Friday night in the Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, The University of Georgia Men’s Basketball team joined the Lady Dogs to tip off the 2013 – 2014 season with Basketbash. A crowd of 3500 kids, students and family came out to enjoy the fun, pick up autographs, t-shirts and other giveaways, and get a peek at the team.
While the much anticipated slam dunk competition was more fizzle than sizzle, there was another down to the wire rousing boys against the girls Simon Says competition. The University of Georgia Basketball Band kept spirits high and V-103’s Ryan Cameron kept the festivities moving at a fastbreak pace – until the 3 point shooting fan contest, which resembled the open tryouts for Coach Felton’s first Georgia team.
The crowd finally got a chance to stand and roar for their hometown heroes when the Lady Dogs were introduced and Coach Andy Landers – introduced to the strains of Sharp Dressed Man – appeared in his own version of a “what’s better” commercial on the scoreboard. The Men’s Basketball team was introduced and not to be out done, Coach Mark Fox appeared in Sanford Stadium Spike Crew face and hair. Coach Fox plans an early retirement from the Spike Crew but all on hand agreed the Crew would make a great addition to the Stegman Coliseum game day experience.
Both the Men’s and Women’s squads conducted light scrimmages to entertain the crowd and the final score was favorable: no injuries. A glance at the Men’s team revealed nothing but good news as fifteen members of the squad were healthy enough to participate. Inside gossip is that Kenny Gaines is the best player on the team at this time and he did nothing to dispel those rumors. Kenny Paul Geno proved he really can jump. The oft-injured Marcus Thornton looked well and fit.
The stars came out for Basketbash – the DawnoftheDawg.com roving eye spotted the Atlanta Journal-Constitution’s Chip Towers with a young guest collecting autographs and taking in the sights and sounds, as well nationally regarded basketball recruiting analyst Dan McDonald. A number of outstanding high school players also took in the fun, including local Athens hoops hero and 2015 national recruiting target Will Jackson. While any report of Will Jackson on campus is good news, insider recruiting whispers were mixed as it appears Georgia will have an opportunity to lure 2014 post recruit William Lee out of Alabama. However, rumors that 2014 Missouri verbal commitment Jakeenan Gant will make an official visit to Georgia are probably unfounded.
Georgia begins play on November 4th at 7:00 PM with a home exhibition against UNC-Pembroke. It will be dog eats dog when the season officially opens on November 8th at 7:00 PM at home against the Wofford Terriers. Tickets are on sale at 706-542-1231 and http://www.georgiadogs.com/tickets/geo-tickets.html
Pre-season optimism is high in Athens. Tell us what you think Kenny Gaines will have to do on the court to get Georgia into the NCAA Tournament?