Georgia basketball buried by the media ahead of 2021 season

ATHENS, GA - JANUARY 7: The Georgia Bulldogs bench (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - JANUARY 7: The Georgia Bulldogs bench (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

The talk around Athens and the state at the moment is all about the Dawgs’ football team, but Georgia basketball season will be here in less than a month.

While the Bulldogs are currently the No. 1 ranked football team in the nation and look to be serious national title contenders this year, the men’s basketball team will have some work to do.

The Hoop Dawgs will have an exhibition game on Oct. 24 against the Charlotte 49ers. Georgia finished 14-12 last season, with a 7-11 record in SEC play.

Head coach Tom Crean will begin his fourth season as the leader of the Dawgs. He is 41-49 overall in his time in Athens, but has inserted levels of hype into Bulldog basketball that hasn’t been seen in years, starting in 2019 when he landed future NBA No. 1 overall draft pick and Atlanta native Anthony Edwards, the most sought after recruit in the nation.

Despite the Dawgs not even playing a single game in 2021, Crean already has bulletin board material for his team. Yesterday, SEC media members picked the Dawgs to finish dead last in the SEC this season.

Part of the reason the media expects Georgia to finish last in the conference was the large number of players who left the program this year. By May, nine players had entered the transfer portal, highlighted by the three statistical team leaders for Georgia in Sahvir Wheeler, Justin Kier, and Toumani Camara all bolting for a new school.

News also broke on Wednesday that P.J. Horne, the only returning Georgia starter from last season, suffered a season-ending knee injury. Horne was primed for a big role this season, making this a massive blow to the team.

Wheeler’s presence will especially be missed, as the newest Kentucky Wildcat (that hurts to say), averaged 14 points per game and 7.4 assist per game in 2020. Last season, he made history by becoming the first Georgia Bulldog player to record a triple-double and broke the single-season school record by netting 193 assists.

Crean has brought in some talented athletes to Athens through the transfer portal and the 2021 recruiting class despite the loss of so many players.

With guys like Virginia transfer and former four-star recruit Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Gonzaga transfer Aaron Cook, and freshmen Christian Wright and Camron McDowell, Georgia can prove to SEC fans that they are not the bottom-feeders everyone thinks they will be.

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Georgia will officially tip-off the regular season against Florida International on Nov. 9 at 7:00 pm at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens.