Georgia basketball needs a drought breaker – now!


The Dawgs 2014-2015 men’s basketball season opener is a must win.

Georgia will travel through the valley of the shadow to visit arch-rival and recent nemesis Georgia Tech in the Jacket’s McCamish Pavilion on Friday. Georgia Tech is riding a three game winning streak against Georgia.

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The Jacket team that hosts the Bulldogs may be the


in recent memory and likely the worst team in the ACC. The last three Tech teams weren’t all that great either

(16-17, 16-14, 11-20)

– and, still, that adds up to three straight over Georgia. Those tech teams had Bulldog kryptonite: Daniel Miller.

Georgia basketball Head Coach Mark Fox quickly released Miller, a former Georgia signee, when he took the Georgia job six years ago. Miller, the grandson of Georgia track legend Spec Towns, did his best to make the lives of all Bulldogs miserable.

Miller is gone, but the three game basketball drought that remains brings high drama to the battle of in-state rivals.

Mark Fox spoke to Daniel Shirley of the Telegraph about the Bulldog basketball season opener. “You’re playing a rival in game one, you know your team is going to be dialed in.”

Especially if you have lost three straight.

Georgia comes into the game with personnel concerns. Starter and key contributor Kenny Gaines (6’3”, 200) has been seriously ill and may or may not play. Gaines absence leaves a 13 point per game hole in the Bulldog attack. Compounding the problem, the Bulldogs are still sorting out the options at small forward following rising junior and two-year starter Brandon Morris’ premature departure.

Nevertheless, this is still a veteran Georgia team. Junior Charles Mann (6’5”, 215), former point – guard in training, should run the offense efficiently and contribute heavily on offense and defense. Behind Mann is point-guard bred sophomore J. J. Frazier. The diminutive Frazier has shot up to a whole 5’10” and pumped up to a hulking 150 pounds. Dawn of the Dawg jests, but Frazier’s savvy, skill, speed and heart are not to be underestimated. After questioning Frazier’s readiness for big time ball, Georgia fans fell in love with the “Mighty Mouse” Dawg. With Frazier well prepped for extended point guard duty, Charles Mann can play on the wing to compensate for the recent loss of Gaines and the unfortunate loss of Morris.

You’re playing a rival in game one, you know your team is going to be dialed in.

With Gaines, the Dawgs would get the best of a Tech revolving door backcourt that


highly touted Solomon Poole to

“conduct and accountablilty issues”

in February,


his older brother Stacey Poole in May and


point guard Trae Golden (13.3 ppg) – a one year transfer stop-gap. Tech is left with a likely starter of red-shirt freshman Travis Jorgenson and freshman Tadric Jackson. Jorgenson played in

four games

last year before being injured. He made five field goals. Jackson is a Rivals four star 2014 recruit.

Eric Bossi of

described him as physically strong and tough and deceptively quick and athletic when attacking the rim. The other option for Tech in the backcourt is junior Chris Bolden. While Bolden has

contributed lightly

in the past, he is a mature player and certainly knows how to beat Georgia.

Without Gaines playing for Georgia, the backcourt matchup evens.

On the front line, red-shirt senior Marcus Thornton (6’8” 235) and senior Nemi Djurisic (6’8” 230) bring seven years of SEC experience to this season’s post wars.

Thornton shocked the world with his production last season, leading the squad in rebounding and double – doubles. The injury plagued “professor” is now healthy, though well-worn, and will be the main man in the post for the Dawgs. The “professor’s” running mate will be the “jester”, fan favorite Djurisic. Djurisic has taken extended minutes in the paint for three years and should play well. The first post player off the bench will be freshman Yante Maten (6’8” 245). The Detroit native is athletically talented and more advanced than any Georgia post playing freshman in recent years.

In the post, Tech lost the under-appreciated Miller to graduation and the talented Robert Carter to transfer. Tech will replace the lost pair with a plethora of transfers. Charles Mitchell (6’8”, 269) comes from Maryland where he averaged 6.5 points and 6.3 rebounds a game. East Carolina transfer Robert Sampson (6’8”, 224) averaged 9.1 points 9.2 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks per game. Ole Miss graduate transfer Demarco Cox (6’ 8”, 276) is a former top 90 recruit and averaged 16.4 minutes per game last season for the Rebels.

Watch play in the paint where both teams appear to be well manned. If one team can gain an advantage, this Dawg – Bug contest could get out of hand shortly after intermission.

It is more likely this game is decided at the small forward position. With Georgia missing Gaines temporarily and Morris permanently, the combination of sophomore Juwan Parker (6’4” 200) and junior Cameron Forte (6’ 7”, 220) must hold their own against the most talented Jacket returning player, junior small forward Marcus Georges-Hunt (6’5”, 214).

Parker played 17.5 minutes per game last year. While his offensive production was poor, he did score in double figures on four occasions and shot nearly 80% on free throws.

Forte played in nine minutes a game, employing an unconventional appearing style to shoot 59 percent from the field. Unfortunately, his unconventional free-throw style resulted in a 30 percent success rate from the charity stripe. Forte is long and fast and displays great basketball savvy.

With defensive specialist Gaines absent or limited, Parker and Forte are the keys to Bulldog victory. If Kenny Paul Geno leaves the bench early in order to stop Georges-Hunt, the Dawgs are likely in trouble.

A Dawg win will likely have Parker and Forte at the top of the bill as Bee Killers – roles not recreated recently on the Bulldog basketball stage.