Fox’s To Do List:
Well Fox’s first season is almost over and the general sentiment from the Bulldog Nation is a good one. They are happy with the progress that has been made in such a short time and any time you can beat Tech and Tennessee in the same year you will make Dawg fans happy. However, as most basketball enthusiasts can tell, there are a few things that Fox needs to do the rest of this season to finish out the year strong.
Number one on the list is obviously to WIN A GAME ON THE ROAD! The Dawgs have two more opportunities to do so – Thursday at Vandy and March 6th at LSU. Winning at Vandy any time – much less your first year of coaching on that weird court – is hard. I’m not saying its out of the questions but the nerds of the SEC get excited about their basketball and the Vandy team is going to be looking to get revenge after the double-digit loss in Athens on February 6th. Thats why I’m circling the date against LSU as Georgia’s first win on the road in the Fox era. LSU has struggled at times and is one of the weaker opponents of the SEC West (of course so was Auburn and look what happened there). But the Hoop Dawgs will be getting out for Spring Break and should be inspired to play the game heading into the SEC Tourney.
Number two on the list is to win at least one of the last two at home. The only thing better than beating both Tennessee and Tech in a year is beating Tennessee, Tech, and Florida. The Dawgs suffered their largest defeat of the year to the Gators in late January and need to make amends for the loss. A win over the highly ranked Kentucky team on March 3rd would make this basketball season sweet. I think both games will be tough. Florida is one of the most underrated teams in the conference and one that – in all honesty – is on the bubble for the Big Dance. A loss to Georgia could keep them from it so don’t expect the Gators to come in lax on Saturday. A sold out crowd at Stegman will create a great atmosphere for the last two games. (I love seeing basketball finally getting some love!!)
Number three on the list is to get the players to play with more emotion at home and on the road. I would like to see him break a clipboard or get a technical or throw a chair or something to get the players motivated. I attended the disastrous game at Auburn and it was one of the most pathetic displays of basketball I have ever seen. Even McPhee missed a layup. It looked as if the players didn’t want to play. There was no pressure on the ball, not a lot of enthusiasm, nothing. For the better part of a half, the same thing occurred in the win against Bama on Saturday. I understand we have 5 – and maybe 6 – players at a time that can give us quality minutes but we have to pressure some of these teams to force their hands. Looking to the future, I can’t wait for Fox to have two or three players he can be confident in coming off the bench and he can pressure the ball and hopefully use that defense to get the stops he keeps complaining about not getting.
Moving on to number four, he has to develop a consistent post threat to help Tompkins and replace AJ next season. Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes both show signs of life at times but at others look like they don’t exactly know how to play basketball. While it would be impossible to make both of these guys consistent threats with 5 games left in the regular season, they can certainly grow a lot through practice and I feel like Fox is taking the necessary steps to do so.
Lastly, convince Leslie and Tompkins to stay around for two more years. Tompkins is a great player already but could benefit from
the extra experience and if he does stay all four, could lead his team on a deep run into the NCAA tourney. Leslie improved leaps – no pun intended – and bounds over the last offseason and could benefit from two more under Fox. He still lacks a consistent jump shot and needs to improve his dribbling skills. Plus, I would love to see his dunks over the next two seasons.
Until next time, “You stay classy Classic City.”