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UGA Basketball's Coming of Age... Once and For All

March 9, 2019

COLUMBIA, SC - I fully expected this season to go better than it did. 

I fully expect Georgia to be drastically better this time next year. Maybe my level of expectation is the optimist in me. That I still have optimism about the future of UGA basketball isn’t exclusive to me. 

Still, this long, cold winter of men’s basketball at Georgia threw lots of punches to the gut. Wednesday’s demoralizing loss to Missouri, one of the worst teams in the SEC, was a reminder that this program isn’t anywhere close to what it should be. Even with the presumed addition of Anthony Edwards and two other Top 100 prospects next winter, there is still much work to be done. If back-to-back 40-something performances on offense to close the season doesn’t prove that, then I don’t know. 

There were times this season when UGA looked like it was improving. Other times it looked totally lost. By the way, this isn’t Mark Fox-era SEC. The conference has become much more competitive. And the top of the league, which features LSU, Kentucky and Tennessee, proves that “football schools” can win the league. And by “football schools” I mean LSU.

The problem in Athens with basketball has always been that something that should be working isn’t. There’s always been a lack of passion about basketball, but not for programs like gymnastics. Then again, gymnastics has always won, and basketball has always piddled around. Tom Crean, warts and all, has injected at least a curiosity factor that’s getting fans to games. The Dawgs set an attendance record this year. Crean’s marketing efforts worked, but the product on the court didn’t. 

And let me go ahead and tell you that watching Edwards live is going to be worth the price of admission next winter, so attendance will be pretty big next winter as well. 

This should be the end of the worst part… the sloppy, awkward start to something new. But even as an optimist, even with Anthony Edwards on the way and even knowing what I know about where things should be next year I do wonder if Georgia will get where it needs to go. 

I’ve very Eliza Doolittle right now: “Make me no undying vow. Show me.”

Should has been “a” or “the” problem for a long time with basketball at Georgia. This program should be a winner. It should challenge for the SEC title each year. It should expect to be in the NCAAs. It should take advantage of AAU relationships in metro Atlanta. It should be a power. 

Should ain’t shit. It is time to do. 

If Billie Jean King’s saying is correct, and pressure is a privilege, then its past time for there to be a little pressure on this basketball program. I know this: UGA basketball has rarely, if ever, taken advantage of the privilege of location and power. It has a head coach who dares to dream, which is a great start. But this shouldn't be a dream. It should be real. 

Now that the regular season is over it is time to focus on next winter. And next winter needs to be the coming of age of this underachieving program once and for all.

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