Numbers Go in Fox's Favor

ATHENS – According to the just-released 2010 US Census, Georgia's population (9,687,653) is about three percent of the entire United States (308,745,538).

Those new numbers and some from Scout.com seem to cement that Mark Fox has a recruiting advantage – even if he is at a school that's not considered anything close to a basketball powerhouse.

Georgia's basketball talent in 2012, while solid, isn't diverse – there are no guards from Georgia in Scout.com's Top 75. And as much as we in the media have made about how talented the class of 2012 is in basketball the national folks at Scout.com rate the talent in state as equal to last year, which – after watching this bunch for the last year – is probably about right.

Five of the top 75 basketball players in the country are from Georgia (Jordan Adams is from Georgia, but goes to school at Oak Hill in Virginia) – in other words about 5% of the top players in the country are from Georgia. That's pretty good, but it's not as talented a group as when the state held 11 of the top 100 in basketball in 2008, only one of whom (for the record), signed with Georgia – Trey Thompkins.

(Memo to Dennis Felton: This is probably the class that could have saved you…)

These numbers show that Georgia consistently outperforms its population average as it relates to athletics… that shouldn't come as a stunning surprise as we are located in the South with all of the benefits of weather and a sports-obsessed population.

But even if basketball coaches in the Bulldogs' past have not taken advantage of it, Georgia is special in a few different ways from those it is surrounded by in terms of basketball.

The SEC states that border Georgia (South Carolina, Alabama, Florida and Tennessee) don't even add up to Georgia's total in basketball talent in the 2012 class. Mississippi actually has two players in the top 75… Arkansas and Louisiana have one each. Basketball-mad Kentucky? None in the top 75.

The SEC states have 11 players in the top 75 – and 45% of those players reside in the Peach State – four within about an hour's drive of Athens.

The point?

Mark Fox has what other coaches in the SEC don't have – talent surrounding them. Atlanta is and always has been a hot beat of basketball talent. I would argue that it is proportionally more talented in basketball than football (Scout.com's numbers back me up, too. Since 2006, Georgia has had more basketball players in the top 100 – 40 than football players in the top 100 – 36). But no Georgia basketball coach has ever really taken advantage of it.

The 2011 NCAA birth and Thompkins' likely first round selection in the NBA Draft have done and will do wonders for Fox's program. But he and his group could take Georgia to the next level by just capturing their fair share of in-state talent.


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