The losses of Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie to the NBA Draft were significant blows for Mark Fox and the Georgia Bulldogs. Had both players returned, UGA would have been a likely Top 25 team. Instead, Georgia faces a re-loading process.
Fox will rely heavily on his senior backcourt this season. Gerald Robinson is back to run the show and probably assume the role of go-to scorer. He will be joined in the backcourt by sharpshooter Dustin Ware who hit 43.5% of his triple tries last season. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is a McDonald?s All-American and figures to replace Leslie at the three.
There is also experience off the bench at guard. Vincent Williams saw his playing time dip last year due to the arrival of Robinson, but played decent minutes as a freshman. Sherrard Brantley was the first guard off the bench last season and should assume that role once again.
The frontcourt is the big question mark for Georgia as they have to replace their top three post players from a year ago; Thompkins, Jeremy Price, and Chris Barnes. Sophomore forward Marcus Thornton will be asked to play a much bigger role this season even though he is not a true post player. The former Georgia Mr. Basketball had a lackluster freshman campaign, but could be bound for a breakout year. Donte Williams is the only other returnee but played sparingly as a freshman.
Seven-foot JUCO transfer John Florveus is a wirey big man who will try to provide the Bulldogs with an defensive presence. He is not the most skilled post player and will struggle against more physical bigs, but has to step in right away and fill the void in the middle. Freshman Tim Dixon is a similar type of center who needs to get stronger as well. Nemanja Djurisic has a nice inside/outside game and will try to work himself into the rotation.
If Georgia is going to reach the success they had last season, the guards will have to carry them. The frontcourt is young, inexperienced, and lacks the bangers down low that they had a year ago. Another trip to the NCAA Tournament isn?t completely out of the picture, but it certainly is a longshot.
Player to Watch: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, SG
KC-P (do people call him that because that is much easier to write than Caldwell-Pope every time?) is a gifted shooter and all-around scorer. He is also more than capable of handling the rock and using his creativity to score around the hoop. KC-P could very well be the x-factor this season for the Bulldogs. If he can make a major splash during his freshman campaign, UGA could compete for another tourney berth.