Daily Dawg Thread: January 24, 2024

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Daily Dawg Thread: January 24, 2024

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Video/Transcript: Mike White’s Pregame Presser – Georgia vs. LSU

On the challenges that LSU brings…

“They execute. They space you, they drive you. They’re led by those two guards, [Jalen] Cook and [Jordan] Wright. Wright’s one of the most recruited players in our league. Cook, the transfer from Tulane, was recently eligible and made them different. Credit there, in my opinion, to their staff. They’re playing a lot different now with him eligible, especially offensively, compared to how they were playing early in the season, so they’ve adapted a little bit and they’re playing really well. They could easily be sitting here with four wins, and this team has a top-50 defense and a very dangerous offensive team as well.”





On Jabri Abdur-Rahim’s improvements…

“He scored 34 in Rupp. He’s come a long way. He’s worked his butt off. I’m so happy for him.”

On to what he attributes Abdur-Rahim’s success to…





“His work ethic. He’s a gym rat. He’s so consistent with his work ethic. He’s growing as a leader. He’s becoming – he has become, not becoming. Now I should probably change my terminology when we’re talking about him. He has become a leader. He has become consistent. He has learned how to overcome a couple missed shots where he can move on to the next play, hang his hat on the next split second of the game, which could be transition defense. It could be on the offensive glass, and he’s playing with a really high level of confidence. But no one that I’ve coached has been in the gym more individually than he has in the last couple years. Consistently, when you hear a ball bouncing and you walk by the gym and you stick your head in the door, somebody might be in there with him, but he’s in there.” 

On Abdur-Rahim’s 34-point performance in Rupp Arena…

“You’re talking about one of the winningest programs in the history of our game, one of the toughest places to play, and 20-something thousand fans. By the way, it was the loudest I’ve ever heard it in there with Z [Zvonimir Ivisic] coming in the game hitting a couple of those shots. It’s always loud in there, but that was electric. For Jabri to put on the offensive performance that he did was great for him. It made it more respectable for us, of course. We kept swinging. It shows you his character and his development, and hopefully it’s something that he can continue to build on.”

On how Abdur-Rahim’s teammates have fed off him…

“They love him. He’s a likeable guy, and when he’s having success, his teammates enjoy that. I thought our guards did a good job of finding him when he was open, and a few of those shots he made off of screens, we’re getting better at screening and using screens as we continue to kind of morph offensively into our best version here.”

On RJ Melendez’s energy off the bench…

“He’s an energy guy. When we tip it in our first competitive drill today, he’s going to be competing his butt off. That’s who he is. He’s had some good games for us. I think that he’s got a high celling, and he’s got a chance, probably as much as anyone on our team, to finish strong and to maybe impact as much or more than he’s impacting right now. He’s a good player.”

On how the team moves on from losses…

“I think our in-game response kind of speaks for itself, as it did in Tallahassee. And obviously we did lose the game, and it was ugly there for a little bit – not that we didn’t compete. I thought we competed at a really high level and finished really strong, but that in-game response, I think, is correct. If you look at the big picture with our team, it’s appropriate because we’ve responded after every loss the right way. We had a really good practice yesterday and anticipate another one today.”

On if Georgia has the resume needed to make the NCAA tournament…

“I’m more confident that if you’re focused on having a good practice today, you’ll play better tomorrow and give yourself a chance to be in a good position against a really good LSU team. If you win enough, good things will happen, but it’s a waste of time for us to talk about it. That’s why we try to have those conversations on the front end, get them out of the way. Let’s focus on how the heck we keep Jordan Wright off the foul line, and how do we guard the big fella [Will Baker] in the post, and [Jalen] Cook is tremendous in creating his own shots. This is a team that is 3-2 in our league, so we’ve got to have a great practice today. That’s where we’re at.”

On Russel Tchewa creating screens for the guards…

“And those weren’t necessarily for Jabri, but Russel, I believe he had nine seals for layups. Those don’t show up for points for him in the box score, but arguably his best offensive game, just getting Justin [Hill] and Silas [Demary Jr.] open looks at the rim.”

On playing against Kentucky’s Zvonimir Ivisic…

“You know, it’s funny. We were at a media timeout, and Rupp went crazy. I’m looking around wondering what the heck is going on, and one of my assistant coaches said, ‘They just put the big fella in.’ The Kentucky fans were excited to see him play, obviously, and he played really well. He’s a high-level talent that complements them moving forward, I think, and helps them become one of the best offensive teams in the country. They already were, but even better.”

On if there was an inclination he could play and if they had a scouting report on Ivisic…

“Yeah, that day. We found some quickly. We’ve got a big staff, so we watched some in the pregame and showed our guys for the first time that this kid might play, might not. I’m sure he’ll be rusty, don’t know how many minutes he’ll play. We were honest with our guys. We’re always honest with our guys with the scouting reports. He’s really skilled – who knows how much they’ll utilize him offensively? He gets in the game, and wow. He made an immediate impact from three, and with his passing ability and altering shots at the rim, he’s a talent.”

On when he knew that this team would be something special…

“We were hopeful last summer. That’s why we amped up our schedule a little bit late spring, early summer to try to give us opportunities. The numbers aren’t quite what we thought they would be. That said, though, we were able to beat some high-major teams. When we went on the 10-game streak, it started hitting home a little bit that, ‘Hey, these guys are super consistent.’ The way that our guys responded to some of those early losses, the way we responded in Tallahassee in-game, showed the resiliency, the competitiveness of this group. I don’t know where this group ends up here in the final stretches of this season. We’ve got a way to go, but I do know this group, they compete consistently. They like to work. I’d be shocked if we don’t have a sharp practice today. We’ve got a healthy locker room. I like working with these guys. I’m excited about going to practice today. We had a great practice yesterday, coming off a game where we were down 28 at one point. There’s no sulking. Guys were just getting after it yesterday, and they understand. They believe in the process and just getting better. Georgia’s got a strong history. We’re just trying to rebuild it, and there’s no reason that we can’t be successful here.”

On the atmosphere resulting from the changes at Stegeman…

“I just suggested it. I really did. The credit goes to Jere [Morehead] and Josh [Brooks] and his administration for being open to it and making it happen. Some of our fans had to move seats, and not everyone was super excited on the front end. Hopefully as we build this thing and we do our part that one day all of our fans will look back and say, ‘Well, that was a good decision, and I’m excited about it regardless of where I used to sit and where I’m sitting now.’ We’re just appreciative to their consideration because I’m with you. I just said that about Rupp. That’s the loudest I’ve heard the Steg when we had Tennessee on the ropes the other day, and we certainly hope it’s that loud tomorrow night.”

On how he would describe the fan base helping the team to play as well as they have…

“It’s huge. We’ve got a proud fan base, a hungry fan base. We’ve redone some things in Steg. Our administration’s been great. It’s super loud in there, and it puts us on par. Wherever you go in this league, it’s crazy. The fan bases are crazy, they’re proud, the arenas are beautiful, the facilities are great, and it just puts us on par. If we want Georgia Basketball to get going, the Steg better be rocking. It gives us a chance and puts us in the game.”

#15 | RJ Melendez | Jr. | G

On coming off the bench and staying ready…

“Coach [White] was talking to me whenever the change happened and I mean, I’m not going to get frustrated about it. It’s a coach’s decision and I’ll do whatever it takes to win games and help the team win. If that’s what I got to do, me coming off the bench and giving a little more energy coming off the bench, then that’s what I’ll do to get more wins.”

On the team’s bench contributions in games this season…

“Many people make a big deal about coming off the bench more than it is. Sometimes coming off the bench you can help or see things that sometimes the starters might not see at the beginning at the game. That really helps a lot with the energy coming in because you know how the other team is playing and you know what you need to do whenever your name is called.”

On what importance there is moving forward this season…

“You just got to go day by day. I think taking it one day at a time and preparing for the next game is the most important thing right now. It’ll help us flush whatever happened, keep us moving on and preparing for LSU now.”

On the impact of playing conference games at Stegeman Coliseum…

“It’s amazing what Dawg Nation can do in here. The amount of noise that they can cause in this gym messes with the opponent’s mindset like whenever we go on a run. It gets really loud in here just as it does in any other arena. It’s a really big advantage for us having Stegeman get as loud as it gets coming in to Wednesday’s game.”

Watch a fullscreen slideshow HERE.

Dawgs in the NFL – Divisional Round

Ben Cleveland

After the Ravens’ win over the Texans, a former Georgia Bulldog will be playing in the Super Bowl for the 23rd straight year. Georgia’s streak of Super Bowl appearances is tied with LSU for the longest active among collegiate teams. Roquan Smith and Quay Walker once again exemplified Georgia’s linebacker pedigree as both racked up seven or more tackles, including a tackle for loss, in their respective games. Seven former Bulldogs will be playing in the conference championships this coming weekend.

Ravens 34, Texans 10

Ben Cleveland, OG – Saw action on eight offensive snaps for Baltimore, as the Ravens offense gained 352 total yards.

Roquan Smith, ILB – Started at linebacker for the Ravens, posting seven tackles including two for loss in the win. Smith has now recorded seven or more tackles in each of his three career playoff games. He has also recorded two tackles for loss in all four of his career games against the Texans.

49ers 24, Packers 21

Chris Conley, WR – Appeared on 25 offensive snaps for San Francisco, catching his only target for 17 yards in the win.

Charlie Woerner, TE – Saw action on 10 offensive snaps for the 49ers, recording no statistics.

Robert Beal Jr., OLB – Appeared on five defensive snaps for the 49ers, recording no statistics.

Quay Walker, ILB – Started at linebacker for Green Bay as he racked up nine tackles and one for loss. Across two games in the postseason, Walker recorded 20 total tackles.

Devonte Wyatt, DT – Started at defensive tackle for the Packers, as he racked up one tackle in the loss.

Chiefs 27, Bills 24

Mecole Hardman Jr., WR – Saw action on 19 offensive snaps for the Chiefs, catching one pass for two yards and rushing the ball one time for a loss of one yard.

Malik Herring, DE – Appeared on 12 defensive snaps for Kansas City, racking up two tackles in the win.

James Cook, RB – Started at running back for Buffalo, carrying the ball 18 times for 61 yards while catching four of his five targets for 21 yards in the loss.

Leonard Floyd, DE – Appeared on 19 defensive snaps for Buffalo, but recorded no statistics in the loss.

Lions 31, Buccaneers 23

Jake Camarda, P – Punted a total of four times for Tampa Bay for a total of 207 yards with a long of 66 yards. Camarda’s punts averaged 51.8 yards and two of his punts were downed inside the 20-yard line. He concludes the postseason with seven total punts, five of which were downed inside the 20-yard line.

Practice Squads

Buccaneers: Richard Lecounte III, S

Reserve Lists (IR, PUP, NFI)

Packers: Eric Stokes, CB

Ravens: Nick Moore, LS

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Greg is closing in on 15 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.

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