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Game #4: Georgia vs Cal

<p class=txt>The Golden Bears are off to a 3-0 Start, but play their toughest opponent yet in Jim Harrick's SEC East Defending Co-Champs in the John Wooden Classic.

One of the most anticipated games of the year is finally upon us this Saturday as the California Golden Bears (3-0) meet up with the Georgia Bulldogs (2-3) in the first game of the Wooden Classic from the Pond in Anaheim. Georgia Head Coach Jim Harrick is well known out West after taking the UCLA Bruins to an NCAA Title just 7 years ago (1995)…though that seems like 'forever' in some people's minds. Harrick was fired from UCLA in 1996, spent two seasons in Rhode Island, and then left for Georgia in 1999. He previously was the head man at Pepperdine as well from 1980-1988. He is a graduate of USC

Much like this past summer in Berkeley where recruiting and transfer's took center stage, the Georgia Bulldogs had their fair share of controversy. To his credit, Jim Harrick took much of the blame on himself…but nonetheless, its something the entire program has to deal with. I personally believe the following statement from Jim is really all you need to know about him; "Things happen in college that you can't control. The bottom line is that young people are responsible for academics, not me. I sign them in good faith. I've been recruiting Johnson, Arnold and Turner for three years -- since the day I got the job here. There was never any indication that they wouldn't make it. It will work out." In my opinion, that should tell everyone what Coach Harrick is all about…and that's basketball. There's nothing wrong with that either since he is a basketball coach, though I am sure all of us believe that building a program should be foremost. 

The three young recruits that Harrick was referring to above are Alexander Johnson, Larry Turner, and Wayne Arnold. A 4th player, Julius Lamptey, composites what's been called the 'Ineligible Class of 2002' for Georgia. Only Arnold was able to get qualified and is currently on the roster. Lamptey & Johnson are in prep school after being denied admission, and Turner is now at Oklahoma. If you take into account the full three years Jim Harrick has been at Georgia, the Bulldog program has recruited and tried to enroll some pretty suspect individuals. Kenny Brunner is the largest on that suspect list, having already served time now for attacking LACC coach Mike Miller two years ago, and Brunner was dismissed by Georgetown, Fresno State, LACC, and the College of Southern Idaho. That was all prior to Jim Harrick trying to bring Kenny in too! Tony Cole was denied admission just this past season after playing for the Bulldogs in 2001-02, when allegations of both sexual harrassment and assualt were filed in Rhode Island, where Cole was previously recruited. Cole's name came up again in the Brandon Williams rape trial, in which Williams was acquitted this past August. Williams was a football player on the Georgia team, but played Basketball as well for Jim Harrick last year. And lastly, Stephen Thomas is currently the big story around Athens. The one true inside presence the Dawgs were expecting to have this year, Thomas had a rough summer too. His name appeared in the Clarke County case against Williams & Cole…but he's been reinstated academically on a probationary period. If Thomas is able to get his act together scholastically, and stay out of trouble…its believed that he'll be eligible this fall. 

And we thought Cal had a tough summer!

That was the news off the court, but lets take a look at what Georgia has on the court for Saturday's match-up;

Projected Starting Lineup: (Returning starters in Bold - 2002-03 Stats) 
PG- Rashad Wright 6'3 190 Jr (9.3 ppg, 3.5 rpg, 5.7 apg)
SG- Ezra Williams 6'4 235 Sr (16.5 ppg, 7.0 rpg, 42% 3-Ptrs)

SF- Chris Daniels 6'7 220 Jr - (13.0 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.0 apg)
SF- Jarvis Hayes 6'7 220 Jr (17.0 ppg, 6.5 rpg, 57% 3-ptrs) 
PF- Jonas Hayes 6'8 240 Jr (5.8 ppg, 4.3 rpg) 

Damien Wilkins 6'7, 235 Jr Transfer - NC State (9.8 ppg, 5.5 rpg)
Mike Dean 6'2 170 So - (2.8 ppg, 0.8 rpg) 
Wayne Arnold 6'4 190 Fr -(3.8 ppg, 1.5 rpg)
Richard Wehunt 6'4 195 Sr - (3.0 ppg, 0.0 apg)

One of the first things you'll notice about the Bulldogs this year is the lack of height, and that's something Jim Harrick has had some sleepless nights about himself. Steve Thomas is an excellent inside presence, and Harrick was recently quoted as saying 'Steve is the heart & soul of our program. We'll be allright if we get him back'. Currently, the frontcourt is made up of three juniors; Chris Daniels, and the Hayes twins. Jarvis Hayes is an excellent player, though he's a small forward through & through. He can flat out shoot the ball from extremely deep, though he wont shoot the ball 57% from 3-point land all year (he shot 32% last year). But Jarvis athleticism is something NBA scouts looked at quite a bit last year, and the last mock draft I saw had Jarvis slotted in as a top 10 NBA Lottery Pick. His brother Jonas (2 minutes younger than Jarvis) is a little bit taller, about 20 pounds bigger, and actually has a pretty decent post game. But Jonas can disappear from some games alltogether, and is quite slow, and that has left everything on the shoulders of Chris Daniels. Daniels has a good jump hook, and if you ever try finding him on the court…just look near the hoop. He's a lane rat, as witness by the fact that he shot 0 for 6 from three point land a year ago…but 51% from the floor. Everybody is a face the basket type player though.

The backcourt is by far the anchor of this team, with Ezra Williams & Rashad Wright forming an excellent and experienced duo. Williams can do it all; drive, shoot, and board…while Wright is more of a defense-to-offense type player. They are a solid tandem, and most magazines will tell you the best in the SEC. The Bulldogs get there confidence and savvy from Williams & Wright too. Backing up the starting combo are three players; Mike Dean, Wayne Arnold, and Richard Wehunt. In a close game, we likely wont see any of them for more than 10 mins.

Damien Wilkins has brought Jim Harrick an excellent bench presence, and a mature influence too. Wilkins, the son of former NBA 2-guard Gerald Wilkins and nephew of the 'Human Highlight Film' Dominque Wilkins, could be a start for almost any other team in the country. He transfered to Athens two years ago after getting into a confrontation with Herb Sendek, the Wolfpack Coach. He's athletic, strong, and spirited…but he just happene Top Stories