Han Vance of BIG HAIRY BLAWG will be writing on UGA Men’s Basketball under the refreshed brand: Houndspeak.
At 9-2, Georgia is off to its best start under Coach Mark Fox. Preseason SEC Co-Player of the Year Yante Maten just dropped 30 for a career-fifth time as Georgia handily took out Temple Saturday, Maten earning SEC Player of the Week honors, including his output in a third-straight win over Georgia Tech. He has not lost to the Yellow Jackets since his true freshman year and has evolved offensively into an amazing touch shooter. He can make shots all over the floor with accuracy.
We’ve dropped just two games, both under somewhat extenuating circumstances. The team suffered some food poisoning before losing one game to San Diego State out west in a tournament. The UMass road loss was a scheduling snafu of a game after and 11-day break.
An evening before our Dawgs take to the Rose Bowl field in Pasadena, California, I will watch Georgia Men’s Hoops face their traditionally worst scenario, a road game on the Bluegrass of Kentucky. Then, It’s 6a to LAX, transit to the Georgia Ultimate Rose Bowl Tailgate – profiling the SoCal Dawgs who are hosting. Sitting 5th row with the San Diego Dawgs, their sister group to the south, both official University of Georgia Alumni Associations.
We love the Hoop Hounds at Bulldawg Illustrated, and I’m excited to write about them for you this season. Here briefly veering into an amusing anecdotal personal essay in discussing my varied basketball credentials. The two key UGA sports between big games and the bowls hot-and-heavy, it’s a perfect time to reflect a bit and tell a story.
I was the Shooting Champion of the Marietta Boys Club in 1976 and played on very many school and league teams for the next thirty years. I was the assistant before that when my dad coached some boys to a YMCA championship the year we lived in South Carolina. Being from Texas and growing up in Georgia and Louisiana, my favorite player was Olajuwon, with Dominique someone I appreciated much more later in my life. He’s a great guy I see around Atlanta regularly, and I’ve gotten to know him, casually. I followed North Carolina basketball in high school and am a longtime fan of the Atlanta Hawks. In 7th grade, I was the Grand Lake School leading scorer. I was blessed to head coach two of my three younger brothers in East Cobb Basketball, the eldest of the two the league’s all-time leading scorer. I broke the single-season free throw percentage at the men’s league in Buckhead (21-of-22) and once blocked a shot of Champ Bailey in the UGA Rec League. In addition to all these and years of other basketball experiences, I have covered the UGA Men’s Basketball team at BIG HAIRY BLAWG (Est. 2007). I was also a beat writer covering the Atlanta Hawks for Sport’s Illustrated/FanSide for one season, the season before they went all the way to the Eastern Conference Finals, which I attended wearing my old Hawks shorts. I was witness to Lebron scoring 45 in Atlanta. Dominique unifies the two teams.
This year’s rendition of the Hoop Hounds can make some noise. Though Tech fell to just 5-5 and is having a tough early season, so I don’t put much weight in beating them in Athens. We came out and hit our first eight shots of the second half and put them in the rearview. Georgia is gunning for The Sweep over Tech this year, winning mark in baseball, basketball, and football. The Diamond Dawgs would have to come through for it to happen, and they haven’t been a good program in years. We took a major dip after the coaching change. Fox is on the at least warm seat too, pushing Georgia to twenty-win teams perennially now, but failing to make the NCAA tournament in all but two seasons at Georgia, and 0-2 in the tournament. He has not won the SEC.
We are playing eleven guys rotational around Maten and inked a top point guard of the future in recruiting. Turtle Jackson appears our second option on offense, with J.J. Frazier missed this year after matriculation. New Year’s Eve in Rupp Arena, with Kentucky coming off a loss, sounds dicey, at best. Stick by this team regardless of the outcome in that game, but I expect Georgia to show up and compete. Win there, and we are national news.
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