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Saturday, March 19, 2011

Looking ahead for UGA hoops: All eyes on Thompkins, Leslie

It only took a few minutes after Georgia's elimination from the NCAA tournament for the big questions to come: Would Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie be leaving, or was there a chance either or both could return?

Here's my story on the subject.

“Those decisions will have a great impact on our team,” (head coach Mark) Fox said. “They both could come back, and we would have a great team. They both could leave, and we would have a young team. One might stay, one might go. I don’t know.”

The story also looks at the team's incoming talent, and Fox indicates that next year's team will move to an up-tempo style.

But back to the decisions facing Thompkins and Leslie. You would expect that each will at least declare for the draft without signing with an agent, since they still have that option and there's no harm. Here's a look at the potential starting lineups in all scenarios:


F: Marcus Thornton, Soph.
F: Donte' Williams, Soph.
PG: Gerald Robinson, Sr.
SG: Dustin Ware, Sr.
G-F: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Fr.

Also: C John Florveus, Jr.; SG Sherrard Brantley, Jr.; F Connor Nolte, Sr.; F-C Tim Dixon, Fr.; PG Vincent Williams, Jr.

Analysis:You can see how many questions this team would have. Is Donte' Williams ready for a starting role? Would either of the incoming bigs (Florveus and Dixon) be ready to play significant minutes? In any case, this is a team that would definitely fall in the rebuilding category, although the presence of two senior guards and a highly-rated recruit certainly don't make it hopeless.


F: Marcus Thornton
PG: Gerald Robinson
SG: Dustin Ware
G-F: Travis Leslie
G-F: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Also: F Donte' Williams, C John Florveus, SG Sherrard Brantley, F Connor Nolte, F-C Tim Dixon; PG Vincent Williams.

Analysis:In this scenario, I could see Fox electing to throw aside the need to have two true post players, and just play his best five. Leslie is a good rebounding guard, so he could make up for it. It may not be a classically built team, but it would certainly be fast and exciting.


F: Marcus Thornton
F: Trey Thompkins
PG: Gerald Robinson
SG: Dustin Ware
G-F: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Also: F Donte' Williams, C John Florveus, SG Sherrard Brantley, F Connor Nolte, F-C Tim Dixon; PG Vincent Williams.

Analysis: If the Bulldog coaches were given truth serum (and were off the record) they'd say that if they got to pick one to return, it would be Thompkins. Not just because he's been more productive (not that Leslie hasn't) but because Caldwell-Pope can more easily replace Leslie. It would still be a more up-tempo team because of the departure of Price.


F: Trey Thompkins
PG: Gerald Robinson
SG: Dustin Ware
G-F: Kentavious Caldwell-Pope
G-F: Travis Leslie

Also: F Marcus Thornton, F Donte' Williams, C John Florveus, SG Sherrard Brantley, F Connor Nolte, F-C Tim Dixon; PG Vincent Williams.

Analysis:Obviously, this would be a pretty potent team, giving Fox the versatility to go big if needed. In the (probably unlikely) even that Thompkins and Leslie each stay, another NCAA bid wouldn't be the goal, it would be the minimum expectation.


Anonymous said...

Dawgs will be lucky to make the NIT for the next two years. Need to recruit competent players and that goes for football players as well.

Trapti said...

I have a gut feeling that Vincent Williams is going to leave the program this offseason.

Anonymous said...

seth- do you know if leslie and thompkins are 'close'. i could see two guys on a basketball team saying 'hey lets come back and make it two in a row and really lay the ground work and leave a mark on the program" a whole lot quicker than on a foot ball team. 2 guys can make a huge impact in bball vs fball.

why the hell did we have dustin ware throwing the inbounds pass at the end of the game under our own basket? seems like a poor coaching decision.

ware as SG? He took 1 shot in the game before they started throwing up 3's at the end. I like him in charge of setting the O better then Robinson. Ware needs to work on his ball skills big time in the off season and figure a way to beat the press.

robinson as PG? scares the hell out of me like he did this year. too many turn overs, too many bad shots and not letting offense set before he does his own thing. i think the speed of the game this year was something he never adapted too vs the smaller college and practice while he redshirted last year.

IF it was not for Thompkins this year, UGA would not have been able to bring the ball up against the press. Heck, we had a hard time with him.

This team picks up its dribble for no reason way too much, which usually leads to a hurried pass or poor decsion.

i hope thompkins and leslie both come back and i hope fox has ware and robinson go 2 v 4 during offseason drills so there ball handling gets better.

Nick said...

@Anon 5:44 ...

You're right on all points about the press, but I think the fix is indeed switching Robinson to the point and playing Ware at the 2. I'm fairly confident Ware knows what he needs to do to break the press ... he just can't. Simply not quick/fast enough. Should be easier to teach Robinson to "set the O," as you said, and reduce his turnover numbers than it would be to magically turn Ware into a better athlete. I don't mean to knock Ware, but it just is what it is.

Running Ware off screens and having him shoot more 3s (he is a good shooter) might be a better fit for him.

gastr1 said...

Seth, what are the possibilities of finding JUCO help next year? Even if both Thompson leaves Leslie and stays, along with the graduation of Barnes and Price the team will be awfully thin in the front court. Surely Coach Fox has his eye on someone who can bridge the coming gap so the team is not subject to taking two steps back the next two years or so.

Anonymous said...

If you look at the top programs, even up tempo teams, they have a dominant big (UNC, Duke, OSU). I don't see a dominant big in our pipeline, and no premier recruits in 2012. Is it too early to worry about the future? Nah, I'm not a sports writer. Let's panic.

MarkS31 said...

I don't think the situation is as bleak as some think, even if they both leave. Yes, it will be a young team and small, but that doesn't always spell disaster in college hoops. The inexperience would worry me more than the lack of a big. There have been some great teams that didn't have much height (I think it was Nova that had that 4-guard lineup that was so fun to watch a few years back - not that we would be on that level, but still. . .). It would be interesting seeing the focus change so drastically to a backcourt driven team. Plus, I think there's a semi-decent chance Leslie comes back. Can you imagine him on a more up-tempo team? That would be fun to watch.

I have been somewhat worried about the slow development of some of our younger guys this season. In particular, I thought Thornton would be playing a much bigger role at this point.

Anonymous said...

Sorry Mark But our whole program pretty is bleak. Damon Evans was all along a joke and a hypocrite. He should have fired Fetlon after the loss in the 2009 NCAA tournament even after the fluke SEC championship. Our football program is a joke losing to Mickey Mouse U in a Mickey Mouse Bowl. Our baseball program is even a rollercoaster. Just like Fran Tarkenton said UGA is in BIG BIG trouble and he is damn right.

Dawgfan1307 said...


When is the deadline for both to declare for the draft and when is the deadline for them to hire an agent?

Seth Emerson said...

Dawgfan, those dates are in the story.

BulldogBen said...

Normally I'm the glass is half empty, let's freak out guy but for whatever reason, I'm pretty optimistic.

Bottom line, we don't know what is going to happen at UT, we don't know who will be staying or going at UT and Florida.

If Travis comes back, we won't have a dominant force down low but we could play a crazy uptempo game that could be pretty fun to watch especially if Caldwell-Pope is as good as advertised.

Also, we signed a JUCO 7 footer that could be a factor. I just don't know much about him. I'm not one that thinks "if he was good he'd be playing D1 somewhere". There are a dozen reasons he ended up where he did. We see it all the time in football.

Is anyone down that we just signed JUCO John Jenkins?

I dunno, I'm just liking the way Fox handles his business. I will say we have GOT to get deeper somehow. Stat of the UW game:

Bench points:

UW: 28
UGA: 0

Anonymous said...

Awww. So sowwy that the pathetic, racist Tech Troll is so pessimistic about UGA hoops.

Thanks for stopping bye, clown! Go back to Jeff Schultz' blog.

Anonymous said...

Fire Dave Perno! He Chokes too.

Hoop Dawg Fan said...

Now the Dawgs can also count on the newest commit (6'8" F Nemanja Djurisic) to contend for minutes as well.

Also, I believe Seth may have mistakenly (or purposefully) left SG Nick Marshall out of his analysis. Nick is one of the most talented and athletic SGs in GA this year. He will be playing FB for UGA in 2011, and he will be joining the basketball team following FB season. His late arrival may prevent him from being a big factor on the hardwood next season, but he certainly has an exciting skill set (especially for a team lacking in Guards with big time skills).

It's highly likely that Trey has played his final game at UGA. I hope I'm wrong, but he's almost a lock to be drafted in the first round of the 2011 NBA Draft. He's gotta go. Travis has a riskier decision to make. I hope for our sake he returns to UGA, but I will support him (and Trey) regardless what decision is made. Great guys. Great Dawgs!

Anonymous said...

Travis will be a higher pick than Trey, both will go make their millions, time to leave. Easy decision for both.