2004-05 SEC Hoops Preview: Georgia

Things looked grim for Georgia basketball in the wake of an academic scandal, yet first-year coach Dennis Felton was able to guide the Bulldogs to a respectable season in 2003-04. Georgia must now cope with the loss of four experienced senior starters to graduation. How much can be expected in Felton's second season? VeeMan takes a look at the Dawgs' new cast of characters and issues a fearless forecast. (Part 7 of 12)

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Coach: Dennis Felton (second year)
2003-04 Record: 16-14, 7-9 SEC

Returning Players

NAME CLASS MPG PPG %FG %3P %FT RPG AST
Levi Stukes Soph 30.1 9.5 39.1 37.7 68.7 2.6 1.7
Steve Newman Soph 16.1 2.7 32.2 12.0 74.1 2.1 0.8
Buzz Wehunt Soph 10.5 2.6 33.3 23.4 75.0 1.4 0.7
Marcus Sikes Soph 12.8 2.3 30.3 25.9 60.6 2.1 1.1
Joey Waldrop Soph 3.2 0.8 37.5 ---- 71.4 0.7 ---
Jay McAuley Soph 4.1 0.7 33.3 40.0 54.5 0.4 0.2

Players Lost

NAMEMPGPPG %FG %3P %FT RPG AST
Rashad Wright 37.1 14.4 42.4 39.6 68.3 2.9 3.0
Damien Wilkins 35.2 12.6 40.6 32.1 78.7 5.4 2.9
Jonas Hayes 28.4 11.9 51.2 ---- 65.7 5.3 1.0
Chris Daniels 28.8 10.2 51.0 37.5 72.6 8.1 1.9

New Players (rankings from PrepStars)

Channing Toney 6-4 Freshman #85
Robert Dozier 6-8 Freshman #108
Sundiata Gaines 6-1 Freshman #140
Younes Idrissi 6-9 Freshman Top 400
Dave Bliss 6-10 Freshman Top 400
Kevin Brophy 6-1 Freshman Australia

Roles

Sundiata Gaines and Kevin Brophy are going to have to handle the point. Not much is known about Brophy, but Gaines played point in a very difficult New York City high school league. Channing Toney and Levi Stukes (6-1) should start on the wings. Robert Dozier will be at high post, and underneath the Bulldogs are going to have to cobble something together using Newman, the ponderous Waldrop (7-0, 350 lbs), Bliss, and Idrissi. Marcus Sikes (6-6) will be the sixth man. Wehunt (6-4) and McAuley (6-1) are walk-ons.

Scoring

Stukes and the highly-regarded Toney, both excellent three-point shooters, figure to lead the offense. Toney and Gaines can take the ball to the basket and the versatile Dozier has the tools to develop into a scorer. There won't be much point production near the basket.

Rebounding and Defense

Chris Daniels was the leading rebounder and defensive player last year, and Rashad Wright, Jonas Hayes and Damien Wilkins were all solid. This year, with so little experience, the Bulldogs will struggle in these areas. Waldrop has the size to help, but isn't likely to develop to the point of having much impact.

Question Marks?

Georgia Coach Dennis Felton (AP / John Bazemore)
Toney and Stukes should be solid, but the other three positions are in question. With so little experience, floor leadership will have to develop. Once Gaines and Dozier gain experience, they should be solid contributors.

Overall Prospects for 2004-05

The academic fraud scandal which came to light in 2003 and the subsequent dismissal of Coach Jim Harrick took an enormous toll on the Georgia program, and this should be the year in which Coach Dennis Felton feels the deepest effects. In Felton's first year, Georgia had four experienced seniors who each played lots of minutes; and despite a couple of lapses, Georgia managed to have a respectable year in 2003-04. Nothing of that sort can be expected this time. The Bulldogs are clearly the weakest team in the SEC East and not much better than Ole Miss in the west. They won't win more than three or four conference games and are not going to the NCAA, or even the NIT, this season.


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