Georgia basketball and Marcus Thornton prepare for paint battle


Two Georgia men will battle in the paint when Seton Hall visits Georgia in the Stegeman Coliseum

The eyes of the Youtube generation will as always be on the backcourt when Seton Hall and Georgia square off in the Stegeman Coliseum at 6:00 PM Sunday.

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There is talent to quicken the pulse of the twitter generation with Seton Halls freshman whiz kid Isaiah Whitehead, the

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recruit in the country, and his junior sidekick guard Sterling Gibbs facing skyscraping defender Kenny Gaines and his partner in crime, bruising point guard Charles Mann. Drop the flag on a little stop and go from drag racing Dawg J. J. Frazier, with the accompanying chills of brinkmanship and fender-bending, and the Seton Hall– Georgia basketball matchup offers thrills for the young at heart.

But, if you like good ol’ Bill Russell – Wilt Chamberlin basketball, or maybe even an ol’ fashioned 18 round heavy weight bout, keep your eyes in the paint. There two men, veterans of post warfare long schooled in the fundamentals of basketball, will battle.

The story line alone commands attention. Two Georgia boys, Dawg Marcus Thornton and Pirate Brandon Mobley, compete for rival AAU teams, (Thornton the Georgia Stars and Mobley the Atlanta Celtics) and finally face each other in the final year of their successful college careers, their teams desperate for NCAA Tournament resume building wins.

Each took a different road to Sunday’s Athens meeting.

Mobley prepped at St. John’s Northwest Military Academy in Wisconsin after playing high school ball at Groves High in Savannah. In his three plus at Seton Hall Mobley has improved his production each season – from 140 points, 110 rebounds, his freshman year, 198 points, 122 rebounds his sophomore year and 257 points, 144 rebounds his junior year – he is on pace for a 300 point, 150 rebound season.

Thornton played for Westlake High in Atlanta, signed with Clemson out of high school, received a release when then head coach Oliver Purnell accepted the head coaching job at DePaul, , and signed with Georgia. After scoring only 38 points as a freshman and 62 points during an injury plagued sophomore season, Thornton suffered through frustrating rehabilitation to emerge after a redshirt season as the Dawg’s leading rebounder with 6 per game, score 8 points per game, and lead the team with three double doubles. This season, Thornton is leading the Dawgs in points with 15 per game, in rebounds with 7 per game, and is shooting from the field with a 57% success rate.

Framing the battle between the two stalwarts is a game each team must win to stay on track for an NCAA Tournament appearance – historically an elusive event for both clubs. (Georgia attended the NCAA Tourney in 2001, 2002, 2008, 2011. Seton Hall attended the NCAA Tourney in 2000, 2004, 2006.)

Watch the paint on Sunday to enjoy some old-time individual post play wrapped inside a high stakes team competition.

Next: Seton Hall in town for resume-building matchup