2008-09 Georgia Basketball Preview: #125
Overall Rank: #125
Conference Rank: #11 SEC
2007-08: 17-17, 4-12, 6th East
2007-08 postseason: NCAA
How much momentum does Georgia have after their improbable run through the SEC Tournament? Hopefully a lot if the Bulldogs hope to garner another post season berth this year. This off-season has gone just as bad as last off-season with the dismissal and transfers of some key players. The Bulldogs rebounded, eventually and for only four days, last year after kicking two main contributors off the team. Can they do the same again this time around?
Sundiata Gaines and Dave Bliss were the seniors that led the team through all the difficult times. Yet, it will not just be their heart that will be missed. Gaines led the team in points, rebounds, assists and steals and Bliss was the scorer and defensive presence under the basket. Billy Humphrey, who averaged 12.2 points and was the main long range shooting threat, was dismissed from the team. Jeremy Jacob only played in six games his freshman year before going down with an injury, but the promising player opted to transfer. Rashaad Singleton played in ten games, eight of which he started, before leaving the team in the middle of the season.
The recruiting class is decent, and Howard Thompkins is the big name recruit who will make an impact right away. Thompkins, a 6-8 power forward, can battle in the paint or step out and hit the mid-range jumper and that versatility will find him a regular spot in the rotation. He might not be starting in November, but Thompkins certainly has enough talent to be in the lineup by the time the Bulldogs begin conference play. Fellow big man Drazen Zlovaric is an interesting prospect. He does not have the typical European big man outside shooting ability, but Zlovaric is a solid athlete who can move really well. Once he gains some strength, Zlovaric could play an important role at either forward position on this team sooner than later. Travis Leslie and Ebuka Anyaorah will add some depth to the wings. Leslie is a great athlete who plays above the rim and Anyaorah will add another much needed outside shooting threat. Ricky McPhee, a walk-on transfer from Gardner-Webb will add even more depth. Dustin Ware might need some time to adjust to the level of competition in the SEC, but the point guard will have to see some minutes this year as a backup.
Who to Watch:
Ware might see more playing time than he is ready for if Zac Swansey is not capable of taking over the point guard duties. Swansey had a decent freshman campaign coming off the bench, but now he will have to become a leader on the floor and help develop a scorer or two on the perimeter. Terrance Woodbury will man the small forward spot after averaging 11.0 points per game last year. If Woodbury continues to shoot as well as he did at the end of the 2007-2008 season, the backcourt will have its go-to-scorer. However, without Humphrey the Bulldogs are in dire need of a consistent shooting guard. Corey Butler and Troy Brewer did not play much last season, but they, along with Anyaorah, will have to hold down the position.
Jeremy Price was one of the pleasant surprises last year after averaging 8.1 points and 4.4 rebounds as a freshman. With that year of experience under his belt, the expectations on the 6-8, 270 pound Decatur, Georiga product are rising fast. Albert Jackson showed some promise during his sophomore year, but the 6-10 center needs to be more consistent if he wants to earn, and keep, a starting job. The frontcourt will miss Bliss, but there is plenty of potential with Price, Jackson and Thompkins to be much better than they were last year. The problems will arise on the perimeter where the lack of experience will be much more obvious.
Projected Post-season Tournament: none
Projected Starting Five:
Zac Swansey, Sophomore, Guard, 3.9 points per game
Corey Butler, Senior, Guard, 3.0 points per game
Terrance Woodbury, Senior, Forward, 11.0 points per game
Jeremy Price, Sophomore, Forward, 8.1 points per game
Albert Jackson, Junior, Center, 3.7 points per game