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Dogs vs Mizzou to open SEC tourney

Dogs vs Mizzou to open SEC tourney

Dogs vs Mizzou to open SEC tourney

Dogs vs Mizzou to open SEC tourney

The Georgia Bulldog basketball team begins play in the Southeastern Conference tournament tonight in Nashville: the Dogs take on the Missouri Tigers in a game that tips at 7 o’clock. 

From Mike Mobley, UGA Sports Communications…

Georgia Basketball SEC Tournament Game Notes

Georgia (11-20, 2-16 SEC) vs. Missouri (14-16, 5-13 in SEC)

Wednesday, March 13, at 7:00 p.m. ET

Bridgestone Arena (19,395) in Nashville, Tenn.

Watch: SEC Network (Tom Hart, play-by-play; Jimmy Dykes, analyst; Laura Rutledge, sideline)

Listen: Georgia Bulldog Sports Network Flagship: WSB AM 750 Atlanta (Scott Howard, play-by-play; Chuck Dowdle, analyst; Tony Schiavone, producer)





The Starting 5…

  • UGA broke its all-time total attendance record for home games this season by drawing 148,700 fans for the Bulldogs’ 17 home outings.
  • Nicolas Claxton is one block shy of No. 6 Lavon Mercer on UGA’s single-season leaders and two from No. 10 Chris Daniels on the career list.
  • Tyree Crump and Turtle Jackson are No. 15 and No. 16, respectively, on UGA’s career 3-pointers made list, separated by a single 3FG.
  • Derek Ogbeide earned his 100th career start at S. Carolina, becoming just 7th Bulldog in the 2000s to reach that plateau.
  • UGA’s coaching staff sports a combined 80 seasons of D-I experience (Crean-28, Scott-27, Dollar-23, Abdur-Rahim-12) with 38 postseason bids



The Opening Tip

Georgia and Missouri will meet for the second time in a eight days – and for the second time in the SEC Tournament in 370 days – when they face off on Wednesday night at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville. The game will be first of the league’s 2019 postseason event.


Last season in St. Louis, the Bulldogs secured a 62-60 victory over the Tigers in the tourney’s second round behind a 21-point, 10-rebound performance from AP SEC Player of the Year Yante Maten.


Last Wednesday, the Tigers earned a 64-39 victory over the Bulldogs in Athens.



Series History With Mizzou

Georgia owns a 7-6 lead in its all-time series with Missouri, including last season’s first-ever meeting in SEC Tournament action. 


After the Tigers won the first four meetings, the Bulldogs captured the next six.



Georgia’s SEC Tourney History

Georgia sports a 47-56 all-time record in 58 editions of the SEC Tournament. 


The Bulldogs are 38-37 in SEC Tourney action since the event resumed in 1979 following a 27-year hiatus from 1953-79.


The Bulldogs won the 1983 and 2008 SEC Tournaments and finished as runners-up in 1940, 1981, 1988 and 1997. Georgia has reached the semifinals 15 times. 



Claxton Earns All-SEC Honors 

Nicolas Claxton was tabbed second-team All-SEC in balloting of league coaches announced on Tuesday.


Claxton, a 6-11, sophomore forward, from Greenville, S.C., leads the Bulldogs in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals. He also is second in assists.


Claxton ranks second in the SEC in both rebounds and blocks, as well as first in defensive rebounds and 15th in playing time. Nationally, he entered this week ranked No. 10 in blocks and No. 54 in rebounding.



Like All-SEC Father...Like All-SEC Son 

Nicolas Claxton’s dad, Charles, was an All-SEC center for Georgia in 1993.


The Claxtons are just the second father-son All-SEC tandem for the same school in league history. Vanderbilt’s Frank and Luke Kornet were All-SEC in 1989 and 2017, respectively. Arkansas also sports a father-son all-conference duo – Ron Brewer was All-SWC in 1978 and Ronnie Brewer was All-SEC in 2005.



Hammonds Has Surgery 

Rayshaun Hammonds underwent surgery on March 7 to address a fracture in his right foot. The procedure took place at Piedmont Athens Regional Medical Center.


Hammonds injured his foot during the Ole Miss game on Feb. 23 but didn’t experience any significant discomfort until two days later. He missed Auburn game on Feb. 27 but returned to play five minutes at Florida.


Hammonds’ DNP versus Auburn snapped a streak of 31 straight starts dating back to last season’s regular-season finale at Tennessee. He was averaging 12.6 ppg and 6.3 rpg, but his abbreviated outing at Florida dropped those to 12.1 ppg and 6.1 rpg. 



Dogs Solid In Challenging Stretch

Georgia completed a late-season five-game stretch against projected NCAA Tournament teams – LSU, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Auburn and Florida – with a 1-4 record...but with a scoring margin of just -3.


After losing the first four games by a combined nine points, the Bulldogs defeated Florida, 61-55, in Gainesville behind a career-high 25 points from Nicolas Claxton.


Prior to that, Georgia lost to LSU (by four points), Mississippi State (by one), Ole Miss (by one) and Auburn (by three). The last three contests were decided by last-second shots. 


The March 11 edition of ESPN’s Bracketology included LSU as a No. 2 seed, Auburn as a No. 5, Mississippi State as a No. 6, Ole Miss as a No. 9 and Florida as an No. 11.


That stretch began when Georgia pushed No. 19/21 LSU to the brink on Feb. 16 before falling, 83-79. The Bulldogs led by as many as five points midway through the second half before the Tigers surged.


On Feb. 20, Georgia rallied from a 17-point, second-half deficit to tie Mississippi State before a heart-breaking ending. Tyree Crump’s 3-pointer with 9.3 seconds remaining knotted the score at 67-67, but Quinndary Weatherspoon’s free throw with .5 of a second left provided State with the victory.


The Bulldogs dropped a second-straight one-point decision at Ole Miss on Feb. 23. Georgia fought back from a 10-point halftime deficit to force four ties and six lead changes in the second stanza. The outcome wasn’t decided until the Bulldogs’ potential game-winner was off the mark at the buzzer.


On Feb. 27, Georgia erased a 14-point, first-half Auburn lead. The second half featured two ties and eight lead changes before the Tigers pulled out the victory on an NBA range 3-pointer as the shot clock expired on their final possession of the night.


The Bulldogs finally broke through to defeat the Gators on March 2 at Exactech Arena. Georgia outscored Florida 10-5 over the final 2:54 to secure the victory.



Bulldogs Set Attendance Mark...

Georgia shattered its total attendance record at Stegeman Coliseum this season, surpassing the old mark by 9,130 fans.


Georgia drew 148,700 for its 17 home dates at Stegeman Coliseum, easily outdistancing the previous record as outlined below.


UGA Basketball Total Attendance

Rk. Season Games Total

  1. 2018-19 17 148,700
  2. 2015-16 19 139,570
  3. 2003-04 16 137,902
  4. 2006-07 18 132,048
  5. 2010-11 16 131,998



...and Have Fourth-Best Average

The Bulldogs averaged 8,747 fans this season, the fourth-best tally in school history as outlined below. Georgia had seven sellouts, including six-straight from Jan. 15-Feb. 16.


UGA Average Attendance

Rk. Season Games Avg.

  1. 2002-03 13 9,857
  2. 2001-02 13 9,064
  3. 1990-91 12 8,822
  4. 2018-19 17 8,747
  5. 1981-82 14 8,670



Series History With Mizzou

The Bulldogs are 7-6 all-time against Missouri, including a win in the first-ever SEC Tourney meeting last season.


Yante Maten scored 21 points and grabbed 10 boards to lead Georgia in a 62-60 win over the Tigers in the SEC Tourney’s second round.


That contest featured a series of runs.


Missouri opened the day by scoring the game’s first 10 points, before Georgia responded with a 19-2 surge to gain control.


The Bulldogs led 33-24 at the half and extended that margin to a dozen points on a Turtle Jackson 3-pointer to open the second stanza scoring...before the Tigers rallied to knot the score at 39-39 with 14:11 remaining.


A Jackson layup followed by consecutive 3-pointers from Tyree Crump and Nicolas Claxton quickly put Georgia back up by eight just 1:48 later.


Missouri chipped away and pulled within 59-57 on a pair of free throws with 3:57 remaining and then closed the gap to 61-60 with 60 seconds left.


Georgia forced three misses the rest of the way and grabbed a pair of key rebounds to secure the victory.


Just last Wednesday in Athens, Georgia dropped a 64-39 decision to Missouri on the Bulldogs’ Senior Night.


After a tight first 10 minutes, the Tigers used a 15-4 run to build an 11-point lead at the intermission. Missouri maintained that margin for the second stanza.



Last Time Out...

Despite double-double outings from Nicolas Claxton and Derek Ogbeide Georgia fell 66-46 to South Carolina in the Bulldogs’ regular-season finale last Saturday.


Claxton finished with 13 points and 10 boards, while Ogbeide posted 11 points and 11 rebounds.


Georgia led 13-12 just under six minutes into the game before the Gamecocks exploded on a 17-2 surge. The Bulldogs trimmed a 23-point deficit to 10 three times in the second half but could get no closer.



Ogbedie Secures 100th Nod

Derek Ogbeide earned the 100th start of his career with the Bulldogs last Saturday at South Carolina.


Ogbeide became just the seventh Bulldog in the 2000s to secure 100 career starts, joining former teammate Charles Mann (106 starts) as well as Sundiata Gaines (123), Dave Bliss (112), Levi Stukes (111), Rashad Wright (110) and Dustin Ware (102).


Ogbeide was close to earning a spot in Georgia’s starting five during preseason of his freshman year before being sidelined with a shoulder injury. After missing the first five contests, he returned to play in the final 29 games. Ogbeide started 15 outings, including each of the last 12.


Ogbeide stretched that starting streak to 41 games before coming off the bench against Auburn on Senior Night as a sophomore. He started 28 games last season and 24 more as a senior.



Turtle, Tyree And the “3”

Although the above headline sounds like the title to a children’s book, it’s actually in reference to the standing of Turtle Jackson and Tyree Crump among Georgia’s career leaders in 3-point field goals.


Jackson and Crump both joined the Bulldogs’ top-20 all-time for successful shots from behind this arc. They have gone back and forth over the last nine games while climbing that ledger. 


Crump and Jackson enter the SEC Tournament at No. 15 and No. 16, respectively. Tyree now has 127 3-pointers, while Turtle has 126 as outlined below

UGA Career 3-Point FG Leaders

Rk. No. Player Season 3FGA

  1. 261 Levi Stukes 2004-07 683
  2. 231 D.A. Lane 1999-01 583
  3. 215 Litterial Green 1989-92 544
  4. 213 Ezra Williams 2001-03 582

213 Kenny Gaines 2013-16 569

  1. 204 J.J. Frazier 2014-17 576
  2. 194 Dustin Ware 2009-12 536
  3. 193 G.G. Smith 1996-99 500
  4. 184 Bernard Davis 1991-94 453
  5. 172 Jody Patton 1988-91 387
  6. 149 K.Caldwell-Pope 2012-13 439
  7. 143 Ty Wilson 1992-95 383

143 Ray Harrison 1996-99 412

  1. 132 Terrance Woodbury 2006-09 386
  2.  127 Tyree Crump 2017-19 369
  3. 126 Turtle Jackson 2016-19 389
  4. 122 Rashad Wright 2001-04 358
  5. 121 Sundiata Gaines 2005-08 400
  6. 116 Michael Chadwick 1996-99 340
  7. 106 Nemanja Djurisic 2012-15 292



Claxton Joins Season Swatters; approaching Dogs’ career top-10

Nicolas Claxton moved into the Bulldogs’ the top-10 list of single-season blocked shots efforts midway through the season...and he’s closing in on the top-10 career leaders as well.


Claxton passed a familiar name at No. 9 during the South Carolina game, his father Charles. Nicolas is currently No. 7 as outlined below and still chasing his dad, who also owns Georgia’s single-season blocked shots record of 94 in 1995.



Claxton enters the SEC Tournament with 117 blocks in 64 games played for the Bulldogs. That leaves him just two swats shy of joining Georgia’s top-10 career leaders...and only five away from ascending all the way to No. 8.


UGA Season Blocks Leaders

Rk. No. Player Season GP

  1. 94 Charles Claxton 1995 28
  2. 91 Richard Corhen 1984 30
  3. 88 Lavon Mercer 1978 27
  4. 83 Terrell Bell 1996 31
  5. 82 Lavon Mercer 1977 27
  6. 76 Lavon Mercer 1980 27
  7. 75 Nicolas Claxton 2019 31
  8. 61 Yante Maten 2016 34

60 Antonio Harvey 1991 29

  1. 58 Charles Claxton 1994 30



Ogbeide Among Best Boarders

Derek Ogbeide began the season ranked No. 17 among UGA’s career rebounding leaders with 614 boards. 


He joined the Bulldogs’ top-10 all-time boarders during the Vandy victory and has since ascended to No. 8 as outlined below


UGA Career Rebounds Leaders

Rk. No. Player Seasons GP

  1. 1116 Bob Lienhard 1968-70 75
  2. 923 Terry Fair 1980-83 123
  3. 893 Alec Kessler 1987-90 123
  4. 889 Yante Maten 2015-18 128
  5. 867 Jerry Waller 1964-66 75
  6. 840 Charles Claxton 1992-95 116
  7. 838 Lavon Mercer 1977-80 106
  8. 789 Derek Ogbeide 2016-19 127
  9. 763 Chris Daniels 2000-04 119
  10. 739 Carlos Strong 1993-96 118



Harris’ Production Is Up

During his last 13 games played, Jordan Harris has upped his production considerably over his first 15 contests. 


Entering the Florida contest on Jan. 19, Harris was averaging 4.1 points, 2.5 rebounds, 1.0 assists, 0.6 steals and 0.3 blocks.


Since then, the junior from Iron City is contributing 10.6 points, 4.7 boards, 2.2 assists, 1.7 steals and 0.7 blocks.


That stretch actually covers 15 of Georgia’s games. Harris had a two-game hiatus due to concussion-like symptoms following a collision with Nicolas Claxton at LSU on Jan. 23.


In addition, Harris has posted four career-high scoring tallies during the span. He equaled his career-best output with 12 points against LSU before upping that to 13 versus Mississippi State to 15 at Ole Miss and to 18 against Auburn.



Harrison Joins Starting Lineup

Redshirt senior walk-on Christian Harrison started six games late in the season. 


Harrison got his first nod against LSU on Feb. 16 and remained their through the March 6 Missouri contest. During the stretch, he produced career highs for points, rebounds, assists, blocks and minutes played.


An Atlanta native and graduate of Woodward Academy, Harrison was a scholarship player for two seasons at Troy before transferring to Georgia as a walk-on.


After sitting out 2016-17, Harrison saw action in two games last season. He started this year on the scout team before beginning to earn meaningful minutes. Harrison was a key defensive contributor at Georgia Tech on Dec. 22 and is now a rotation regular, with action in 19 of the last 22 contests.


Against LSU, Harrison’s linescore featured two points, two boards, two steals, an assist and a block... and he spent a good portion of the second half guarding Tremont Waters.


“I just want to tip my hat off to Christian,“ Nicolas Claxton said after the LSU game, unprompted by the media. “He came here and last year didn‘t play at all. This year, his minutes have been kind of up and down. But, throughout all of that, he has just stayed persistent. He just kept grinding. He comes in every day, and he doesn‘t complain. He just comes in and works hard, and you see the results today.“ 



Ogbeide Steps Up In SEC Play

Derek Ogbeide averaged 9.8 points and shooting a team-best 56.8 percent from the field in SEC games. 


Those efforts were a significant jump from his tallies of 9.2 ppg and 49.0 percent during non-conference play.



An 80 Percent Lefty Lineup


Later in these Game Notes, you could read how Georgia’s roster (more than likely) features the most left-handed players in Division I hoops this season.


In fact, the Bulldogs started four southpaws – Nicolas Claxton, Rayshaun Hammonds, Jordan Harris and Derek Ogbeide – in consecutive outings against Alabama, Ole Miss and Texas A&M.


All told, Georgia has used 10 different starting quintets during the regular season, with Claxton being the only Bulldog on the court to begin every outing.



Dogs’ Depth Paying Dividends

Georgia’s bench has outscored its counterparts 20 times...consistently doing so by a significant amount. 


The Bulldogs’ reserves have been +10 or more in 13 outings, helping Georgia to a +174 margin on bench points. 



Claxton Doing It All For Dogs

Nicolas Claxton is the only player in the SEC this season to twice – in the same game – lead his team in points, rebounds, assists, blocks and steals. 


Claxton did so Nov. 27 against Kennesaw State with 16 points, 15 boards, four assists, two blocks and two steals. The sophomore from Greenville, S.C., repeated the feat Dec. 18 versus Oakland with 17 points, 13 boards, three assists, three blocks and a steal.


The last SEC player to lead his team in all five stats in multiple games was LSU’s Ben Simmons, who did so three times in 2015-16.



Feel Free To Call Him “Ty-3” Crump

More than two-thirds of Tyree Crump’s successful FGs for Georgia have been from at least 20-feet, 9-inches away from the basket.


All told, 68.6 percent (127-of-185) of Crump’s made shots from the floor have been from behind the arc. 


In fact, 3-pointers directly account for 64.2 percent (381 of 593) of Crump’s career points with the Bulldogs. 



The Deflection Objective

The deflection is an extremely key statistic for Georgia. Head coach Tom Crean regularly discusses the deflection and its significance.


"I was told a long time ago – and I don't think you can say it any better – deflections are barometer of active defense. It's any type of activity on the ball. It's a finger tip, a hand, blocked shots, chargers, a steal. That's what we're aiming for. I want our team at a deflection-to-turnover ratio of 3.5-to-1. To me, that is an optimal number."


"You will hear me talk a lot about it," Crean said in his press session following the Sam Houston State game. "Some of you will get tired of it, and some of you will buy into it."


The quote above gives a definition of the stat. The Bulldogs' season totals to date are below. Nicolas Claxton leads the team, including 18 deflections against Sam Houston State.


"I have only coached four other guys, and all four of them played in the NBA, that ever had more than 18 in a game," Crean said.


UGA Deflections

Player Number

Nicolas Claxton 272

Jordan Harris 118

Rayshaun Hammonds 105

Turtle Jackson 91

E’Torrion Wilridge 84

Derek Ogbeide 80

Teshaun Hightower 68

Tyree Crump 65

Tye Fagan 45

Christian Harrison 29

Amanze Ngumezi 18

Ignas Sargiūnas 15

JoJo Toppin 10

Mike Edwards 2 

Connor O’Neill 2



A Really Big Family Reunion

Nearly 100 Georgia Basketball letterwinners returned to Stegeman Coliseum for the Feb. 9 Ole Miss game to take part in the Bulldogs’ Lettermen’s Day. That represented the largest turnout in the event’s history.


Hugh Durham, the winningest coach in school history who guided the Bulldogs from 1979-95, headlined the list. Durham‘s teams produced a series of notable firsts in school history – the first postseason appearance with the 1981 NIT; the first SEC Tournament title, first NCAA Tournament bid and first Final Four all in 1983; and the first SEC regular-season Championship in 1990.


Player-wise, Bulldogs spanning the last 74 seasons were represented – from Charlie Burch, UGA’s oldest living letterwinner from the 1944-45 team, to 2017 seniors J.J. Frazier, Kenny Paul Geno and Brandon Young.



Welcome To The League, Coach

Tom Crean’s initiation into the Southeastern Conference would probably be considered hazing by some.


Georgia began league play with back-to-back Saturday trips to the defending league co-champs and six straight outings against teams ranked in the top-50 of the new NCAA Evaluation Tool (NET) rankings.


In the Jan. 5 edition of the NET, the Bulldogs’ first half-dozen SEC foes, in succession, were ranked as No. 7 Tennessee, No. 45 Vanderbilt, No. 18 Auburn, No. 10 Kentucky, No. 33 Florida and No. 27 LSU.


On Jan. 27 (when all 14 league teams had played six SEC games), the NET listed UGA’s first six opponents as No. 6 Tennessee, No. 93 Vanderbilt, No. 27 Auburn, No. 7 Kentucky, No. 37 Florida and No. 16 LSU.


The Bulldogs’ opponents over their first six SEC contests averaged a NET ranking of 31.0, far and away the most difficult in the league. The next closest was 42.0 for Alabama.



Dogs Shooting Blistering Percentages Against Longhorns

As outlined below, Georgia’s overall and 3-point field goal percentages against Texas both rank among the top-5 in school history.


For good measure, the Bulldogs connected on 78.6 percent of their trips to the free throw line versus the Longhorns.


“I’m not sure I’ve ever coached a team in my 19 years that’s ever shot that well from all three spots on the floor,” Tom Crean said.


UGA Single-Game FG Percentages

Rk. Pct. Site-Opponent FG-FGA Date

  1. .762 H-Chattanooga 32-42 12/19/80
  2. .702 H-Miss. State 40-57 2/28/01
  3. .692 H-Vanderbilt 45-65 2/12/86
  4. .667 H-Texas 32-48 1/26/19

.667 H-Winthrop 40-60 12/21/93

.667 H-Tennessee 32-48 3/12/83


UGA Single-Game 3FG Percentages

Rk. Pct. Site-Opponent 3FG-3FGA Date

  1. .727 H-Alabama 8-11 2/6/88

.727 A-Vanderbilt 8-11 2/14/90

  1. .706 H-Texas 12-17 1/26/19
  2. .700 A-Miss. State. 7-10 1/19/89

.700 H-S. Carolina 7-10 1/22/00



Claxton Named SEC POTW

Nicolas Claxton was tabbed the SEC Player of the Week on Dec. 31, a day after his game-high tallies of 20 points, 11 rebounds and three blocks against UMass.


Claxton recorded his sixth double-double of the season while connecting on 8-of-13 shots from the field and converting on 3-of-3 trips to the line versus the Minutemen. He grabbed 10 defensive rebounds, one less than the UMass entire roster grabbed as a whole on that end of the floor.


Maten Earns G League Honor

Yante Maten, the 2018 AP SEC Player of the Year for Georgia, enjoyed a very productive month of December. 


Maten, a two-way player with the Miami Heat and the Sioux Falls Skyforce, was named NBA G League Player of the Month. In nine games, he averaged 29.2 points, 11.4 rebounds, 2.2 assists and 1.4 blocks per game while shooting 59.0 percent from the field, 47.4 percent from 3-point range and 80.3 percent from the line. Maten’s month was highlighted by a 42-point, 14-rebound performance against Stockton, one of his seven December double-doubles.


“I’m definitely enjoying my time in Sioux Falls,” Maten said. “I’m being used a lot. I’m trying to make the best out of every opportunity and every game. I’m just exited to come out and prove a point every night.”



Perfect Against “The Enemy”

With its 70-59 win over Georgia Tech on Dec. 22 at McCamish Pavilion, Georgia‘s Class of 2019 secured a unique spot in the Bulldogs‘ history.


In the first 113 seasons of Georgia Basketball, only four, four-year Bulldogs finished their careers undefeated against the Yellow Jackets – the tandems of James Banks and Vern Fleming (1980-84) and Richard Corhen and Gerald Crosby (1981-85).


That number more than doubled with this year’s victory as Mike Edwards, Turtle Jackson, Connor O‘Neill, Derek Ogbeide and E‘Torrion Wilridge joined that quartet. Christian Harrison also went undefeated against Tech, but only played two seasons in Athens after transferring from Troy. Those Bulldogs not only won each game, the did so by double figures. The last time Georgia posted four-consecutive double-digit wins over the Jackets was a stretch covering the 1908-09 through 1913-14 seasons


To adhere to “truth in advertising” principles...it should be noted that UGA and GT played at least twice each season from the beginning of the series through 1981-82.



Hammonds Puts Up Rare Stat Line 

Rayshaun Hammonds poured in a career-high 31 points while not turning the ball over once versus Illinois State. 


Hammonds is the only SEC player this season to put up 30 points with no turnovers. Only two SEC players did so last season – Vanderbilt’s Jeff Roberson and Terence Davis from Ole Miss.


Hammonds, Yante Maten and Jumaine Jones are the only Bulldogs to do so in the last 20 seasons as outlined below.

30 Points, 0 Turnovers

Player Pts. Opponent (date)

  1. Hammonds 31 Illinois State (11/19/18)
  2. Maten 30 Charleston Southern (12/17/16)
  3. Maten 30 Kansas (11/22/16)
  4. Jones 34 Kentucky (1/26/99)



Career-High Outings Against ISU

Rayshaun Hammonds and Nicolas Claxton exploded for career-high outputs of 31 and 22 points, respectively, against Illinois State.


Hammonds scored 31 points in 31 minutes. He scored 18 first-half points, almost topped his previous best effort of 21 points before intermission. Claxton did much of his damage after the break with 14 second-half points.



Excitement Surrounds Bulldogs

Tom Crean was hired as the Bulldogs’ head coach on March 15 and created an off-season buzz surrounding Georgia Basketball that it hasn’t been seen since Dominique Wilkins’ days in Athens during the early-80s.


Before this season, Georgia had never sold out more than one game before its opener. 


This fall, the Bulldogs had three sellouts – Florida, Kentucky and Texas – in October. 


In addition, the number of contributors and the amount donated to UGA’s Basketball Enhancement Fund (BEF) set records by considerable margins. The BEF tally topped $1 million for the first time ever and as of Nov. 7 had bettered the previous watermark by just shy of 25 percent.



UGA Loaded With Peach Products

Nearly three-fourths of Georgia’s roster played high school hoops in the Peach State. Eleven of 15 Bulldogs – that’s 73.3 percent to be exact – did so.


The list includes: seniors Christian Harrison (Woodward Academy), William “Turtle” Jackson (Athens Christian School), Connor O’Neill (Blessed Trinity Catholic High) and Derek Ogbeide (Pebblebrook High); juniors Tyree Crump (Bainbridge High) and Jordan Harris (Seminole County High); sophomores Rayshaun Hammonds (Norcross High) and Teshaun Hightower (Collins Hills High); and freshmen Tye Fagan (Upson-Lee High); Amanze Ngumezi (Johnson High) and JoJo Toppin (Norcross High).



Fagan Owns Unique Record

The first recruit to commit to Tom Crean at Georgia certainly brought a winning résumé. 


Spring signee Tye Fagan helped Upson-Lee High School to back-to-back state titles and 63 consecutive victories as a junior and senior. The Knights’ effort represents the third-longest winning streak in Georgia boys’ high school hoops history. 


“Any time you add a championship-winning player and person to your program, it’s great,” Crean said. “But I can’t recall ever signing anyone that was 63-0. That’s unique.”


Georgia’s loss at Temple on Nov. 13 represented Fagan’s first setback representing his school since an Upson-Lee setback to New Hampstead on Feb. 17, 2016 in the first round of the 2016 state tournament...providing a span of exactly 1000 days between those losses.



Inaugural StegMania A Success

Tom Crean arrived in Athens with a distinct vision. One thing he wanted to create was an preseason event to display the new energy and enthusiasm around Georgia Basketball. 


On Friday, Oct. 5, the first-ever StegMania drew a crowd of more than 5,000. It was, by all measures, a significant success. 


UGA students lined up around the Coliseum to receive commemorative “StegMania” t-shirts. A lengthy autograph session with a distinct family feel wrapped up the festivities.


StegMania itself was packed with pyrotechnic player intros, a high-flying dunk contest, a dance battle with the Georgia Lady Bulldogs, an impromptu performance of the hit song “Rolex” by hip-hop artists Ayo & Teo and a scrimmage with Crean “mic’d up.”


“When you’re brand new coming into something like this, you really don’t have an expectation,” said Crean after the event. “But if I would’ve had one, it would have exceeded it. When I saw people in line to get into the Coliseum, I got a lump in my throat. It was awesome because you never take it for granted. Hopefully, everyone walks out of here knowing that they matter.”



The Leftiest Lads In The Land

The Bulldogs’ roster features six – count ‘em on two hands – left-handed players. Georgia’s southpaws include Nicolas Claxton, Tye Fagan, Rayshaun Hammonds, Jordan Harris, Derek Ogbeide and JoJo Toppin.


We’re relatively confident that tally is the most any NCAA Division I basketball team will suit up during 2018-19.


During the summer months, J.D. Hamilton of the NCAA sends out a laundry list of questions to the nation’s Division I men’s basketball SIDs. The inquiries can range from statistical – what school has the most 2,000-point scorers – to staff – who has the nation’s most experienced coaching staff – to roster related – who has the most newcomers.


Round 1 of the email on September 5 including the following offering from Athens: “Georgia has six left-handed players. Does any other team in the country have as many or more players who are left-handed?”


Not that SIDs are bound to answer every request, but that question received no replies. So, the ask was modified for a second email correspondence sent out by Hamilton on September 26 to read: “Georgia has six left-handed players. Does any other team in the country have as four or more players who are left-handed?”


That led to Tennessee (D.J. Burns, John Fulkerson, Jalen Johnson and Yves Pons), Washington (David Crisp, Elijah Hardy, Bryan Penn-Johnson and Nate Roberts) and Winthrop (Adam Pickett, Jermaine Ukaegbu, Kyle Zunic and Raivis Scerbinskis) supplying lists of four.


While nothing is official, Georgia will claim the unofficial title of the leftiest team in America until proven otherwise.


And for full effect, the above headline should be read in a voice immitating Dan Magill, the greatest Bulldog of all time. If you’re not familiar with Coach Magill, ask.

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  • Researchers at the University of Georgia have discovered two new drug targets to treat Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome, or ARDS, a life-threatening lung condition that makes breathing difficult or impossible.   Their findings were published in a recent issue of Pharmacological Research.   ARDS is a rapidly progressing disease with mortality rate between 35% and 50%, and it typically occurs in critically ill hospital patients, such as those in intensive care units on ventilators. Fluid accumulates in the lungs of patients, depriving the body of oxygen. There is no cure for ARDS, and current treatments consist of supportive care.   Somanath P.R. Shenoy, professor and director of the Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics Program at the UGA College of Pharmacy’s Augusta campus. “There are currently no good treatment options for people with this disease, but the drug targets we have identified could help change that,” said Somanath P.R. Shenoy, professor and director of the Clinical and Experimental Therapeutics Program at the UGA College of Pharmacy’s Augusta campus.   Shenoy and his colleagues found that by controlling the expression of an enzyme and a protein in the lungs, they could reduce the inflammation and fluid accumulation associated with the disease. They tested the treatment on human lung cells and in a mouse model that mimicked the effects of ARDS.   “We were able to completely reverse the accumulation of fluid in the lungs of mice used in our tests,” Shenoy said. “If we could create drugs that target the accumulation of fluids in human lungs, we may be able to develop a new and desperately needed treatment for ARDS.”   The study also showed a correlation between the levels of the enzyme in blood and the development of ARDS, so the enzyme could be used as a diagnostic marker for the disease.   A recent study conducted by G. Bellani and an international team of collaborators, as part of LUNGSAFE, under the auspices of the ESICM Trial Group, concludes that ARDS is underdiagnosed and undertreated, not only in the U.S. but worldwide.   Because ARDS is often undiagnosed or diagnosis comes late, a reliable diagnostic marker could help improve the prognosis for ARDS in hospital patients. However, Shenoy cautions that further studies in human ARDS patient samples are needed to confirm the effectiveness of the enzyme as a diagnostic marker.
  • The Georgia Bulldogs will host SMU at Stegeman Coliseum this December as the first game of home-and-home series with the Mustangs, head coach Tom Crean announced on Wednesday.   Georgia and SMU will meet in Athens this season on Friday, Dec. 20. The following year, the Bulldogs will venture to Dallas to return the contest on Tuesday, Nov. 24, 2020.   “We’re excited about the matchup with SMU,” Crean said. “This not only adds a quality opponent to our home schedule for this season, it also gives us a chance to play in Dallas next season, where the University of Georgia has an extremely large and loyal alumni base.”   The series will be the first meetings between UGA and SMU in men’s basketball. Georgia is 30-19 all-time against teams currently competing with the Mustangs in the American Athletic Conference.   SMU has compiled a 71-38 record in three seasons under current head coach Tim Jankovich, including a program-record 30 victories in 2016-17. The Mustangs won the American Athletic Conference regular season and tournament titles in 2017.   Deposits for season tickets to the Bulldogs’ 2019-20 home schedule are only $50 and can be made by calling 706-542-1231 or by visiting georgiadogs.com/tickets. Last season, Crean’s first season at Georgia, the Bulldogs broke their all-time total attendance record by more than 9,000 fans.   This season, Crean will welcome a top-5 recruiting class to Athens. The Bulldogs have signed five of the nation’s top-100 prospects in the Class of 2019, more than any other SEC program.
  • Legion Pool at the University of Georgia will open on May 23 for the summer season. Hours of operation are 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. daily through July 31 and 3-7 p.m. Aug. 1-8. Use of Legion Pool is limited to students with valid UGACards who pay activity fees on the Athens campus; faculty and staff with valid UGACards; guests of students, faculty and staff; and Friends of Campus Life members. All guests must be accompanied by the UGACard holder. Admission is $3 for students, $4 for faculty and staff, $3 for children ages 3-15 (who must be accompanied by an adult) and $5 for guests and members of Friends of Campus Life. Friends of Campus Life memberships are available for a minimum $40 donation at the pool. Membership dues help to support the student programs and services offered by the Tate Student Center. An open house will be held on May 22 from 1-6 p.m.; swimming will not be permitted, but passes will be sold at the pool concession window. Legion Pool is administered by the Tate Student Center within UGA’s Division of Student Affairs.
  • There is talk in Jackson County about filing ethics complaints against Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly and Hoschton City Councilman Jim Cleveland. Both have heard calls to resign after making what are said to have been racist remarks. Kenerly denies not hiring a black city administrator because of his race, while Cleveland, who is Hoschton’s Mayor Pro Tem has been quoted speaking out against interracial marriage.    The Atlanta Journal Constitution filed an open records request for dozens of emails and a handful of Facebook messages directed at Hoschton before the city took down both its website and Facebook page following the AJC’s May 6 story. Without exception, the messages were critical of officials’ racially charged comments, with many calling on the mayor and a longtime councilman to resign.
  • The Athens-Clarke County Water Conservation Office’s annual Roll Out the Barrels event is set for 6 o’clock this evening at the Foundry in downtown Athens: 16 custom-painted rain barrels will be on the auction block, with proceeds going to the County’s Green Schools Program. From the Athens-Clarke County Government website…   Roll Out the Barrels is a free, family-friendly event is open to the public and aims to raise awareness of water pollution and water conservation. Bid on 16 unique rain barrels painted by local artists as you enjoy music and appetizers. All proceeds benefit the Athens-Clarke County Green School Program, which is designed to assist schools with environmental education and improvement efforts that focus on conservation, preservation, and beautification of our environment. Visit rolloutthebarrels.org for more information and a list of participating artists.

Bulldog News

  • ST. SIMONS ISLAND — Georgia football is way ahead of the game when it comes to bringing in money for 2019. The Bulldogs already had collected $33 million in ticket revenue as of April this year as compared to $21.4 million by the same time last year, according to the 2019 treasurer’s report. That report was given to the Georgia Athletic Association’s board of directors at the annual end-of-year retreat, which is being held this year here at the King & Prince Resort. That increase is attributed to having a seventh home game this season as well as last year’s ticket price increases, according to board treasurer Ryan Nesbit. Georgia reports $29.6 million in actual ticket contributions, which exceeded the budgeted amount of $28.5 million. Expenses will also be up slightly to $5.3 because of the extra game and an ever-expanding support base. “When you have home games with Notre Dame and Texas A&M, that helps,” UGA President Jere Morehead said. “Our athletic fundraising has been exceptional this year, so I want to commend Greg McGarity and (director of development) Matt Borman and everybody involved,” President Jere Morehead said told the board during his report to open the meeting. Georgia did not reveal its budget for the coming fiscal year, but it is expected to set another record. That has been the case in each year since the advent of the SEC Network bolstered the league’s revenue distribution program. League members received an average of $43.1 million from the SEC in the revenue distribution, which divides profits equally between the 14 members plus the conference headquarters in Birmingham. Last year, the board raised Georgia’s average football ticket price from $50 to an average of $66.42 per game, on a two-tiered system. Games against Tier 1 opponents such as SEC and Power 5 opponents cost $75 per game. Games against Tier 2 opponents are $55 per game. That does not include the required donation for the right to purchase those tickets. Georgia’s budget was more than $143 million last year. It’s expected to approach $150 million this year when it is presented to the board for approval during Friday’s meeting. The Bulldogs approved the architects for its football facility expansion but provided few details beyond it will be started as soon as possible. Morehead used a portion of his opening marks to congratulate McGarity, Georgia’s athletic director, and his administration “for a fantastic year whether it be fundraising or on the competitive field of play.” “We’re continuing to see a great deal of success and accomplishment on and off the field,” Morehead said. The board responded with applause, which is unusual for these proceedings. Seventeen out of UGA’s 21 sports competed in NCAA postseason play this year. That includes baseball, men’s golf and track and field, which are currently active in postseason play. McGarity received a $25,000 raise last year to a salary of $700,000. He has chosen to work on year-to-year contracts going forward. Fifty-six percent of 511 student-athletes recorded a GPA of 3.0 or better in spring semester, according to faculty athletics rep Craig Shipley. That’s below the athletic department’s stated goal of 65 percent but above the national average. Twenty-seven athletes recorded a perfect 4.0 GPA. Men’s cross country led all sports with a 3.44 GPA. Georgia Athletic Association’s is called to order moments before conducting its final meeting of the 2019 Academic Year in the Retreat Room at the King & Prince Resort on St. Simons Island. (Chip Towers/DawgNation)   The post Georgia football is raking in revenue at record rate for 2019 season appeared first on DawgNation.
  • MACON — As the marquee outside the Hargray Capitol Theatre boldly stated to passers by on Second Street, it was the Kirby Smart and Tom Crean Show here on Monday. The Georgia Bulldogs Club’s annual Coaches Caravan made its first stop here in Central Georgia Monday night and it was a quick one. Smart spoke for 7½ minutes and Crean for about twice that before a gathering of a couple or few hundred fans. There was no question-and-answer opportunity for the fans, which typically produces the most entertaining exchanges. No salvos were sent back Florida’s way. Before the program, the coaches did give the local press and team beat writers about 10 minutes for a Q&A backstage. After that, the coaches and an entourage of officers from UGA’s development office led by director Matt Borman adjourned for a private dinner with donors. The group will repeat the process Tuesday night in Augusta. Then that will be it for a while. There was very little in the way of hard news that came out of the session. The most pertinent was that all Bulldogs, current and incoming, are expected to meet academic eligibility requirements. That’s particularly refreshing considering Georgia had “a number of guys” who were sweating out spring semester grades, according to Smart. Other nuggets to come out of the 90-minute affair: Smart said no players other than linebacker Jaden Hunter are currently in the transfer portal. “None that I can think of,” Smart said. Smart congratulated Vince Dooley and praised the university for naming the field after him. “Who better to do it for than for a man who gave his life to the university and did a great job,” Smart said. We’re probably not going to see a lot more of outside linebacker Walter Grant at running back. “A lot of it will depend on the freshmen coming in, Kenny (McIntosh), and other guys at the position and how we feel, and outside ‘backer depth, too,” Smart said. “It was an insurance policy at best. It was kind of a research project to see what he can do.” Crean said he remains in constant contact with sophomore Nicolas Claxton as he works out for NBA scouts and he attended all his events at the NBA combine last week. He interjected that Claxton “could be a lottery pick” if he returned. Crean also said that he expects to sign another player before next season. Headlines from Coaches Caravan QB Jake Fromm will have more ‘offensive input’ in 2019 Kirby Smart expects all players, incoming and otherwise, to be eligible RB Zamir White on pace to be cleared for preseason camp Georgia fans flock to Macon landmark to hear from Kirby Smart           The post VIDEO: Kirby Smart, Tom Crean update fans on Georgia Bulldogs during ‘Coaches Caravan’ appeared first on DawgNation.
  • CORAL GABLES, Fla. — Incoming Miami grad-transfer receiver Lawrence Cager had the unique experience of getting to know both Kirby Smart and Mark Richt as head coaches the past few years. Smart has elevated Georgia football into an annual national championship contender in his three years leading the program. RELATED: Kirby Smart ‘proud’ to have worked for Mark Richt The Bulldogs played in the College Football Playoff Championship Game after he 2017 season, and narrowly missed making the CFP last season in controversial fashion. Smart coached a season under Richt at Georgia in 2005 and inherited a program on solid footing in 2016. WATCH: Mark Richt praised by rivals Saban, Spurrier, Fulmer Richt was was 145-51 over his 15 seasons at Georgia, his .740 winning percentage second only to Smart’s .762 (32-10). The differences in the disposition of Richt and Smart, Cager indicted, are like fire and ice. “Kirby was an All-SEC performer, so he can relate to you and he’s a player’s coach, he’s a guy you want to play under,” Cager said. “He gets fired up, just like coach (James) Coley.” Coley is the offensive coordinator at Georgia under Smart. But on the front end of Cager’s career, he recruited against his current boss, back when Smart was the defensive coordinator at Alabama. Cager began his career at Miami in 2015 with Coley calling the plays under then-Hurricanes’ head coach Al Golden. But then Golden was fired midway through the season, and Richt took over the Miami after being let go from Georgia following he 2015 season and returned to his alma mater to coach the Hurricanes from 2016-2018. Cager said Richt was much more reserved than what he’s seen from Smart. “With Coach Richt it was like, ‘We’re here to do this and that and handle business,’ ” Cager said. “It wasn’t like, ‘Let’s turn it up!’ Kirby will say ‘Let’s turn it up on them!’ “Coach Richt was more like, ‘Look, we are coming here, it’s Florida State, we know what we have to do, we need to line up and beat them.” Cager said the 43-year-old Smart is personable and comes across as being more invested emotionally than the 59-year-old Richt, who delivered messages in businesslike, matter-of-fact tone. Miami hired Richt to replace Golden after Cager’s freshman season. Cager said most of the players on the Miami football team had a pretty good idea Richt would be the Hurricanes next head coach. “Once Georgia let go of Coach Richt, this is his alma mater and his name kept coming up so we all thought we will hire him,” Cager said. “Once we heard it was us or Virginia, we knew for sure.” Richt changed the culture immediately, Cager said. “Golden came in here from Temple, he was more laid back,” Cager said. “Richt changed everything. We used to wear anything we wanted to practice, but then Coach Richt came in and wanted everyone uniform. It was old school, everyone would look the same, no earrings, the little stuff. “It helped a lot of people in the end. He’s a great guy. We were focused on winning championships, but his mentality was we are here to bring the swag back and it’s all about business.” Now it’s Cager who is all about business. The 6-foot-5, 218-pound receiver is expected to challenge for a starting spot immediately in the Bulldogs’ young receiving corps. DawgNation in South Florida Kenny McIntosh draws comparisons to Sony Michel, Jordan Scarlett Lawrence Cager eager for Georgia touch down ’The Blueprint,’ championship plans for South Florida star The post Fire and ice: Incoming Miami transfer compares Kirby Smart to Mark Richt appeared first on DawgNation.
  • MACON — Jake Fromm grew up and played high school ball 19 miles from the famous Hargray Capitol Theatre in downtown Macon where Kirby Smart was Monday. Fromm’s mother, Lee, works as a nurse in the Coliseum Medical Center, just a mile away across the Ocmulgee River. The Fromm’s family hunting lease is just 19 miles the other side of the hospital over in Plum Creek. So Jake Fromm is a big deal around. Then again, Fromm is pretty much a big deal everywhere these days. So Smart, here to speak at a small gathering of Georgia fans and Georgia Bulldogs Club members, dutifully acknowledged his quarterback and the many other Central Georgia players who dot the Bulldogs’ roster. “We’ve gotten a lot good players from here,” Smart said at the opening of his brief remarks before a crowd of a few hundred. “The guy who takes a snap from center and the guy who snaps it.” Fromm, obviously, is the player who takes the snaps. Trey Hill, who was Fromm’s teammate at Houston County High in Warner Robins, is the center snapping the ball to him. Hill played left tackle most of the time in high school, but did have occasion to snap to Fromm every once in a while. But now he’s the one replacement on Georgia’s heralded offensive line. He must replace graduated senior and NFL draft pick Lamont Gaillard. About that, there’s some question. About Fromm, there is none. The 6-foot-2, 225-pound junior is considered a All-America candidate and Heisman Trophy as the Bulldogs head into their fourth season under Smart, once again as a Top 5 team. Fromm does so having played in every game, starting all but one and in position to set the school’s all-time record for completion percentage. This year, Fromm will be operating under a new offensive coordinator. James Coley succeeded Jim Chaney in the role after taking over as quarterbacks coach last year. Smart thinks that is a good thing. “I think we’ve got some more quarterback guys around him with Coley working with him and he’s excited about that,” Smart said. “For him, it’s been a transition through the coordinator position where he’s kind of a sponge, he’s got more of an opinion now. He understands what we’re trying to do offensively.” Fromm has completed 64.8 percent of his passes for 5,364 yards with 54 touchdowns and 13 interceptions at this point. The thought is the Bulldogs will throw the ball more under Coley, who did that as coordinator at Miami and Florida State. Smart believes Fromm can handle whatever Coley can dish out, and will also have a say-so on what the Bulldogs do as well. “Any time you’ve got a three-year starter,he can give you input on things he likes about the offense, things he dislikes and things he thinks he can be successful,” Smart said. “That input is helpful, it’s always helpful.” The post Kirby Smart expects QB Jake Fromm to have more ‘offensive input’ in 2019 appeared first on DawgNation.
  • MACON —  The biggest applause Kirby Smart got during his 7½-minute speech to a couple of hundred Georgia fans on Monday was when he said that every player slated to return for the Bulldogs had retained their academic eligibility. Smart had said essentially the same thing backstage earlier with regard to the 10 signees in the Class of 2019 that have yet to report to campus. Specifically, there has been a lot of concern and chatter about 5-star wide receiver George Pickens. But while the Georgia coach didn’t address Pickens specifically, he did say he expected all who signed to show up and be eligible when they arrive this summer. Most are expected to arrive at the end of this month and enroll for summer semester, which begins in early June. “We’ve got full expectations that everybody will be there in the summer to practice, to compete,” Smart said. “All of those guys are finishing up, right now they’re in their finals depending on what state they’re in or where they are. I know they’re looking forward to getting into our place and start working.” As for the returning players, Smart acknowledged that the Bulldogs were sweating out the spring semester grades of a more than a few. But, again, he said, there were no academic casualties. “And that’s an accomplishment,” Smart said as applause nearly drowned out his remarks. “As everybody in this room knows, academically at Georgia, it’s an unbelievable place. It’s unbelievably competitive. When you look at the average student coming in with a 32 ACT, a 1,300 SAT, a 4.1 GPA, you know when you walk into the classroom you’ve got to be at the top of your game. And that goes for our players, too.”   The post Kirby Smart says all returning players, all incoming recruits have made the grades to play appeared first on DawgNation.