Mar 2, 2013; Atlanta, GA, USA; A general view of Stegeman Coliseum during the second half between the Georgia Bulldogs and the Tennessee Volunteers. Georgia won 78-68. Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Can Georgia Hoops take advantage of SEC departures in NBA Draft?

The NBA draft is upon us and will have no impact upon the 2014-2015 Georgia basketball roster. Some SEC teams will have players drafted and the question for Bulldog basketball fanatics is, will Georgia benefit from the losses by their SEC opponents.

NBA draftees are the biggest difference makers for any college team. With the help of, Dawn of the Dawg considered exclusively draftees to determine possible advantages for Georgia against SEC opponents in 2014- 2015.

First, here’s a quick sketch of Georgia’s 2014 – 2015 roster. After finishing third in the SEC regular season and reaching the SEC Tournament semifinals, Georgia losses only Donte Williams out of its top nine players. With a back-court of sophomores and juniors and a front-court with two seniors, Dawn of the Dawg expects the Bulldogs to demonstrate both improvement and maturity.

Kentucky will lose freshman PF Julius Randle and freshman SG/SF James Young to the draft. Randle is projected as a #7 pick and Young a #17 pick. Randle and Young are big time talents. With Georgia’s only player loss coming on the front line, it will be a pleasure to know Julius Randle will not face the Bulldogs next season. But Kentucky is Kentucky and Big Blue will reload and return plenty of talent. Georgia will benefit little from Randle’s and Young’s departure in 2014-15. Dawn of the Dawg rates the advantage of their departure a big Who Cares.

Tennessee was a very difficult match-up for the Bulldogs last year. The volunteers will lose senior SG Jordan McRae and junior PF Jarnell Stokes. When he was playing his best, no player in the conference could bully down low like Stokes. Georgia in particular had no one who could matchup with the 6’8” 263-pound post player. Jordan McRae was a great outside complement to Stokes and a great scorer. At 6’ 5” he was difficult to defend and forced teams to react to the match up difficulties his size and leaping ability presented.

Tennessee Volunteers guard Jordan McRae (52) Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Tennessee Volunteers guard Jordan McRae (52) Mandatory Credit: Daniel Shirey-USA TODAY Sports

Stokes is expected to go #26 and McRae #58 and there is probably not a two player combination on any SEC team Georgia will be happier to see depart. The two combined for 31 points in 66 minutes in the lone contest between the two clubs last season. The departure of these two is a big plus for Georgia. Dawn of the Dawg rates the advantage of their departure for Georgia a Big Yippee.

Missouri will have two juniors drafted. Junior PG/SG Jordan Clarkson will likely be drafted #28. He is a good shooter, has good size and can play off the pick and roll for points. Junior SG Jabari Brown is a productive scorer and will likely be drafted #46. Both players are 6’5” and are both excellent, no doubt, but they are back-court players. Georgia will be mature and capable at least five players deep in the back-court (counting Brandon Morris). Also, last year Georgia throttled Missouri in both games. The departure of two NBA quality players is a plus, but Georgia should handle the Tigers next year anyway. Their departure will do little to improve Georgia’s chances against the Tigers. Dawn of the Dawg rates the advantage of their departure for Georgia a Big Yawn.

LSU will lose junior C Johnny O’Bryant, expected to be drafted #44. On paper, 6’8” 257 pound O’Bryant’s departure is an obvious plus for a Bulldog team that will be thin in the post. But, not so fast. Last season against Georgia, O’Bryant averaged 7 points, 5 rebounds, 4.5 fouls, 3.5 TO 2 BLK, I FT attempt and 23 minutes played.

On the other hand, in Athens, Georgia’s Marcus Thornton had his second career double-double and in Baton Rouge, Georgia posts Donte Williams shot 4 for 4 and Nemi Djurisic shot 3 for 3 from the field. The Bulldogs will not grieve over missing Johnny O’Bryant next season, but his departure appears of little advantage to the Bulldogs. Dawn of the Dawg rates the advantage of his departure for Georgia a Big Yawn.

Florida loses Patric Young. Young is expected to be picked #42. Young is not unlike Jarnell Stokes – he is the kind of player Georgia will not have a good answer for this year. Florida is a lot like Kentucky. They will always have good players. But, they aren’t Kentucky. Young’s size, strength and maturity will be difficult to replace and his departure will be a significant benefit for the Georgia Bulldogs. Dawn of the Dawg rates the advantage for Georgia of his departure a Good Riddance.

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