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Grammy Awards 2019: Backstage with Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R. and more
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Grammy Awards 2019: Backstage with Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R. and more

2019 Grammy Awards Top Winners

Grammy Awards 2019: Backstage with Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R. and more

There was no shortage of activity taking place on the Grammy stage Sunday night – Motown tributes, Havana reproductions and Diana Ross in a billowing red dress wishing herself a happy 75th birthday a month in advance.

>> On AJC.com: Grammy Awards: Ladies rule and Childish Gambino makes history

But backstage was a steady stream of winners who were happy to chat about the new hardware they were taking home from the 61st annual Grammy Awards.

>> Read more trending news 

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Kacey Musgraves accepts the Best Country Album award for 'Golden Hour' onstage during the 61st annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles, California.
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Grammy Awards 2019: Ladies rule and Childish Gambino makes history

Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Kacey Musgraves accepts the Best Country Album award for 'Golden Hour' onstage during the 61st annual GRAMMY Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles, California.

Kacey Musgraves

Quadruple winner Kacey Musgraves, still wearing her short, red billowy dress, managed to cultivate tremendous critical success with her album of the year winner “Golden Hour” with barely any radio support. And she’s OK with that.

“To me, radio isn’t necessarily the mark of what makes good music. That’s not what I had in mind when I was making this album. It’s been incredible to see it do some really wild, gratifying, unbelievable things. Streaming has been a big part of it; my team working really hard; my publicist working his [expletive] off; my band and road family working very hard. Ultimately, I feel like it lets me know it doesn’t matter where someone hears your music – it’s if they connect or not.”

Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Brandi Carlile accepts the award for best American roots performance for "The Joke" at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.
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Grammy Awards 2019: Backstage with Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R. and more

Photo Credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Brandi Carlile accepts the award for best American roots performance for "The Joke" at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.

Brandi Carlile

Brandi Carlile, an Americana gem just recently getting the deserved attention, said her award-winning song, “The Joke” (also one of the most robust performances of the Grammy ceremony) was a last-minute addition to her “By the Way, I Forgive You” album.

“It was spurred on by the taunting of (producer) David Cobb. He said I didn’t have a vocal moment as profound since (2007’s) ‘The Story.’ Once I got to thinking about it, it raised the bar for me … The song is about redemption and hope. It’s not about complacency – it’s a call to action.”

Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
H.E.R. accepts the award for best R&B album for "H.E.R." at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.
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Grammy Awards 2019: Backstage with Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R. and more

Photo Credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
H.E.R. accepts the award for best R&B album for "H.E.R." at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.

H.E.R.

To many viewers, the Grammys served as their introduction to H.E.R. But even those casually familiar with her R&B stylings might have been surprised at the level of her guitar playing.

Her first guitar was a gift from her father – a Fender – who taught her the blues pentatonic scale.

“Prince was definitely an inspiration,” she said. “And Eric Clapton. I used to watch his concert DVDs in my house all the time. And Jimi Hendrix, too.”

Although she won her first career Grammys – best R&B performance (“Best Part”) and best R&B album (“H.E.R.”) for what is technically an EP, she will be “dropping my debut album sometime soon.”

Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Rashida Jones (left), Alan Hicks and Paula DuPré Pesmen accept Best Music Film for 'Quincy' at the premiere ceremony during the 61st annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.
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Grammy Awards 2019: Backstage with Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R. and more

Photo Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
Rashida Jones (left), Alan Hicks and Paula DuPré Pesmen accept Best Music Film for 'Quincy' at the premiere ceremony during the 61st annual Grammy Awards at Staples Center on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.

Rashida Jones

With a win for the documentary “Quincy” (best music film), Quincy Jones now possesses the record for the most Grammy Awards – 28 – among living artists (he is now one ahead of previous record holder, Alison Krauss).

Jones’ daughter, actress Rashida, was one of the directors of the film and said she learned to relax about his workaholic tendencies.

“I knew a lot about him, but I got a sense of his patterns, how he works himself to the brink and doesn’t kill himself and then comes back in another decade. It was almost a relief to me. Watching him work himself really hard is a difficult thing to watch, but seeing him do it time and time again was a relief to me.”

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Toni Cornell, from left, Christopher Nicholas Cornell, the children of late rocker Chris Cornell, accept a Grammy on his behalf.
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Grammy Awards 2019: Backstage with Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R. and more

Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Toni Cornell, from left, Christopher Nicholas Cornell, the children of late rocker Chris Cornell, accept a Grammy on his behalf.

Chris Cornell's children

The late Chris Cornell was honored with a win “When Bad Does Good” (best rock performance) and his sweet kids, Toni and Christopher, mustered the fortitude to accept the award on his behalf and then come talk to the press about him. 

On stage at the premiere ceremony, Christopher, 13, eloquently read, “He was one of the greatest poets of his time, whose voice and soaring, unforgettable vocals made him the voice of a generation.”

Christopher was joined by sister Toni, 14, and backstage she acknowledged the difficulty of the circumstances. 

“Obviously we miss him so much. We saw him work on this (box set, where the song resides) so hard. He was always working on his music. It’s really sad that he couldn’t be there himself to accept it for something he worked so hard on. It was bittersweet. We’re so proud of him.”

Cornell took his own life in May 2017.

Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Yebba and PJ Morton pose with their award at the 61st annual Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony at Microsoft Theater on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.
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Grammy Awards 2019: Backstage with Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R. and more

Photo Credit: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for The Recording Academy
Yebba and PJ Morton pose with their award at the 61st annual Grammy Awards Premiere Ceremony at Microsoft Theater on Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.

PJ Morton

PJ Morton, an Atlanta resident and Morehouse College alum, tied with Leon Bridges in the best traditional R&B performance category (he won for “How Deep is Your Love” with Yebba) and talked about his exhaustion from playing the Super Bowl halftime show with Maroon 5 last weekend and preparing for the Grammys a few days later. He also discussed balancing his solo career with playing keyboards in the band.

“I’m about to fall over right now,” he said with a laugh, “It can be a challenge sometimes, but I always tell people it’s a good problem to have. I’ve been blessed to be part of many successful things. I just make it happen. It’s been almost nine years now (since he joined Maroon 5), so I’ve gotten into a rhythm of when (singer) Adam (Levine) is taping ‘The Voice’ and I can (go do my solo thing) and tour.”

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Buddy Guy arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.
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Grammy Awards 2019: Backstage with Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R. and more

Photo Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP
Buddy Guy arrives at the 61st annual Grammy Awards at the Staples Center on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles.

Buddy Guy

Buddy Guy, 82, won his seventh career Grammy for “The Blues is Alive and Well” (best traditional blues album).

Backstage, in his black tux and beret, Guy lamented the current state of blues music.

“They’ve been treating blues like a stepchild the past 20 to 30 years. You don’t hear blues being played on your radio much anymore. I don’t know what it is that make them don’t play it anymore,” he said. “Blues music is about good times or bad times … nothing is going to stop me from playing the blues.”

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Dua Lipa accepts the award for best new artist at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. Looking on at right is presenter Bob Newhart.
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Grammy Awards 2019: Backstage with Kacey Musgraves, Brandi Carlile, H.E.R. and more

Photo Credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP
Dua Lipa accepts the award for best new artist at the 61st annual Grammy Awards on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2019, in Los Angeles. Looking on at right is presenter Bob Newhart.

Dua Lipa

Best new artist winner Dua Lipa explained the genesis of her playful Grammy performance with St. Vincent (Annie Clark).

“We just jelled really well. We got in a room together and hashed out our ideas,” she said. “The great thing about it, I already made a good friend. She’s extremely talented and so open to different ideas. It was really cool that we got to coordinate everything we did. 

Dua Lipa also said she’s finishing a new album, but is “trying to keep it a secret for as long as” she can. 

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Local News

  • The University of Georgia gymnastics team begins competition in the NCAA Finals: the Gym Dogs are taking part in the tournament set for this weekend in Fort Worth Texas.  “We’re peaking at the right time,” says Georgia coach Courtney Kupets Carter. Oklahoma is ranked first going into the tournament. UGA is eighth.
  • A Newton County fine arts teacher faces two felonies for allegedly sexually assaulting students last month, authorities said. Christopher Ehren Matyas, born in 1980, of Covington, was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of sexual assault by persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority, according to a sheriff’s office arrest report. He was a teacher at Alcovy High School, and both school employees and students reported the alleged sexual assaults on March 22, according to the police report obtained by Channel 2 Action News. Newton County School District spokeswoman Sherri Davis sent the news station a statement that said, in part:  “School officials launched an investigation and immediately reported the allegations to local law enforcement. Mr. Matyas was removed from the classroom setting and placed on leave during the course of the investigation. He will not return to the classroom.” He’s out of jail on a $16,700 bond, records show.
  • A White County judge denies bond for Mitch Simpson. The former Cleveland car dealer closed his auto lot earlier this year; he was arrested in March on theft charges.From WSB TV…   A north Georgia car dealer was denied bond Thursday in what’s now being described as a more than $2 million fraud and theft case, prompted by a Channel 2 investigation. Mitch Simpson was arrested and charged with three counts of felony theft by conversion late last month. They were tied to unpaid state vehicle taxes in which nearly 60 buyers say they paid Mitch Simpson Motors for their purchases, but their TAVT taxes were left unpaid and their titles were never delivered. Those purchases spanned a time period between late 2018 and early 2019, right before the Cleveland dealership shut its doors, and the buyers came to Channel 2 after unsuccessful attempts to contact Simpson. Soon the Georgia Department of Revenue began working with the White County Sheriff’s Office and state Attorney General’s Office to investigate the case. On Thursday, the Georgia DOR filed two additional theft charges in the case and argued against bond in Simpson’s case. A prosecutor revealed a much larger, complex case while highlighting Simpson’s 2011 federal conviction in a car loan scam. He served probation in the case, while several other co-defendants went to federal prison. In addition to $385,000 in unpaid vehicle taxes that were collected, prosecutors say Simpson failed to pay multiple floor planning companies $780,000 for vehicles they financed. Those companies essentially act as a bank for car dealerships, lending them the money to provide inventory on car lots. In a third tier of the ongoing investigation, prosecutors allege Simpson double and sometimes triple-financed the same vehicle through the lenders, pocketing about $1.3 million. Simpson’s attorney hit back at those allegations after a state investigator told the court Simpson’s personal bank records had been subpoenaed but not yet analyzed. Search warrants netted titles and documents from Simpson’s Habersham County home, as investigators say evidence was taken out of the car dealership building. “He has a compelling story, and there are certainly issues with the state’s case,” defense attorney Jeff Wolff told Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr. Wolff highlighted in court that Simpson simply managed the namesake lot and that it was owned by his former in-laws.  No one else has been charged in the case, and employees of McGregor Financial, the dealership’s in-house financing company, have cooperated with investigators. They’ve maintained their role was financing and Simpson had access to accounts and paid the bills, according to investigators’ testimony. “It was an underfunded business,” Wolff said. “And that’s a large gap between an underfunded business and criminal enterprise.” About a half-dozen friends and family members served as character witnesses for Simpson, arguing against a notion that he’d serve as a flight risk in this case. Perhaps his strongest supporter was his 86-year-old mother, Elsie Hogan, who said Simpson never had a desire to leave his north Georgia roots, even when he faced trouble in his earlier federal case. “He says he’ll never fly until he gets his wings and goes to heaven,” Hogan said. Hogan also revealed she’d used yard sale money to pay for Simpson’s heart medication while he was in jail. She pushed back against any suggestion that he’d profited from stolen car lot funds. “He has no money at all. He has nothing. He has nothing, sir,” Hogan said, answering Wolff’s questions. Nonetheless, Superior Court Judge Joy Parks ruled against bond in the case, citing the complexity and seriousness of the newly-revealed allegations. A grand jury is set to convene in June. The good news for Simpson’s car buyers is that they are receiving their titles. Fifty-three of the car buyers affected are from Georgia, and the state says it worked with those floor planning companies to get the missing titles. “We've been able to obtain 52 (titles) with the help of the Attorney General's Office. It's been a great win for us,” said Josh Waites, director of special investigations for the Georgia Department of Revenue. The department says it continues to receive complaints tied to purchases from Simpson. Outside of court, car buyers Paul Cleiman and Justin Mathis thanked Channel 2 for exposing the case. Both men have either received titles or expect them any day after four months of uncertainty. “It’s been a long battle,” said Mathis. “We appreciate you, Nicole. We wouldn’t be here today without you.” 'I don’t think it was getting any attention until you stepped in and got the Department of Revenue involved,” Cleiman said. “We need justice, and I think that’s been served today for now.”
  • Three building renovation projects at University of Georgia win awards from the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation. UGA’s Russell Hall, the HH Tift Building, and the Agricultural Research Building are recognized for rehabilitation and sustainability efforts. From UGA Media Relations…   Russell Hall University Housing’s Russell Hall, which is the residence to about a thousand students, went through a 15-month renovation and reopened in August 2018.   The updated student rooms include individual modernized climate control and flexible room furnishings and there is increased bathroom privacy and lounge spaces to encourage group interaction.   At over 230,000 square feet, Russell Hall is the largest comprehensive historic building renovation at the University of Georgia and serves as a model of sustainable historic preservation — all of the worn building systems were replaced with new modern efficient ones, new high-performance windows were installed, the roof was replaced, and various exterior repairs were performed including reworking brick sills and lintels.   The building’s renovated interior preserves a unique mid-century aesthetic, such as the original ­terrazzo floors in the lobby, and it also includes at least 10% Georgia-based materials.   “We’ve taken a building with good bones and transformed it to a modern-use residence hall that will stand the test of time for another 50 years,” said University Housing Director of Facilities Gary Thompson.   Agricultural Research Building The Agricultural Research Building, which was rededicated in April 2018, is an 81-year-old building that was the second structure built on the UGA Tifton campus.   Renovations to the building included the addition of high-efficiency LED lighting, extensive fiber-optic cable and wireless internet capabilities. The building retains many of its original features, including restored steel windows.   Renovations to the 12,000-square-foot structure, which was built in 1938, were made possible by $5 million in state support. The building houses the UGA College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences Department of Animal and Dairy Science and Department of Entomology.   H.H. Tift Building Included as part of the same award is the H.H. Tift Building, which was rededicated in September 2016 after its renovation.   The Tift Building, which was built in 1922 and was the UGA Tifton campus’s first structure, was funded by $5 million in state support. The facility houses the Department of Agricultural and Applied Economics as well as administrative offices, including the assistant dean’s office. The renovated building also contains modern classroom space to provide faculty and students with the latest in learning technology.   The Tift Building complements the campus’s vital research enterprise, which is recognized worldwide for scientific discoveries related to agricultural commodities such as cotton, peanuts, pecans, turf grass and vegetables.   “The results of the renovations have exceeded even our highest expectations,” said Joe West, assistant dean for the UGA Tifton campus. “When you undertake major renovation you expect challenges, financial and otherwise. Our team did an excellent job of dealing with unexpected challenges, was fiscally responsible and gave us these wonderful results. They’re everything we dreamed they would be.”   Founded in 1973, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation is one of the country’s leading statewide, nonprofit preservation organizations. The Trust works for the preservation and revitalization of Georgia’s diverse historic resources and advocates their appreciation, protection and use.
  • Sophomore Emerson Hancock pitched eight shutout innings with 11 strikeouts and no walks to lead fifth-ranked Georgia over No. 21 Missouri 3-0 Thursday at Foley Field.   Hancock (7-2) faced just one over the minimum and retired 19 of the final 20 batters he faced. Junior Zac Kristofak pitched the ninth for his fourth save on the year as the Bulldogs improved to 31-8 overall and 11-5 in the SEC. The Tigers fall to 26-13-1 overall and 7-8-1 in the SEC.   Georgia junior Tucker Maxwell led off the bottom of the sixth with a bunt single to second which marked Georgia’s first hit off Jacob Cantelberry. Then, sophomore Riley King took followed with an RBI double to left field, scoring Maxwell. Junior Aaron Schunk singled to right field advancing King to third. With two on and one out, senior LJ Talley made it 2-0 on a sacrifice fly to center field. Graduate John Cable entered the game to pinch hit for Austin Biggar and delivered a run-scoring double to extend Georgia’s lead to 3-0.   Cantleberry took the loss, falling to 3-3. He allowed three runs on three hits with seven strikeouts over 5.1 innings.  Dawg Tracks   Sophomore RHP Emerson Hancock matched his career high for innings pitched with eight shutout innings and 11 strikeouts. He improved to 7-2 with a 1.04 ERA on the year.  Graduate John Cable smacked a pinch-hit RBI double.  Junior Zac Kristofak now has 10 career saves to go with 10 career wins after pitching the ninth to collect a save.   Coach's Corner Ike Cousins Head Baseball Coach Scott StricklinOn pitcher Emerson Hancock…“He was awfully good. He threw eight innings, faced one over the minimum. Three baserunners got on, and we got two guys off, picked one off, and threw one out stealing. You can’t be much better than that through eight innings with 11 strikeouts, and no walks. He made them uncomfortable in the batter’s box. With a fastball up to 96, he can throw inside and some changeups and sliders. He’s awfully tough.”   On what he told the team prior to the game… “Well, just to be focused. It’s natural to be a little bit fatigued. The day after the day. Tuesday night into Wednesday morning, and we played six and a half hours of baseball. A lot of these guys had some heavy legs. We were really light on them yesterday, and we were lighter today pregame than we normally are, trying to get some of those legs back. So, just to be as focused as can be because we knew Emerson was going to be locked in. He didn’t play on Tuesday, so we knew he’d be just fine, but just to make sure that we’re focused. Pitch and play defense, then find a way to score some runs.”   On scoring today… It was huge. Emerson has two losses and a no decision in the league, and he really easily could have nine wins. He’s just been awfully good, so great to get him a win. Tucker Maxwell got us going with that bunt, and we kind of went from there. We got some momentum. Heck, he [Missouri pitcher] was no hitting us into the sixth inning. Tucker leads off with a bunt, and we put some hits together and scored some runs.   Player's Perspective  Sophomore RF Riley King On playing after Tuesday’s 20—inning game… “I don’t think we prepared any differently after Tuesday’s game. Baseball is baseball and we just want to come out and treat every game like opening day. It was a long game, but we knew that we had to wake up and come back at it again.” On the 3-run inning… “It was huge for us to give Emerson Hancock some run support. He’s always out there doing his thing and staying consistent. But having Tucker Maxwell get that leadoff base hit was really the push we needed. Seeing hits makes it contagious for the dugout and really got us all going.' Sophomore RHP Emerson HancockOn the defense... “I was just trying to get ahead of them and let the defense make plays. They always show up for me in big games and tonight was nothing different.” On having run insurance... “Anytime I see the guys lock in on the other pitcher I always feel like I can settle a little bit more. I just try to get our guys in and out of the dugout as quick as I possibly can so we can have some runs.” Up Next  Georgia will continue the SEC series against No. 21 ranked Missouri in Athens Friday at 7 p.m. (SEC Network+)

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Georgia baseball clamped down on Missouri on Thursday night a Foley Field, scoring a 3-0 victory. The Bulldogs, apparently, had plenty of energy left after Tuesday night’s record-setting 3-2 win over Clemson in 20 innings. RELATED: Slap-happy Bulldogs outlast Clemson in marathon game Not that sophomore pitching ace Emerson Hancock (7-2) needed a tremendous amount of help. Hancock, who throws a 96 mph fastball, fanned 11 batters in eight inning, allowing three hits and walking none as the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (31-8, 11-5 SEC) topped the Tiger. Zac Kristofak pitched a scoreless ninth to get the save. Georgia plays host to No. 21-ranked Missouri (26-13-1, 7-8-1) at 7 p.m. on Friday before closing the three-game set at noon on Saturday. “(Hancock) was awfully good, he threw eight innings, faced one over the minimum,” UGA coach Scott Stricklin said in a release. “ Three baserunners got on, and we got two guys off, picked one off, and threw one out stealing.” Stricklin said it was only natural his team did have some carryover fatigue from the Clemson game. “A lot of these guys had some heavy legs,” Stricken said. “We were really light on them yesterday, and we were lighter today pregame than we normally are, trying to get some of those legs back.” The Bulldogs got their bats going in the sixth inning when Tucker Maxwell led off with a bunt single, breaking up Jacob Cantelberry’s bid for a no-hitter. Riley King followed with a double to left, scoring Maxwell. LJ Talley hit an RBI sac fly and John Cable delivered a pinch-hit RBI double that made it 3-0. “Having Tucker Maxwell get that leadoff base hit was really the push we needed,” King said. “Seeing hits makes it contagious for the dugout and really got us all going.” Missouri coach Steve Bieser gave proper credit to Hancock. “Georgia’s Emerson Hancock took control and threw the ball really well all the way through the game,” Bieser said. “He kept us off-balance.” Georgia baseball notes • Hancock matched his career high with the eight shutout innings pitched and 11 strikes. His ERA dropped to a gaudy 1.04 on the season. • Kristofak has 10 career saves along with 10 career wins after working the ninth on Thursday night. Georgia baseball stats The post No. 5 Georgia baseball bats awaken in sixth, Emerson Hancock shuts down Missouri appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia coach Tom Crean gave an assist to the Bulldogs’ fans after landing the No. 7-ranked signing group in the 2019 class. McDonald’s All-American Anthony “Antman” Edwards, the nation’s No 1-ranked shooting guard coming out of Holy Spirit Prep School in Atlanta, chose UGA in part to stay close to his loved ones. RELATED: Georgia lands Fab Four in Top 100 class, Crean says ‘we’re not done’ But Edwards was also inspired by the Bulldogs’ 98-88 upset over eventual NIT champion Texas in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge, Crean revealed. Many viewed it as Crean getting Sugar Bowl revenge on the Longhorns’ program. But Edwards also attended the game that day, and the energy that the capacity crowd brought to Stegeman Coliseum played into the elite prospect’s decision making. RELATED: Georgia basketball rips Texas 98-88 amid electric environment “I think win or lose in that game, the atmosphere was incredible, and there was a lot of passion and juice,” Crean said at his spring signing day press conference on Thursday. “The fact we did win and score those kinds of points against a team like that was helpful. “But the atmosphere in this situation was probably one of the biggest determining things.” Georgia basketball set a single season attendance record despite an 11-21 finish, and the Texas game was one of seven sellouts. The Bulldogs’ top recruits, like the fans, took note of the grit and resiliency Crean was building in close losses to NCAA teams like Auburn (78-75), Ole Miss (72-71), LSU (83-79) and Mississippi State (68-67). “Building that level of resiliency, and building that level of toughness, and that level of belief and care, that’s the same thing you’re trying to get across to recruits,” Crean said. “The fact that people could see the way we were competing and coming back time and time again, when it didn’t go as well, they see this is a team that’s improving. “We try to get across to them that we’re not recruiting to try to get in the hunt — we’re not trying to recruit to get a little bit better — we’re recruiting to be all the way in.” The Georgia basketball fans did their part as Crean and his staff was doing theirs on the recruiting trail, and it helped lead to the highest ranked recruiting class in program history. Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean The post WATCH: Tom Crean credits Georgia basketball fans with assist for Top 10 class appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS —  I called James Banks Thursday morning. You’d have thought I was talking to a kid on Christmas morning about the awesome gift he’d just opened under the tree. “Oh, man, I’m excited. I’m ecstatic. I’m beyond ecstatic,” said Banks, star of Georgia’s 1983 Final Four basketball team. “I’m as excited as I was when we went to the Final Four, and I’m not being facetious about that.” Banks I’d barely gotten my question out of my mouth — what’d you think about the Bulldogs landing The Antman? — when Banks launched into this enlivened soliloquy. “Great player. Great kid. The real deal,” Banks said of the nation’s No. 2-rated overall prospect, also known as Anthony Edwards. “Can get to the rim anytime he wants to. He’s a pro for sure.” Banks went on. He said he wasn’t excited just about Antman. It was about the 2019 recruiting class overall. It was about second-year coach Tom Crean. “I really think he’s got this program heading in the right direction,” Banks said. It would appear so. Georgia’s 2019 class is currently ranked No. 7 nationally. Edwards, a 6-foot-4 guard who’s considered the No. 1 overall recruit in America by a 247Sports.com, is obviously cream of the crop. But the Bulldogs also signed three other Top 100 players. On Wednesday, the first day of the spring signing period for basketball, they added No. 62-ranked Christian Brown, a 6-foot-6 forward from Oak Hill Academy. They’re added to a list that already included Jaykwon Walton and Toumani Camara, who signed with the Bulldogs during the early signing period in November. Both 6-6 wings, they’re ranked 69th and 96th, respectively, in 247Sports’ composite. It’s sum total of that group that has Banks pumped. It reminds him of what the Bulldogs did in the early 1980s under coach Hugh Durham. Everybody remembers that Georgia signed Dominique Wilkins during that time. The man who would become known as “The Human Highlight Film remains the greatest recruit the Bulldogs have ever signed, Antman included (for now at least). But that was not the greatest recruiting class Georgia would sign. That would be the 1980 group that Durham landed the year after Wilkins’ arrival that catapulted the Bulldogs to that incredible run in 1983. “Derrick Floyd was an All-American; Lamar Heard was an All-American; Terry Fair was the No. 1 player in the state,” said Banks, who was also a McDonald’s All-American coming out of Atlanta that year. “So that was the nucleus of that team. Of course, Dominique had gotten there the year before us. But Coach Durham sold us on starting a tradition instead of being part of a tradition. We all bought into that, and that gave us a nucleus of good guys, good people first, but outstanding players. Coach Crean is following that same formula.” Banks said he’s trying not to get ahead himself, but he sees similar potential in this group. The Bulldogs expect to have 6-11 forward Nicolas Claxton back next year, as well as 6-8 Rayshaun Hammonds and 6-9 Amanze Ngumezi. Add this class of multi-skilled, outside-shooting, ball-handling, rim-rattling prospects led by Edwards, and Banks sees Georgia becoming immediately competitive on national level. And not just for a minute, mind you, but for a while. “I really like Coach Crean,” said Banks, a 14-year European pro who now coaches girls’ basketball at Athens Academy. “I really like what he’s doing and how he’s doing it. I like his spirit, his energy, his passion about what he’s doing. He’s just really doing things the right way. He’s doing a wonderful job of recruiting this state and recruiting period. You could say I’m a Tom Crean fan.” Banks said Crean has reached out to and embraced former lettermen like himself, past players who experienced great basketball success at Georgia. Crean is the keynote speaker tonight at The Classic Center for the annual Steak & Steak Dinner to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Athens. Floyd, also of that ’83 team, is the director of operations for that organization. The event is sold out. Banks said he made an impromptu visit to one of the Bulldogs’ practices earlier this year. He said Crean stopped the workout and had the entire team come over to shake his hand and thank him for what he did for Georgia basketball. “That’s why I’m so excited, to be honest with you,” Banks said. “I think Coach Crean and his staff are committed to making this program great and embracing anything and everything he can to make that happen.” A collection of former high school All-Americans helped lift Georgia to its one and only Final Four appearance in 1983 in Albuquerque, N.M. (UGA file) Of course, that starts and ends with getting great players. And while Georgia has always signed talented basketball players, like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Trey Thompkins and Jarvis Hayes, it’s the ability to land several at a time and get them to blend together and play well as a team that translates into winning on a high level and competing for championships That’s what Georgia has done whenever it has had its pockets of success over the years. The run to the Sweet 16 under Tubby Smith in 1996 started with the core group of Shandon Anderson, Terrell Bell, Pertha Robinson and Carlos Strong. Same for the 1990 SEC Championship team, led by Rod Cole, Litterial Green, Alec Kessler and Marshall Wilson. A cynic might point out that even the great Wilkins didn’t lift the Bulldogs to a championship. It was only the year after Wilkins left early for the pros that Georgia won the SEC Tournament and made the run to the Final Four. Edwards is, of course, the closest the Bulldogs have had to Wilkins in terms of can’t miss pro potential. Right now, before he has even stepped foot the UGA campus, Edwards projects to be an NBA lottery pick in 2020. Sometimes such expectations can overshadow a team and/or throw it out of balance. To some degree that happened with Wilkins, who might take 20 or 25 shots a game. But Banks said he has spent a lot of time studying and watching Edwards, and he thinks he different. “From everything I’ve seen, (Edwards is) a great team player,” Banks said. “He obviously can shoot and score, but he handles the ball so well and passes so well and can do a lot of other things to make everybody on the team better.” The biggest key to success, Banks said, is going to be the coaching and leadership of Crean. And in Crean, Banks believes. “That’s all about the coach, and Crean knows how to handle that,” Banks said. “He did a wonderful job with Dwayne Wade and Victor Oladipo. He’s coached guys who could flat out play the game. He knows how to coach them into being a great teammate and making their teammates better. That will help Antman become a great pro. I have the utmost confidence in coach Crean getting it done in that aspect. He’s done that before.” Meshing together is what Georgia did so well that magical season of 1982-83. With the point guard named Vern Fleming from New York City leading the way with 16.9 points per game, the Bulldogs had four players average in double figures and they pretty much beat all comers on the backboards. That got landed them an SEC Tournament championship and got them past the likes of St. Johns and North Carolina on the way to the 1983 Final Four in Albuquerque, N.M. With Antman out front and Crean on the sideline Banks thinks such heights are possible again. The key, he said, is in the blending. “Players in the locker room, they always know who’s that dude,” Banks said. “We were some dudes, but we knew who the dude really was. You practice with those guys every day, so there’s no mistaking that. Antman is that dude. But it’s got to be about the team and playing for one another and that’s where leadership comes in.” Banks said he thinks Georgia now has “the dude” and “the coach.” “So I can’t wait,” Banks said, almost giddy now. “I’m excited. I hope I don’t have to miss a game this year ’cause I really think this is gonna be a lot of fun.” Take a look at this “Day in the Life of Anthony Edwards” video below and you’ll get an idea of the kind of player Georgia is getting. The post James Banks, star of Georgia’s 1983 Final Four team, among the many with ‘Antman Fever’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia football will hold it’s annual G-Day Game, a spring intrasquad scrimmage. The Bulldogs are coming off an SEC East Division title and an 11-3 season. Georgia is among the favorites to win the national championship in 2019 with third-year quarterback Jake Fromm returning, along with a 1,000-yard rusher in D’Andre Swift. The Bulldogs also feature an offensive line that’s challenging to rank among the best in the nation, and perhaps recent modern era football history. RELATED: Georgia O-Line work in progress, but also, work of art Georgia has 14 early enrollees. Many of those players are competing for prominent roles this spring, including the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2019 class Nolan Smith (OLB), and the No. junior college signee in the class (Jermaine Johnson). What time is the Georgia G-Day Game? Time: The Georgia football G-Day Game is scheduled for 2 p.m. Location: The game is at Sanford Stadium in Athens, Ga. What TV Channel is the G-Day Game on? The game will be televised by the SEC Network. Who are the G-Day TV commentators? The  SEC Network commentators assigned are Maria Taylor, Matt Stinchcomb and Greg McElroy. Tom Hart will handle the play-by-play. How can I listen to the G-Day Game? The game will be broadcast on WSB 95.5 FM, 750 AM, WNGC 106.1 FM  along with other Georgia Bulldog Sport Network (IMG) radio affiliates. Scott Howard is on the play-by-play call, Eric Zeier is the color analyst, and Chuck Dowdle is the sideline reporter. Georgia G-Day Game live updates For live updates and information on the game via Twitter, follow  DawgNation writers: Chip Towers  @ChipTowersDN Jeff Sentell @JeffSentell Connor Riley @KConnorRiley Brandon Adams @DawgNationDaily Mike Griffith  @MikeGriffith32  Georgia football spring stories Defensive lineman Justin Young emerges from relative obscurity Kirby Smart looks for more out of safety Richard LeCounte Jake Fromm leads freshman QB D’Wan Mathis WATCH: Georgia lineman Ben Cleveland 100 percent after broken leg Receiver Demetris Robertson more comfortable in offense  Outland Trophy candidate Andrew Thomas all business Azeez Ojulari having strong spring at outside linebacker   The post Georgia football G-Day Game 2019: Time, TV channel, radio information appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia baseball looks to put the momentum gained from its historic 20-inning win over Clemson to use against Missouri. RELATED: Slap-happy Georgia outlasts Clemson, 3-2 The No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (30-8, 10-5) host the No. 21-ranked Tigers (26-12-1, 7-7-1) at 6 p.m. on Thursday (TV: ESPNU). “They just beat LSU in a series, and they are playing with some confidence,” UGA coach Scott Stricklin said. “So it’s going to be a tough one, for sure.” The Bulldogs will put Golden Spikes Award Award candidate Emerson Hancock (6-2, 1.18 ERA) in the circle against Missouri left-hander Jacob Cantleberry (3-2, 3.97 ERA) at Foley Field. Georgia enters the weekend tied with Mississippi State atop the SEC, enjoying their best season since the 2009 team was 31-7 at this stage of the season. UGA leads the SEC with a 2.67 ERA and .981 fielding percentage and is tops in the country in fewest hits allowed per nine innings (5.8). Georgia Baseball Notes • The Thursday night game against Missouri is one of only three remaining Georgia baseball home dates with tickets remaining. The other two are May 16 and May 17 for Alabama. • Georgia’s second game against Missouri at 7 p.m. on Friday is sold out, and the teams will conclude the series at noon on Saturday. Student admission is first come, first serve, until their held block is full. • The all-time series between Missouri and Georgia is tied 9-9, the Bulldogs sweeping the Tigers last season in Columbia. Georgia baseball Baseball Bulldogs look for sweep of Clemson Georgia back on track, tops Tennessee 7-1 Georgia baseball fights to avoid sweep in Knoxville Bulldogs suffer series opening crazy loss at Tennessee Georgia baseball puts No. 2 ranking on line at Rocky Top Miraculous recoveries spark Bulldogs baseball program Bulldogs sting Yellow Jackets in 12-2 blowout at Foley Field   The post No. 5 Georgia baseball braces for No. 21 Missouri: ‘going to be a tough one’ appeared first on DawgNation.