I've been meaning to write a positive basketball story for a week now. Really, I've been thinking that I should point out the job Zac Swansey has done stepping in as a freshman guard. Or how Jeremy Price and Chris Barnes I've thought that I should point out that this young team is 3-1 with their only loss to No. 20 Wisconsin. As I write this, the 'Dawgs are up 20 on Delaware State. And as I was preparing that positive story . . .boom. Take a moment, dear reader, to go over and check out what Chip Towers hath wrought, err, wrote.
The AJC has officially busted open the seedy underbelly of UGA basketball. Well, not exactly. OK, not even close. While this little foray into the Freedom of Information Act is certainly not encouraging (it's never good when your own academic liasons are calling your team's academic situation "a slow motion train wreck"), it's nothing new, either. I think we all knew that the events precipitating the suspensions of Takais Brown, Mike Mercer and Albert Jackson didn't happen overnight. Nor did the events that paved the way for Mercer and Brown to be kicked off the team. This was a long time coming.
As Coach Felton makes clear in the article, the team has come a long way academically. It didn't have anywhere to go but up when he took over. And he's right that the email exchanges and memos unearthed by the AJC show the basketball staff and academic support staff really are working to make sure that we stay ahead of the APR curve.
But make no mistake, there are other schools out there who are winning basketball games without going through slow motion academic trainwrecks. Seriously, I've seen them. And I think this team is better than they were two years ago and a heck of a lot better than three years ago. But the road back is not going to be smooth. There will be bumps. Coach Felton is establishing expectations, and I support that. I just thought that the expectations would have been established by year four.
But this season is not a write-off by any stretch. Other teams in the SEC are young and vulnerable. Our out of conference schedule sets up relatively well. If this young team makes it to the Big Dance, I'll be pretty surprised. But not shocked. And we've signed three solid players for next season as well.
Let me know your thoughts in the comments. I can't really get a bead on Bulldog Nation's view of the young basketball season. Some of you are optimistic. Some are out on the ledge despite a 3-1 (probably 4-1, as I watch the scoreboard) start. Are you bullish? Bearish? Don't care until after bowl season? I'll be back tomorrow with that positive basketball story I've been meaning to write. Until then . . .