight. I wish I could answer your question positively, but thats exactly what I was wondering. When I'd stand up after big plays and start making some noise, people would ask me to sit down. This team is definitely getting better, and tonight was a tough loss. But these crowds have got to get into the games, for the WHOLE game. I was extremely disappointed with the students, but the team played well and was in a position to win. They just couldn't pull it off. Soon, they'll start closing the games out.

Eray said...

Hey Anthony, I hate to hear your response, but as long as there are students and others like you around, it will get better. After I got home last night, CMF's old Nevada team was on tv. Man--I only watched the first half, but that crowd was pumped.

I know UGA is a football first school, but I really like the direction Fox is taking the team. As I texted from my barstool last night w/ another old alum like me, he's definitely got something good going on there.

Actually, you reminded me of something. I went to the MS State vs. UF football game this year. I was even wearing a MS State sweatshirt just to fit in with the home team crowd and share my hatred of Gators (and my brother-in-law...lol). Believe it or not, I was asked to sit down by the MSU fans while cheering for THEIR team! God, please don't let UGA crowds get like that!

Having said all that, I'm only about 2 hours from Stark-vegas. I may head up there this weekend to see if I can get in for the game. I'll be the one standing up.