Georgia Basketball

UGA's Nicolas Claxton is Becoming a Star

November 19, 2018

Nicolas Claxton is a star in waiting. 

And we might not have to wait much longer. The long sophomore recorded his second double-double of the year during Georgia’s lopsided win over Illinois State. Only once last season did Claxton have ten points or more. 

You are watching the slow-motion development of a player who will be critical to Tom Crean’s early years in Athens. If Crean can continue to develop his squad the way Claxton has shot up so far this season look out. 

Beating ranked Clemson on Tuesday is certainly not out of the question. In fact, having watched both on Monday, UGA played better, it will be interesting to see who is the favorite in that game. That Claxton grew up in the middle of Tater madness in Greenville will likely have him eager to tip the game off at 1:30 Tuesday. 

The points and rebounds are adding up for sure, but Claxton’s length means he can be very disruptive on the defensive side of the ball, too. Its hard to inbound the ball under the basket for opposing players. And his hands always seem to be in the way one way or another. 

There’s not a lot of players like him out there - even at Kentucky and North Carolina - where length is a luxury easily afforded. Georgia hasn’t seen someone like this in a while… if ever. 

The score of Monday’s game didn’t should just how lopsided the contest was from the start. We can’t know the future, but that result might help in the future because Illinois State has been solid latley. So far this season Georgia has taken care of business. But the Tuesday tipoff against the Tigers is a major opportunity for the program. 

That Clemson is ranked right now might raise eyebrows, but this game is on a neutral floor against an ACC team. Georgia will only play four “major” opponents before SEC play (Temple, Clemson, Arizona State and Tech), and only the December 15th game against the Sun Devils is at home. 

So there is some work to be done in setting up the tournament hopes of this team. No, I don’t think it is a stretch to say this team can get to the NCAAs.

Not. At. All.

The parts are there, but they are jumbled. 

Still, Claxton is such a problem for those who play him. His length allows for him to get to the rack in no time at all. That he actually has a jumper that can go in makes him that much more challenging to guard. 

Claxton’s nickname, the Slim Reaper, is about right. But most UGA fans have been so consumed with football that they are only monitoring basketball right now. But when they get their full attention to the hardwood, they will see someone who looks a lot like a poor man’s Kevin Durant. 

Last year Yante Maten was a star in his own right, but Claxton is different in that he’s much more comfortable being on the perimeter and being a or the primary ball handler. Maten also couldn’t play defense like Claxton. 

If you want to find something to get excited about with Crean’s crew Claxton is the place to start. He’s special, and he’s getting better. 

Look out. 

Tags: Basketball
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