Hoop Dawgs Basketball: What Have You Missed
Cover Photo: Clyde Click
By: Joshua Grosh
With the dead period between the early national signing period and Georgia’s bowl game against Texas, one finds themselves with extra time to catch up on things that they have missed. One of those is the Georgia basketball team under the new leadership of Coach Tom Crean. The season so far has not been anything stellar but has had fairly solid results for the new head coach. Georgia has had a somewhat solid season so far with 7 wins and 4 losses – two of which were to ranked teams. The major disappointment was the blowout loss to a Georgia State team who is not exactly incredible in of itself. They lost in an incredibly close contest against Arizona State as well. As far as the win column, Georgia has taken care of business for the most part and even won solidly at Georgia Tech. The season so far has been steady despite two losses that the Dawgs probably shouldn’t have lost (Georgia State and Temple). Georgia however did make a great showing against a ranked Arizona State which could provide a positive glimpse into the future under the leadership of Tom Crean.
As far as the major changes under Tom Crean, the offense seems to be faster and more exciting to watch compared to the prior years under Mark Fox. Out of the first 11 games, Georgia has reached 70+ points 9 times this season as opposed to 7 timeslast season – with one game even being over 100 points. On defense, Georgia has given up 70 points 5 times as opposed to 4 times last season; however there is a caveat that Georgia surrendered 70 when they had ran up the score over 100 against Savannah. The offense does seem a little better and if the defense can remain steady from the past seasons, Georgia may have a good shot at the big dance (though with an NIT bid as a good way to keep practicing and bettering the team going into Crean’s second season).
When it comes to star players, Rayshun Hammonds and Nicolas Claxton lead the way. Both players average over 12 points per game and 25 minutes per game. Hammonds seems to be the offensive MVP with his 14+ point average and 50%+ field goal accuracy and 45%+ 3-point accuracy. Claxton is the more all-around player with 12+ points per game, the most assists per game on the team (2.6 – 29 total), most blocks per game on the team (3.1 – 34 total), and the most rebounds per game on the team (10.1 – 111 total). Another notable player is that Tyree Crump is the 3-point go-to-player on the Georgia team having made 25 of his 60 attempts. He is one to keep your eye on whenever Georgia needs a momentum winning shot or a desperation heave.
In the coming month, Georgia has games against 3 ranked teams with two of them away games (Tennessee and Auburn – Kentucky is the lone ranked home game of the group). A lot of Georgia’s games will alternate between home and away with the only exceptions being the games against Kentucky and Florida in January as well as LSU and Mississippi State in February. If Georgia could win the games it is expected to and steal a game or two against the ranked teams remaining on the schedule before the SEC Championship tournament, Georgia could potentially find a way into the NCAA tournament.