We set up these questions with Mr. Sanchez of Georgia's Dawg Spots before they hung tough with number #1 Indiana. while UCLA under achieved versus an unranked Georgetown team.
1. What is the problem with Donte Williams?
Mr. Sanchez: Why has he missed the first couple games and come off bench in the third game? He seems like he could be a good big for you. He is our best big man. He's a solid rebounder, and has a nice touch on his shot. He's not a thick big man, so he can be pushed around a good bit, and he hasn't looked the same without being able to play off an explosive penetrator like Gerald Robinson, Jr. He was arrested over the summer for possession of marijuana. The charges were ultimately dropped, but Fox reportedly wanted to send the message that the young man needed to pick better friends. I'd expect him to start in Brooklyn, because he is our best big and started at C all last season.
2. What is the problem with your offense? I saw Coach Fox said after the Youngstown game: "We set the game back 10 years the way we played offensively in the first half." Is the offense that bad?
Mr. Sanchez: Yes it is that bad. The problem is a lack of ability. Our PG isn't very good at penetrating, or shooting. We only have one real perimeter threat in Caldwell-Pope. We don't have a player who can score on the blocks. We struggle shooting from any distance. We don't look to have much of an idea of what we want to do, or have no ability to do it, so our offensive sets end up becoming pass it around the 3 point line for 25 seconds until the shot clock winds down and someone fires an off balance, contested 3. It's ugly.
3. Looking at the stats I noticed your leading shooter, Caldwell-Pope has shot 30 three attempts in three games. Is this a good thing for Georgia?
Mr. Sanchez: Yes and no. It's a good thing that, as said above, our only decent offensive player is getting the shots. It's bad because, as said above, too often those shots are contested 3 as the shot clock winds down. So while I want Caldwell-Pope taking the lion's share of the shots, I'd wish they were more within the flow of an offense. He can pull up off the dribble and knock it down from mid range or long range. He can drive to the rim. He can drop shots in catch and shoot. He's very good offensively as a #1 option. But he gets drowned in opposing defenders, and no one else on the team can utilize the space he creates to loosen things up. Maybe getting Donte Williams back would help, but it'd help a lot more if we had a second wing who could make shots, and a point who could drive to the rim.
4. Many UCLA fans were a bit dubious at UCLA recruiting two kids from the "football state" of Georgia but happy now. How is high school basketball in Georgia and how does it compare to football?
Mr Sanchez: It's as good as you'll find anywhere in my opinion. Our products tend to be less polished athletes, but we produce boat loads of talented players, especially out of Atlanta. Dwight Howard grew up on the south side of Atlanta, as did his good friend and AAU teammate Josh Smith. So did Al Farouq Aminu, Jordan Hill, Travis Leslie, and Trey Thompkins, among others who've suited up for the Clippers or Lakers. That is one of the frustrating things about Georgia basketball, so many great players sit so close to Athens, and help lead teams deep in to the Tournament, but never for UGA. Georgia had around a dozen top 150 prospects last year, and UGA signed 0. You can't go wrong cherry picking kids from Atlanta, as Korey McCray knows very well.
5. Have Georgia's games been low scoring because they try to slow the game down or because the problems with offense?
Mr. Sanchez: In the immortal words of Abraham Simpson, "A little from column A, a little from column B." Our offensive problems lead to us maxing out around 60-65 points, if not less (probably less with the athletes UCLA can use defensively). We slow things down and take our time offensively, which leads to fewer possessions, less break aways, and lower points for the opposing team. Fox's normal pace isn't really slow, but it is methodical. When the team is talented, I'd expect things to be around a 70-80 point pace. But we're not, and the scoring has adjusted according to that lack of talent.