Georgia remains a one-man team

semerson@macon.comJanuary 25, 2013 

ATHENS -- The lack of scoring help for star Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been well-chronicled. It has been and remains the main issue for the struggling Georgia men’s basketball team.

But it goes deeper than just that.

The team’s leading rebounder? Caldwell-Pope, at 6.2 per game, despite being a 6-foot-4 guard.

The team’s best defender? Caldwell-Pope leads the team in steals, with 44, which is second in the SEC.

The only player to start every game for Georgia? Take a wild guess.

What’s worse is that the gap is wide between Caldwell-Pope and the second man on the list for all of the above stats. Georgia (7-11 overall, 1-4 SEC) in almost every sense, is a one-man team, and it is suffering from a lack of defined roles.

“We’ve gotta get some other guys making some plays for us,” said head coach Mark Fox, whose team plays at Texas A&M on Saturday night.

Two years ago, Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie were set in the top two roles for the Bulldogs. But point guard Gerald Robinson was also a default scoring option, center Jeremy Price was someone the team could run set plays for in the post, and guard Dustin Ware was a 3-point shooting option.

Thompkins, Leslie and Price were gone last year. But Robinson and Caldwell-Pope, a sophomore last year, could still create on their own, and Ware was still an option to shoot if the ball was thrown outside to him.

This year, it’s just Caldwell-Pope and four others. And when he’s not on the floor, the team seems lost. There is no lock-down defender. There are no dependable low-post players, either as far as rebounding, blocking shots or being a target for a set play in the paint. Even the point guard role, and the job of being the main ball-handler in the halfcourt offense, has rotated around.

Eight different players have been the team’s second-leading scorer this season; in some contexts that would be an example of a well-rounded and deep team. But on this one, it shows the lack of consistent performers.

“We have a lot of players who are capable to score,” freshman forward Brandon Morris said. “We just need to get the ball in the right spots, and when they give Kentavious that much attention, we need to learn how to take advantage of the gaps and the openings we have as players.”

Lately, point guard Charles Mann has emerged as a potential secondary option. The 6-4 freshman has been the team’s second-leading scorer the most this season, five times. But overall Mann is only averaging 5.9 points per game.

The other freshmen, Morris and guard Kenny Gaines, also have had their moments. But the big problem has been consistency from veteran players.

Sophomore Nemanja Djurisic has not made the expected improvement in his second season. He’s averaging 8.1 points per game, second on the team, but he also leads the team in turnovers, and his 3-point shooting percentage (under 30 percent) is poor.

Then there’s junior forward Donte’ Williams, who has missed three games because of suspensions. Williams has struggled to become the consistent scorer and rebounder the team was hoping he would be this season.

“I thought I could be that guy,” Williams said. “I can still be that guy. It’s not over with. We’ve got 12, 13 more games to play. We’ve still got games to go.”

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