Dogs Shoot for Fifth Straight Win
Georgia seeks to remain undefeated for the young season when it plays host to Big 12 Conference member Colorado this afternoon. The Bulldogs have sandwiched a pair of home wins over Furman and Samford around two neutral-court wins over Georgetown and Georgia Southern.
No Georgia team since 1994-95 has begun its season with five wins. For anything better, you must retreat all the way back to the Final Four season of 1982-83, when that squad opened the season at 9-0 before dropping its SEC opener at Tennessee.
Georgia is coming off a 61-55 win over a pesky Samford squad last Monday night in Athens. Guard Tony Cole, in the first start of his Georgia career, scored six straight points and made two steals in the final 2:30, to give Georgia the necessary edge.
Other Noteworthy Items from Today's Game
> Longtime fans of Georgia basketball will recognize a familiar face on the Colorado sideline: Buffs assistant coach Larry Gay. Few people had a greater role in the Bulldogs1 success of the early to mid-1980s than Gay, who served as an assistant under Hugh Durham from 1979 until 1989.
> From the 3Small World2 department: Buffaloes D.J. and David Harrison of Nashville, Tenn., are first cousins to former Georgia guard Ray Harrison, who lettered for the Bulldogs from 1996-99 and won All-SEC honors in Oe97.
Georgia vs. Colorado, Big 12
Today's game is the fifth all-time game between these two schools in basketball. It's also the first of a two-year home-and-home agreement. Next season the Bulldogs are slated to 3return2 the game in Boulder on an undetermined date.
Georgia has won three of the four previous meetings. Following are brief summaries of each game:
12/7/91 @Colorado 69, Georgia 58
Mile High Classic title game
12/30/92 @Georgia 75, Colorado 63
Shan. Anderson1s first double-figure game
12/23/96 @Georgia 62, Colorado 52
Dogs holds CU to 26% FG shooting
12/9/97 Georgia 84, @Colorado 73
Dogs score game's last 13 points
Georgia has had only limited competition against Big 12 schools in the seven-plus years since the league was formed. Since then, Bulldog teams are:
2-0 vs. Colorado (1997, 1998)
3-0 vs. Texas (Twice in 1997, 1998)
0-1 vs. Kansas (1999)
0-1 vs. Missouri (2001)
Knee Sprain Sidelines Hayes 2-4 Weeks
The cruel, fickle finger of fate doused Georgia Basketball and, specifically, Jarvis Hayes with a cold shower when Hayes went down with a knee injury during practice one week ago today. The Bulldogs had made great strides, somewhat unexpectedly, in winning their first three games, and Hayes had been a big reason why.
Hayes, along with twin brother Jonas, had waited almost 19 months just to play an organized basketball game. The two had transferred from Western Carolina in the spring of 2000, sitting out the 2001 season before gaining their eligibility.
As it turns out, Jarvis1 injury was diagnosed to be just a mild sprain of the MCL in his right knee. The recovery process is expected to keep him out at least through next weekend and, perhaps, until mid-December.
Fallout from Hayes Injury
Head coach Jim Harrick has few appealing options as he attempts to replace injured starter Jarvis Hayes. The Bulldogs now have just six available players who have logged significant minutes.
The Samford game last Monday gave a strong indication that Harrick favors putting both point guards, Rashad Wright and Tony Cole, on the court simultaneously. It no doubt gives Georgia one of the SEC1s smallest lineups but also one of its most athletic. Against Samford, Cole and Wright played 67 of a possible 80 minutes.
Another option could be to split Hayes1 minutes between juniors Mike Patrick and Richard Wehunt. Patrick lends experience and savvy while Wehunt Ð though he1s off to a cold start thus far Ð has proven in practice that he can score.
Fast Start Earns Ezra SEC P-O-W
Georgia coaches are seeking the consistency that eluded Ezra Williams in his first year of college basketball in 2001. If the first three games were any indicator, it looks as if he1s starting to find it.
It1s a fair statement to say that Williams carried the Bulldogs1 offense through those first three games. He led all scorers with 26 points against Furman. Against Georgetown, he again led the scoring with 20 points and added a career-high 11 rebounds to boot. It was the first 3double-double2 of his short career.
Against Georgia Southern he blistered the Eagles for another 25 points, 17 of which came in a runaway first half.
For his performance in the G1town and Ga. Southern games, Williams was named Southeastern Conference Player of the Week on Monday. It was the second such award for him during his brief career.
The Marietta, Ga., native missed the 2000 season after being declared a non-qualifier by the NCAA, despite two separate appeals in his behalf by Georgia, the last of which was in early January of 2000.
Odds & Ends Thus Far This Season
> Not even the Georgia coaches could have predicted how well the Bulldogs have rebounded thus far this season. They had, in fact, feared much worse because this roster features no one over 6-8. But Georgia currently has an average rebounding margin of +8.5 and has outdone every opponent thus far in that category. Most prominent of those games was Georgetown, against which the Bulldogs dominated the boards, 52-37.
> It1s doubtful that anyone could have predicted that guard Ezra Williams would be the Dogs1 leading rebounder thus far, either. Williams already has two 3double-doubles2 this season, something he didn1t do all of last year.
> One more thing that few could have predicted: Georgia1s current prowess at the free throw line. The Bulldogs closed out the Georgetown game by scoring their last 12 points on foul shots. Since the last 1:19 of that game, Georgia has made 43 of its last 49 free throws (88%). Not bad for a team that lost its two most frequent Ð and accurate Ð FT shooters from last season (D.A. Layne, Anthony Evans).
> Granted, it didn1t count for anything, but Jarvis Hayes1 40 points in the exhibition win over EA Sports was the highest point total by a Georgia player in any type of game since 1984 (Vern Fleming - 44 pts.). Incidentally, this was against the same EA Sports team that claimed both North Carolina and Florida as victims on its regional tour.
> The 15 steals Georgia had against Georgetown was the highest total in the 2-plus seasons of the Jim Harrick era in Athens.
> Chris Daniels doesn1t grab your attention on the basketball court, mainly because he1s not one of Georgia1s primary scorers. But his linescores thus far have demonstrated his all-around ability. He currently leads the Bulldogs in two categories, blocked shots and steals, and is second in FG percentage.
> Georgia1s performance last week against Georgia Southern bore an uncanny resemblance to its game against Mississippi State last season. In the GSU game the Bulldogs rang up 63 first-half pointsÐ four shy of the school record for most in one half Ð and shot an amazing 74 percent in the process. In last season1s game vs. MSU, they shot 68 percent in the first period, led 53-35 at halftime and cruised to a 94-73 win, the same score as the GSU contest last week.
> Is it too early to start watching things like RPI ratings? Probably so, but if you need a good laugh, check them out at www.collegerpi.com.
In the latest RPIs of Friday, Nov. 30, Georgia ranks 2nd Ð yes, that1s right Ð among all 324 Division I programs. The Bulldogs trail only 3-0 UMass under new coach Steve Lappas. They lead fellow Top 10 teams Arizona, Missouri, Duke, Ball State, Wake Forest, Syracuse, Maryland and Illinois.
Georgia's strength of schedule rating Ð which rated No. 1 for most of last season currently ranks 6th. Fifteen of the Bulldogs1 scheduled games are against teams with current RPIs of 100 or better. Michigan State now has the nation1s highest-rated schedule.
OK, OK...it IS too early to look at this stuff!!!
About Georgia1s Three Walk-Ons
Head coach Jim Harrick has welcomed non-scholarship members of the Georgia basketball program. Mike Patrick, in fact, walked on in 1999, became the first such player in Harrick1s coaching career to earn a starting berth and untimately won an athletic scholarship in the program.
Georgia has three walk-ons among its current roster. They include: 25 DANIEL SZYMANEK...a resident of Memphis, Tenn...Attended Christian Brothers High School there...A native of Poland, he immigrated to the U.S. with parents Kazimiera (mother), Zbigniew (father) and brother Thomas when Daniel was age 3.
BRIAN WATTS...from Roswell, Ga. Is attending Georgia one year ahead of his Roswell High classmates as part of UGA1s early-enrollment program. 40
RICHARD WEHUNT...from Hoschton, Ga...more information is available on Wehunt in the 2002 Georgia media guide.
Dean Set to Join Dogs in December
The loss of Jarvis Hayes should be offset to a certain degree by the mid-December addition of shooting guard Mike Dean. While the two don1t play the same position, Dean will at least present coach Jim Harrick with more options to consider.
Dean was a prolific scorer the past two seasons at Class AA Coosa High School in Rome, Ga. He averaged 31.3 points per game there as a senior and had spent much of the summer in Athens, working out with the Georgia team.
Because of an administrative problem with his transcript from Coosa Ð and with one from Rome High School, which he attend as a freshman and sophomore Ð he did not meet the NCAA initial-eligibility standards in time to enroll for Fall Term. In compliance with NCAA rules, he had to re-sign with the Dogs during the early signing period. He1s on track to join the team after Fall Semester, which ends Dec. 14. Though it1s unlikely, he would be eligible to play in Georgia1s Dec. 15 game at South Alabama.
Wilkins Must Sit Out 2002 Season
Aside from Jonas Hayes, Georgia1s other MVP of the preseason was likely Damien Wilkins. The nephew of former UGA All-American Dominique Wilkins, he played every position on the floor during practices and drew raves from the coaching staff for his work ethic and leadership ability.
Wilkins transferred to Georgia last June after playing two seasons at N.C. State. Georgia had filed an appeal in his behalf to waive NCAA rule 184.108.40.206.10A, requiring any Division I basketball transfer to sit out one year before gaining eligibility at his new school. The Administrative Review subcommittee at the NCAA rendered its ruling Wednesday, Nov. 7.
Early Signing Period Nets Two
The week-long early national signing period produced two highly-regarded signees for the Bulldogs:
Center, 6-9, Albany, Ga.
A senior at Dougherty High School...Last year he averaged 28.2 points and 16 rebounds per game, leading Dougherty to a 28-4 record and the Georgia Class AAAA state championship. He was named the AAAA tournament MVP after he averaged over 30 points during Dougherty's run through the tournament...Rated the nation1s 25th-best senior by Blue Chip Hoops...Ranked the fifth-best center prospect by ESPN.com.
Guard, 6-3, Lilburn, Ga.
A senior at Berkmar High School...Last season he was the leading scorer Ð averaging 16.0 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.8 assists Ð on the Patriots' team that went 29-4, won its second straight Class AAAAA title and was ranked among USA Today's top 10 prep teams...As a sophomore starter, Arnold averaged 12.9 points per game, making an even 50 percent of his 162 three-point tries. Last year he was considered the best player on a team from which four players earned scholarships to NCAA Division I schools.