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Felton: � We can dominate the nation with just Georgia players�


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Athens Four of Georgia s five signees for the 2008 men s basketball class are from Atlanta. According to coach Dennis Felton, that s not a coincidence.

Felton said he is focusing more on an 80-mile area between Athens and the far side of metro Atlanta. This year that netted them Howard Trey Thompkins (Lithonia), Travis Leslie (Decatur), Ebuka Anyaorah (Suwanee) and Dustin Ware (Kennesaw). Drazen Zlovaric, a 6-foot-8 wing from Serbia by way of Weston, Fla., rounds out the class.

We can literally dominate the nation and win championships with just Georgia players, Felton said. That capability exists because of the level of coaching and talent in this state. It s just a fantastic area for basketball. This is a basketball hotbed.

According to Rivals.com, 14 of its top 125 men s basketball prospects are from Georgia, including 11 from Atlanta.

During his first few years at Georgia, Felton was signing a lot of players from out of state. In fact, the Bulldogs last four graduating seniors (David Bliss, Sundiata Gaines, Steve Newman and Levi Stukes) all were non-Georgians. But only two of the last year s five signees came from out of state.

It s critically important to us that we do our best work at home, Felton said. We want to get the best players, period, but a lot of them are here. I think the way our recruiting has gone is a great indicator of how well we re doing with the folks in Georgia.

Felton was unavailable to talk about the Bulldogs two latest signees until late Wednesday evening. Here s what he had to say about Anyaorah and Lesile, both 6-foot-4 guards.

On Leslie, who averaged 22 points as a senior at Columbia: Travis is an extraordinary athlete. That is clearly his strength. He jumps of the gym. He s just a great, great leaper. I think he s probably the best leaper that s been here since Dominque Wilkins. He uses athleticism to get things done and make plays.

On Anyaorah, who averaged 26 points as a senior at North Gwinnett: Ebuka is athletic, too, but he s a wonderful shooter. He can really shoot the 3. The thing I love about Ebuka is he has a real good understanding how to play the game and play the game with his teammates. He can shoot, score. Not as explosive as Travis but very athletic; as or more athletic than any guard we have.

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