Senior Hoop Dawgs Still Optimistic

ATHENS – Corey Butler and Terrence Woodbury know firsthand that miracles can happen.

They had backstage passes to one of the most memorable upsets in SEC history just a year ago, so neither of Georgia's two seniors are dismissing the chances that another miracle run could be in the cards for the last-place Bulldogs.

Hope is important for the two seniors these days, but the reality is that their time as college basketball players is coming to an end, and they're far more likely to go out with a whimper than a bang.

"We came into this season and had so much promise, coming off an SEC championship, having a lot of us back, with the recruiting class coming in," said Woodbury, the Bulldogs' leading scorer. "Now the way everything's going, it's like, dang, what else can we do?"

Georgia hosts Vanderbilt (16-10, 5-7 SEC) tonight at Stegeman Coliseum with just five more games remaining on its schedule.

It has been a long season for Woodbury and Butler, who had hoped to be the leaders of an upstart program riding a wave of confidence coming off an SEC tournament title a year ago.

Instead, they have helmed a sinking ship, one that has suffered through its longest losing streak in more than 35 years, has dropped 13 of its past 14 games and saw its head coach fired midway through the season.

Through it all, Woodbury and Butler have tried to remain upbeat, knowing their final games need to set the foundation for their teammates' future.

"Me and Wood, we always look at each other and sigh and then smile," Butler said. We'll count down each game and know that it's been a rough season, but the fact that we've hung in there together and we're still going out there and competing, that shows a lot of character."

That doesn't mean the experience hasn't been a trying one, and Woodbury said a big part of him will be happy when it's over.

"It's going to be a relief but at the same time, I want to finish up how I want to finish up," Woodbury said. "I don't want to finish up how we've been going, which is probably not going to be well."

Woodbury isn't sugar coating the reality of this season. He knows how bad things have gotten. But experience has taught him that a few timely wins can overcome a lot of disappointment, and that has become his lone goal for what little time remains in his career.

Keeping home and finding the silver linings – no matter how dim they may appear – has been the seniors' legacy this season, and Butler said it's what he'll keep with him after he leaves Georgia for good.

"You reflect on your season, you see things like you beat your rival Florida, who you hadn't beaten in four years," Butler said. "You look at your season and you say, OK, Dustin Ware, Travis Leslie, Trey Thompkins, these guys have gotten better under your leadership. Those are the things you look at. You always take something positive from it. If you take the negative, you'll probably never look back and think you did anything good."


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