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Entries in Connor Nolte (5)

Wednesday
Nov172010

Hoop Dawgs provide Cardio Workout

The Hoop Dawgs win again, now 2-0 in the early season. In the win over the Colorado Buffalos (83-74), we are left with a single phrase.

 

FREE THROWS

 

Last year, we made great strides and won games because of our free throw shooting improvements. This time the dawgs won despite free throws. Shooting 62% will not win you many games, period. 

So in two games, we have had issues with REBOUNDS and now FREE THROWS. At least we are having these in different games. I know Coach Fox will fix these or the players will feel the pain.

On a different note, Watch out for Connor Nolte, Gerald Robinson and Jeremy Price. Connor isn't the best player, but wow he is all over the place. Last night he led the team in Minutes. Gerald will be just fun to watch. He made some great passes and moves, something we haven't seen in a while. Finally JP, well he is slowly becoming a leader on the floor. He will have to maintain his control, which I could see him losing last night. 

Finally a word on Trey. What the TV won't show and many miss, is how much he is coaching during the games. He was doing one on ones during timeouts and when the game had stops. This was more of the on the court players going over to him than him calling out. He is going to be great when he gets back. My take is, he should not come back until late December. 

I think we can beat Tech and some others without Trey and no need to take a chance on his injury. Lets just save him for SEC play with a warm up with the late December games.

GOOOOOO Dawgs. 

Monday
Mar152010

Basketball Rebirth

bg As we enter March Madness without the Dawgs (14-17), it draws us to the end of year one of the Mark Fox era. When the year started many didn’t know what to expect, including myself. When he was hired, I searched around for some video of his offense and how his teams at Nevada played. Now the issue was, none of our players had played in such a system. So we didn’t know how they would adapt to the system or to the new staff. As it turns out, after a little encouragement the team did seem to get it. I got my first glimpse of the team at the preseason practice/meet and greet.  Here I saw a team that was buying into the system and believing in the coach and staff. I didn’t get to see the defensive practice, but in the offensive runs, I saw some hope. In past years, we would run a play and then stop. We would stand around for 20 seconds doing nothing. That night I saw a team moving for the entire shot clock. Also, and I didn’t get it at the time, but the team shot free throws having to make their 10 before they could leave. I understood that we were practicing free throws, but didn’t realize the impact it would make in the end. Through these efforts we raised our percentage made from year to year by 8%. (63 to 71%). At one point this year, we were near 80% made. We even won a few games from the line and finished second in the league to Vandy. The little things do matter. As the year went on we all noticed that we were competitive against the big boys and not just the New Orleans’ of the world. Now we ended up losing a few of these games we should have won (Wofford), but even though we may have lost, we improved. This will be the last year that this is allowed. Yes you can learn from losing, but we need to learn after winning, which comes right after learning how to win. And there, we made great strides having won a few games that many thought we would not win. We also need to learn to win away from home. But that will come. When it comes to the players, I saw true grit showing up as the season went along. I saw the attitudes change. This was what we needed to see happen. This was not the year to win the conference, this was a year to win the players and the fans. This I believe was done. So what did I see in some of our players.

  • Jeremy Price – After a bust out freshman year, JP put on weight and played well under what he was capable of in his sophomore year. So going in, you could tell he was going to require a lot of riding by the staff and the team in his 3rd year. This started even at the preseason meet and greet. Coach was riding him about his weight and during the season, you could see the fire that was being lit under JP. Well it paid off. He dropped a lot of weight, his output increased and he stopped dragging up and down the floor. There were times last year and some this year, where I thought he would just leave. His attitude looked terrible. But if you look at the last 5 games or so, you saw the player that should have a great Senior year.
  • Travis Leslie – After some academic issues his freshman year and sitting out the end of the season, Travis came on strong in year 2. He became a nightly highlight on ESPN and moved his way up as the most improved sophomore scorer going from 6.3 to 14.8 points again. He also saw a greatly increase role in the offense and defense. I expect the same next year as he moves more into the guard role from the forward role. This should help him make the move to the next level. I also look for more games like his last, where he went for 34 points and 6 boards.
  • Trey Thompkins – His play was more expected, Was the second leading scorer in the conference and made a 5 point increase in scoring from year to year. We are now in a waiting period to see if he turns pro, but I think he would best be served by one more year under coach Fox. The improvements in his game in one year were outstanding, so one more could move him up the draft boards. So what would he need to improve on, Foul Trouble, Inside work against bigger guys, he can get bumped around more than we would like. If he goes, I wish him the best, but hope he stays.
  • Connor Nolte – For someone that never saw playing time while sitting out a transfer year, he was like a on man PR machine for the Dawgs. I’m betting he was the one that got more Dawgs on Twitter (which is great PR for the team, I know I got to interact with many members). Connor also had his website Passer’s Remorse. On his site he started a “Gameday trick Shot” and got players, coaches and even Charles Barkley to participate. They even ended up on ESPN, so from a PR perspective, this was great. He spread the word on Georgia and the Dawgs. So now maybe a kid will remember this when it comes time to start looking at schools. Can’t wait to see what Connor brings to the hardwood next year, as he will help build out our scoring threats.
I would also like to say once more thanks to our seniors, Ricky, Tyler and Albert. Thanks for the minutes, the sweat and the desired that you showed as your time as Dawgs. So where do we go next year. That’s a tough call. We know what we will have, but we are only now getting some of the players Coach Fox and the staff have gone after. Even then, it maybe the next year before we get those kids that his true recruits. To me, if we win the games we should win and a couple that we shouldn’t then we will be heading in the right directions. Because as we move forward, we will have more and more games that fall into the “Should Win” category. So looking at our schedule from this past year, if I apply just some what if’s based on more experience and a slightly deeper bench, this is what we could see next year. I can see us winning 18 or 19 games and on the bubble. But would probably end up in the NIT. This is assuming we don’t have a sophomore slump. You may look at 18-19 wins as a lot, but look at this past year at the games we blew because we didn’t know how to win. We were really not in but a few games and I imagine next year we will run into a team or two that we just don’t match up with and it will not even be close. But liek I have said, those types of games will slowly drop from the schedule as we improve. I hate that the season is over when we were really starting to get things going even when we weren’t winning. So I can’t wait until the next season and I may have some blog surprises by then. So I will have a busy off-season as well. Also, follow the Dawgs on Twitter. I’ll update my lists as players signup. So enjoy your March Madness, as I hope this is the last without the Dawgs.

Saturday
Dec192009

Great Win for the Dawgs

Tonight the Dawgs got, what I consider to be the biggest win of the year. Downing a Big10+1 team in The Fighting Illini. This game proved that Georgia can win the big games. Now the Illini were not ranked, but for Georgia to rebound after two tough losses, shows we are moving in the right direction.

During the game a tweet came in from Connor Nolte. He's having to sit out the year due to being a transfer, so he had to buy his own ticket to the game. Well this was one of those times he played fan in the stands. And from the view on TV, it was loaded with Illini fans. Sad that Georgia didn't have a better turnout. But back to this tweet, he said the following:
"It shouldn't take @Coachmarkfox to get the fans into the game. UGA basketball fans could be helping our team so much more. We need you!"
This is so true, this is also why I attend most home games and have for years. But as I told Connor, Georgia fans are not used to winning and it will take a few wins to bring most around.

So a win like today is a step in making the fans believe. I know I do and did before tonight.

So for those in Athens for the holidays, come out and support on the 23rd. Dawgs will need to support.

Again, great win for the Dawgs

Will post my assessment after I review the stats.

Tuesday
Nov172009

UGA vs Wofford - Dawgs Basketball

Game Time 7pm, Stegeman

As the season is now ramping up, we enter our second matchup of the young season. After a win over New Orleans and a career high from Trey Thompkins with 25 points, we face a team that Connor Nolte is familiar with since they are in the same conference as Furman. According to his tweet today, he remembers them playing Smart, hard and shooting 3s. 

One note about Wofford, they gave Pittsburgh a run in their first game, before falling 63-60. The Terriers had a ten point lead with ten minutes left. So the dawgs will have their work cut out for them. 

The Dawgs will have to watch out for Noah Dahlman who had 20 points and 13 rebounds against Pittsburgh and Brad Loesing who had 13 points. So the Dawgs will need to play some good defense and keep them off the line. They went 9-9 from the free throw line against Pitt. It looks like they were a bit off on their 3s only shooting 7-19, so hopefully they will remain in that range. Looking at the box score, it looks like Pitt upped the defense on the three pointer as their percentage dropped in the second half. 

For the Dawgs, we need to keep up the good defense and continue to rebound. I would like to see a few more steals and block shots as well. And we all know these can lead to easy fast breaks on offense. 

One area that we really need to focus on is free throw shooting. We only shot 67.9% (19-28) with Chris Barnes needing the most work. With that, Chris did a great job on the boards with 11 rebounds and 2 blocked shots. 

On offense, we need to start getting better looks from behind the three point line. We shot only 25 percent with Ricky going 1 for 5. Granted his one was a big one late in the game. It was point out to me that the one Ricky made was because he was set, the others he was still on the move.

I'll be at the game tonight and will be looking for improvement in a few key areas. 

Free Throw Shooting

Three Point Shooting

Offensive Rebounding

 

So lets get out there and support our Dawgs. 

Saturday
Oct242009

A New Era - The Year of the Fox

Basketball season is just around the corner and I had a chance to attend practice and dinner with the team this Friday. I'm not going to go into detail about what I saw, but I will share some of my thoughts based on what I saw and heard from the team and the coaches.

The evening started with a chance to see the team run drills for about an hour. During this time they were running the new offense that Coach Fox is putting in. For those who are not aware, Coach Mark Fox is the new basketball coach at Georgia replacing Coach Dennis Felton.

The new offense is one that Coach Fox ran at Nevada, so nothing to hide there. It is a variation of the Triangle offense that is run by the Lakers and the Bulls in the past. One of the things about this offense, that if run correctly, it is hard to defend.

I don't expect our team to "get it" off the bat, but the players I talked to said that come SEC play that they are confident that their running of the offense will give other teams issues. This was good to hear from the guys actually performing on the court.

After practice, the coaches had a little treat for the donors in attendance. We got a Q&A session followed by a Free Throw contest.

The Q&A was very informational, we learned a lot about the coaches and some insight as to how the team is progressing. In the end the coaches are confident the guys are picking up the reads within the offense and as time goes forward, more will be added to the play options. Remember the team has only been running this offense for a week. They have been able to study film, but on the court practice couldn't start until last week.

One of the questions that came up a few time during the evening was the great views the team got from Sanford Stadium. For those who had not seen the story, Coach Fox was upset with the team for some "issues" around tutors and the like. Well he fixed that by having the entire team touch every steps in Sanford Stadium. You can read the story on the AJC here.

The Free Throw contest was rather fun and showed how many of us were out of practice. We got to shoot around for a bit, which was a blast in and of itself, because it has been years since I got to take shots at the coliseum. When it came time for the contest it was line up shoot and make you move on, miss and your done. Well I was able to make the first, then I missed the second one. But between the first and second rounds it cleared everyone but 2 guys out. One was a person in late 20's the other was a 10 kid. The kid gave the guy a run for the money, but eventually missed. The winner from the guys and girls teams each got a specially signed poster of the team, from what I could tell.

The dinner afterwards was a nice setup in the Georgia Room. This is in the new addition to Stegeman that was added a few years ago. It was hosted by Outback Steakhouse and was a very nice spread. The seating was set so that one player was assigned a table. I'll start with the players and save some Coach Fox comments for the end.

I sat at the table of Connor Nolte, who I have chatted with on twitter. He'll be sitting out this year since he is transferring from Furman. Part of the dinner was player introduction done by each table. So we learned a few things about some of the players. Connor is a pretty good bowler, scoring a high of 266. He also had to fix a contact in the woman's bathroom during a high school game.

We learned some neat things about the players, we have singers and snake lovers and snake haters. We have one that likes chick flicks (Matt Bucklin) and one that travelled 2 hours to soccer practice in his native land. It was a nice way to meet and connect with the players throughout the evening.

After the introductions and dinner, I had a chance to talk to some of the guys. Here is where I got a feeling that we may have a pretty good product to put out there. At least they are confident in what they are doing. Not many expect we would battle for the SEC championship this year and I have seen where we are picked last in the SEC east. Based on what I saw today and in talking to the players, I feel that 3rd or 4th in the East is a possibility.

While meeting the players, all were very nice, polite and I had some nice conversations with many of them. Amazing how open they are and some (Albert Jackson) has what looks like a nice sense of humor. As you know, Albert hurt his wrist and has been playing with a cast. This should be coming off soon and back to full strength as the season approaches. But I asked Albert if he had clocked anyone yet in practice with the cast. He laugh and said "not yet, but I hope to get a lick in before it comes off. He did say it would not be a big hit, just a bump on the back of the head that no one can see. " Not verbatim but you get what he was going after.

Just before the player introductions, Coach Fox spoke with the group. He has said this before and I believe it is his true intent. But he wants the players to be winners on and off the court. Not all coaches feel this way. So I think we have a good one here. Not to spill any inside secrets, but he told a funny story about meeting Lou Holtz in an Airport.

He saw Coach Holtz and stopped him to ask him a question. I really wish I had recorded this, because it was so good, but Coach Fox stopped Coach and asked him how was he able to win at Arkansas, Notre Dame and South Carolina. Holtz's response was find one or two guys that you can coach. Coach them up and cuss the rest. The others will fall into place.

While he was telling this story, I could hear Coach Holtz saying this. It brought a good laugh to the crowd.

A question was asked, What does Coach Fox see from this team. His response was basically, Good Students in the classroom, Good citizens in the community, and Winners on the court. Notice that the actual athletic part of that statement is last. So he is focusing on making the players better persons as well.

I was able to talk one on one with Coach Fox and I asked him about motion in the offense. I explained that for years our offense seemed to last about 10 seconds and then we would get lead feet. I told him from what I saw, we actually continue to move and want to ball well into the play clock. His response was, "so you are actually seeing basketball being played." Great line if I do say so myself. I went on to wish him a great season and that I believe he can turn the corner on this program.

Overall a great evening was had. I was able to grab a few pics, which are below.