Last night we here at Dawg Sports were proud to congratulate Kentavious Caldwell-Pope on his selection in the first round of the NBA Draft. Sadly, I have a sneaking suspicion that this may be one of the crowning moments of the Mark Fox era. Look, I freely acknowledge that we here at Dawg Sports have never been accused of heedless optimism. We've got kind of a track record of crossing over to the sunny side of the street, finding it full of ninnies who should know better, and trudging back over to Pessimism Lane.
But even if I wanted to be bullish on the Georgia basketball program's prospects for 2013-2014 I'd have trouble doing so. Just the loss of KCP is enough to expect a step back. With the SEC Player of the Year the 'Dawgs struggled to make it to 9-9 in the conference. Sure, the Hoop Hounds return a lot of guys who played major minutes in 2012-2013. Sure, there's a chance that Nema will progress, that Marcus Thornton will stay healthy and live up to his high school plaudits. Charles Mann showed real promise at the point guard spot and is likely to only improve as his familiarity with Fox's offense grows. But they don't return a single guy who averaged over 8 points per game or more than 5 rebounds per game. So if Georgia has any standouts at all in the coming season, they will have to come essentially out of nowhere.
It could happen, I guess. For Mark Fox's sake I hope it does. Because 2013-2014 feels a little like a referendum year on the guy. I don't know if that's really fair, but it feels fairly real.
Earlier this week both ChuckDawg and Mr. Sanchez saw fit to call on Mark Richt to juice up the recruiting of big uglies. I agree wholeheartedly. But I am happy to point out that Richt and company have actually been working hard on some big guys, and that work may soon pay off. This weekend I'll have a full breakdown on recent Bulldog commit Jake Edwards, but for now let me pull out my crystal ball and make a prediction. Edwards, a 2 star recruit according to Rivals, will see his rankings rise. When most recruiting services evaluated him he was around 268-270 pounds. He recently weighed in at 287 on a 6'4 frame that should get bigger. The only thing that will hold Edwards back is that he won't likely camp at the places he had planned to (like Auburn and Alabama), and from whom he might have received offers. You know the drill. Get a Saban offer, get a fourth star.
And Georgia appears to be in pretty good shape with two other instate offensive linemen, Lowndes standout Dyshon Sims and Milton big man Kendall Baker. Baker is 6'6, 275 pounds and could play on either side of the line. He reminds me a little of former Bulldog Kiante Tripp, a guy who was done a real disservice by never being allowed to stay in one spot long enough to learn it. Sims came out of nowhere following his junior season to get offers from across the SEC and ACC. Florida State and Alabama have worked hard on him, but I like the Bulldogs' chances. Stay tuned, because either one of these guys could pull the trigger in the next couple of weeks. Sadly, it's just not a great year for instate offensive line talent. So if Georgia pulls Edwards, Sims, and Baker that may be it from the Peach State.
Speaking of meat, It's lunch time, and you gotta eat something. If I were you and I were in Griffin, Georgia, I'd choose Leon's B-B-Q on Solomon Street. I stopped in there last week while in town for business and came away pretty impressed. The chopped pork sandwich I had was what I call "Piedmont-style", similar to 'que you find in other places between Macon and Athens (Fresh Air in Jackson, for example). It was tender, flavorful, and drizzled with just a hint of vinegary sauce. I also had some creamy, slightly sweet cole slaw that was among the best I've tried recently, and the sweet tea was very nearly perfect. It was sweet, strong but not too strong, and didn't have the undertone of Dawn dish liquid you sometimes find in the tea of busy restaurants around lunchtime. The lady behind the counter was friendly, despite the fact that every table in the place was full, and they were doing a brisk carryout business. Seriously, check it out.
That's it for Free Form Friday. As always, feel free to use this as your proverbial jumping off point for the weekend. Until later . . .