FanPost

The new kids on the block: Do they have the right stuff?

Macon has already summarized the returning players for you.  My turn is to let you know about the new arrivals to Mark Fox's hounds.

The headliner is obviously Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.  The McDonald's All American is the biggest incoming name Georgia basketball has seen since perhaps Carlos Strong, if not longer, and is a very critical piece of any success the Hoops Dawgs will have this season.  Taller, but likely thinner and not as powerful as the departing Travis Leslie, KCP probably takes over Leslie's spot at the 3.  He's also taking over his now available #1 on the jersey.  

Now, this is all subject to change once he takes the SEC floor, or even before as Kyle noted last week we have a difficult out of conference slate.  But the 6'6 wing is said to have a very sweet stroke, solid handle, and is just a stone cold scorer.  Reports seem similar to Jarvis Hayes, but with much more ability to penetrate or score off the bounce.  He's a strong athlete, which all you have to do is add effort for solid defense.  How quickly he adapts to Fox's system, which relies on making the proper reads and reactions in concurrence with your teammates and takes time to get used to, could be a limitation.

The rest of our newcomers will help up front.  John FlorveusJohn CannonTim Dixon, and Nemanja Djurisic join Caldwell-Pope in his first year in Athens.  Reports I've read indicate Florveus is the furthest along of the 4, and most likely to see minutes with sophomores Marcus Thornton and Donte' Williams around the paint.  The JUCO addition is a Miami native, and listed 6'11 making him the tallest Dawg.  His bio linked above mentions how he's "earned the opportunity to contribute early", and has been "lauded" by the staff for his attitude and hard work.  There are questions about his strength, and his offensive skill.  But his height and reported athleticism should allow him to at least make an impact defensively, both on the glass and blocking shots.  He'll wear #32.

Dixon is a Georgia native, hailing from Columbus before transferring to Oldsmar, Florida to shore up his academics as a senior.  Like Florveus, he's been reported as long, and a great athlete, but needing to add weight and lacking offensive skill.  Also like Florveus, he seems to have the natural knack for timing blocked shots.  Most analysts seemed to indicate he was a project pick up, with great potential but not likely to give great production until later in his career.  He'll wear #5.

Djurisic was a spring addition from the acclaimed prep school South Kent.   Reports described him as kind of similar in game, although probably not skill level, to the departed Trey Thompkins.  Our new #42 is listed 6'8, is a hard worker around the paint, and said to be solid rebounding, with the touch to hit shots from outside and a decent array of post moves from the block.  His reported skills offensively, plus good floor vision and passing ability, make him an ideal PF for Fox's offense.  Aside from maybe Florveus, he seems the most likely to be counted on for minutes in the coming season.

Last but not least, is North Carolina's Cannon, who was also the last signee for Mark Fox's third class.  Cannon is listed 6'10, whose game sounded reminiscent to former player and coach, Dave Bliss.  That comp goes right down to the under the radar recruitment and supposed offer to walk-on at the major in state school (Cannon with the Tar Heels and Bliss with the Wisconsin Badgers).  Tall with a thick frame; no standout skill but a solid all around game, again sounding like Bliss.  It'd be great if his career pans out like Bliss', especially if it doesn't include the back issues the plagued our former 4 yr starting C.  Plus, you gotta love a kid who goes by "Big Country", due to his background in the rural mountains just north of Asheville.  He'll wear #41.

And oops, I almost forgot.  The Hoops Dawgs will have some mid season reinforcements in the form of G (and DB) Nick Marshall, as well as PF (and TE) Jay Rome.  Both have a good skill level, and if they were full time players, could become vital cogs in the rotation.  But it's not easy joining a team mid way through the season, especially so as a freshman.  Marshall is said to be a natural scorer ala Caldwell-Pope, and made a few top 150 lists.  So he may have a bigger impact than Rome.  But Fox's system is not an easy one to immediately work in to as we've seen time and time again.  And their late arrival limits their chances to produce.  Still, both are excellent athletes and have the physical tools to at worst, give us 5-10 minutes of hustle and strong defense.  That can be invaluable off your bench, especially in the grind of SEC play.

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