ATHENS -- Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is not the problem. The star guard is doing what was expected.
No, the biggest reason for the immense struggles of the Georgia mens basketball team is the big drop that occurs on the stat sheet after Caldwell-Popes 16.9 points per game.
Caldwell-Pope, the teams star guard, is carrying the load so much that he is doubling second-leading scorer Nemanja Djurisic (8.1), and no two Bulldogs players combine to equal their leader.
I dont know if theyre not trying to score the ball, or theyre scared to score the ball, Caldwell-Pope said. Weve got a young team, and maybe they dont want to mess up or whatever. But we do have scorers on the team.
That remains debatable. Either way, the Bulldogs are running out of time to find them.
Georgia (6-9 overall, 0-2 in the SEC) is halfway through its regular season schedule, entering Wednesday nights game at No. 17 Missouri.
I know were not winning the games that we need to win, head coach Mark Fox said. But what were doing, and I think wed win more games than what we have, but weve invested (in the future). These guys need time. Ive got a freshman, sophomore and freshman on the perimeter. But they need time. Theyre talented players.
Fox, addressing the future of the program Tuesday, said scoring help was on the way. The Bulldogs have signed 5-foot-9 point guard J.J. Frazier and 6-4 shooting guard Juwan Frazier. Eventually, he said, the team will get the scoring it needs.
But, for now, Fox doesnt hide that finding help for Caldwell-Pope is the main issue. The star sophomore has been Georgias leading scorer in all but one game -- and the one time he wasnt, the Bulldogs were victorious.
Often, the teams reliable second option happens naturally, as a player or two step successfully into a prominent role. That hasnt happened this year. The team appears done trying to let it happen naturally.
Weve gotta try and stimulate that, Fox said.
Entering the season, Fox said the two most likely players to step into a larger role were Djurisic, a 6-7 sophomore forward, and junior forward Donte Williams. But neither has been able to come through.
Djurisic is actually scoring more than he did last year, but he hasnt been playing well overall, according to Fox. Djurisic leads the team with 40 turnovers.
Hes a prime candidate to give us more production, but we need him to be more stable, Fox said. He really hasnt gotten in a groove all year.
Williams (5.9 points per game) has seen his numbers dwindle. Williams development has been stifled by a couple suspensions -- twice for a total of three games -- for the dreaded violation of team rules.
In those two guys defense, weve got a freshman point guard, Fox said of Charles Mann. They probably had the advantage of senior point guards last year, getting them the ball in better positions.
But the biggest problem is in the post. The team cant count on points from its tallest players, as they struggle to finish points, and when fouled they struggle to hit free throws. Williams, for instance, has been abysmal from the line (10-for-24), making it a tough strategy to feed him down low.
Fox granted that the team doesnt have answer yet to the frontcourt woes, and that solving it could solve the problem of a secondary scorer -- because it would open up the floor for outside shooters.
It would open a lot of things up, Fox said.
And the Bulldogs need things to open up, and soon.