You won’t find much talk about Georgia basketball around here. For years, living in Macon, I hardly went to games. I think in six years living in Middle Georgia, I only made it to a couple of games. I went to an Alabama game for my birthday a few years back, and I went to the Missouri game last year when I was in Athens for work. Georgia wasn’t great, and I didn’t have internet at my house to watch the weeknight games on ESPN3, so I didn’t get to watch as many games. The affiliates down there didn’t carry the SEC weeknight games very often. I’d catch them on Saturdays when I could.
We’ve now abandoned cable and are exclusively Apple TV, so I can now watch them regularly, and living closer to Athens now, I’m planning on going to a couple of upcoming games. I’ve always liked basketball and growing up it was my favorite sport to play. My basketball career ended in 8th grade when I stopped growing and was no longer the size of a power forward and became the size of a guard.
My short and sweet take on the state of Georgia basketball: Tyler Dawgden and others post about it more regularly, but I’ve often felt it was hard for Georgia basketball. One, the fan interest just isn’t there. Most fans are more concerned with the recruiting rankings than Mark Fox’s unit’s RPI. The facilities have improved drastically. Stegemen looks great now. But for so long, Georgia basketball was an afterthought to fans and administration, and when good players and momentum finally came, the Jim Harrick scandal rocked it to its core. There were so many challenges facing Georgia, and without the program prestige or commitment, that while Atlanta is a hotbed for talent, the talent wasn’t coming to Athens when other schools like Kentucky, Florida, UNC and Duke can come in and get the great ones.
The biggest challenge facing Mark Fox is his lack of recruiting, thought recently it seems that has gotten better. Mark Fox is, I belive, a very good ball coach. But his recruiting leaves a lot to be desired. Only one player he’s brought in-KCP-could really start at programs like Florida and Kentucky. Maybe Kenny Gaines.
But I watched the game Saturday and felt so much pride for the program. TV said Stegeman was sold out (thought it appeared there were seats available). Georgia knocked off Florida. The hated Gators! Georgia is relevent in basketball. They have entered SEC play poised to make a march to March, instead of playing spoiler or the underdog role.
It’s all about expectations. I don’t want to accept mediocrity, but I know what Georgia is and understand its challenges. I’d love for more than anything for Georgia to be able to make a postseason run. But realistically, Georgia is where I’ve always wanted them: fun to watch, competitive, and relevant.
I’d like more, but I’m happy with what we have now. What we have now hasn’t happened in a long while.