2016-2017 Season Review
It was really just an average season for Mark Fox's crew at Georgia, as they beat the teams they should've for the most part, but could never pick up that big win. They went 19-15 (9-9, 8th in the SEC) and their best win was against Vanderbilt. They took Kentucky to OT on the road and took them down to the wire at home, but couldn't pull either out. They also took Florida to overtime in Gainesville and lost two games to South Carolina by a total of 8 points. Had they been able to pull a couple of those out, they likely would've danced but instead they earned a #2 seed in the NIT. Their stay there didn't last long, though, as they were upset by Belmont in the opening round, 75-63.
Georgia only lost one starter from last season, but unfortunately that starter was First Team All-SEC performer JJ Frazier. The lightning quick guard led the team in points (18.8 per game), assists (4.1 per game), steals (1.9 per game), three pointers (55 made) and minutes played (34.6 per game). I'm not even going to say replacing Frazier will be hard because the Bulldogs simply won't be able to replace what he brought to their squad. The only other guys that saw minutes that are gone are Kenny Paul Geno and Houston Kessler. Both forwards that graduated, Paul Geno played 9.0 MPG and averaged 1.5 PPG, while Kessler played just 6.3 MPG.
Besides the loss of Frazier, Georgia does bring back basically everybody from last year's team. They return their #2 to #10 scorers. Yante Maten will be the best player on the team. The 6'8 senior averaged 18.2 PPG, 6.8 RPG and 1.5 BPG last season. He also hit 21 of 43 threes (48.8%). Juwan Parker is a 6'4 senior that averaged 9.3/5.3/1.8, while Derek Ogbeide is a 6'8 junior that averaged 7.1 PPG and a team best 7.6 RPG. Jordan Harris, a 6'4 sophomore, averaged 4.7/1.4/1.5 in 16.5 MPG. He hit 22 out of 49 threes (44.9%). 6'2 junior William Jackson III averaged 4.1/1.2/1.1, played 17.5 MPG and hit the second most threes on the team with 26, which shows how poor of a shooting team the Bulldogs were (Just 20.9% of their points came from threes, which ranked #340 in the country). Maten, Parker and Ogbeide were all regular starters, while Harris and Jackson III both started in about half of Georgia's games. Mike Edwards is a 6'9 junior that played 18.1 MPG, averaging 4.4 PPG and 3.6 RPG. 6'1 sophomore guard Tyree Crump played 7.4 MPG and averaged 3.6/0.7/0.5, while 6'7 senior Pape Diatta played 10.8 MPG and averaged 2.6 points and 1.9 rebounds per game. 6'6 junior E'Torian Wilridge rounds out the group of key returners, as he averaged 2.1 PPG and 1.6 RPG in 16.2 MPG.
Mark Fox brings in the 44th rated class in the nation and #9 in the SEC, according to 247Sports. Rayshaun Hammonds is the headliner, as the 6'7 forward is a four star recruit and #11 PF in the country. Hammonds is versatile player that can play both the 3 and 4 and even the 2 if need be. He's most comfortable around the rim but has stretched his game out. Nicolas Claxton is a 6'9 three star forward that possess guard skills and can run the floor. His father, 7 footer Charles Claxton, played at Georgia in the early 90s. Isaac Kante is a 6'8 three star forward that is very physical and rugged. Rounding out the class is 6'4 three star guard Teshaun Hightower. Hightower can play the point, score around the rim and defend, but does need to become a better shooter and decision maker. He has a chance to step in and play the point early on.
Georgia was so close to making a big splash last season, but never could get that big win to catapult them into the NCAA Tournament. They may have missed their chance because, while they do return most of their team, it's that one loss that will make them take a step back. Frazier was what made things go for the Bulldogs and replacing him will be a process. The SEC will be much more deep and talented this year, making things even harder. Yante Maten will have a monster season numbers wise, but the Bulldogs will finish towards the bottom of the league standings.