Jim Harrick often refers to his son as a Bulldog. But Harrick himself defended his program with the intensity of a bulldog Tuesday night at the Augusta Bulldog Club Meeting.
Harrick seemed frustrated with some of the decisions that the NCAA has made in the past. He noted that for years the NCAA had been promoting and equal playing field in the Men's NCAA Basketball Tournament, yet in 2002 the Georgia Head Coach found himself playing Southern Illinois in Chicago.
But Harrick was for the most part upbeat about the upcoming season and seasons after that.
"Things keep getting better and better at Georgia. We have everyone back from last season and Wayne Arnold will help. Our backcourt is as good as anyone in the country. And the state of Georgia is loaded with talent, both in basketball and football. I am excited about being the coach at Georgia."
Harrick noted that Georgia will get national television exposure several times in 2002-2003 including ESPN's broadcast of the Florida game and CBS's broadcast of both the LSU and Kentucky games. All of the current television games are at home. Harrick added that more TV games will be added later.
The Georgia Head Coach spent much of the night talking about potential All-American Jarvis Hayes and his family.
"Mr. Hayes is a hammer. You gotta lover Mr. Haynes. I asked my staff, ‘Why in the hell didn't you recruit this guy?' when I first saw him. Every single day in practice during the 2000-2001 season the 2nd team would beat the 1st team and that was due to Jarvis."
When asked about Jarvis leaving Georgia early to go to the NBA, Harrick said, "If he can go into the top 6, where the real money is, I'll drive him to the draft. But beyond that it is hard to say."
Harrick added that Steve Thomas likely has 3 hurdles to playing next season. First he must get through his criminal trial, which starts on the first day of the Fall semester. Secondly, Thomas must appear before the Georgia Student Judiciary Council. That Council has the ability to expel Thomas from school. And finally, Thomas, who failed a class in the Spring took and passed 9 hours worth of classes. Normally the nine hours worth of classes would make Thomas eligible for basketball in the fall. However, due to NCAA regulations allowing only 6 summer hours to count for eligibility, Georgia and Thomas will have to appeal to the NCAA for his academic eligibility to be reinstated.
Dean Legge can be reached here: firstname.lastname@example.org