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New Georgia hoops coach Fox shoots for stars in recruiting.


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New Georgia hoops coach Fox shoots for stars in recruiting

4:01 pm October 13, 2009, by Chip Towers

It has been a half-year since Georgia introduced Mark Fox as its new basketball coach. In that time he has completed his coaching staff, formed a team, introduced his methods and philosophy, marketed and promoted and, finally, recruited like mad.

“We’ve had a good first six months,” Fox told me. “Certainly you have to make progress every day. I feel like we’re doing that.”

By all accounts, recruiting is going well, though the Bulldogs have yet to have anything to show for it.

The Bulldogs currently have 12 players on scholarship, one below the NCAA limit. Three of those players are seniors and will graduate at the end of the season: Center Albert Jackson and former walkons Ricky McPhee and Tyler Whatley.

That means Georgia will have at least four scholarships to offer for next season. However, that does not necessarily mean they’ll sign four players.

Indications are that Fox is not going to dole out aid just because he has some available. If the Bulldogs don’t find the specific type of player for which they’re looking they may elect to hold off and carry it over to the next recruiting class.

“We might [sign] two or three in this next class,” Fox said, being deliberately vague. “We might sign two next year. It just depends.”

Say this for the Dogs: They’re certainly shooting high. Among their targets for the 2010 recruiting class — the early signing period begins Nov. 11 — is five-star prospect Jelan Kendrick of Marietta.

Kendrick, a 6-foot-5, 186-pound senior from Wheeler High, is rated the No. 2 small forward in the country by Scout.com. All Georgia will have to do to land Kendrick is beat out Kentucky, Memphis, Georgetown, Cincinnati, Oregon and Isaiah Thomas‘ Florida International squad.

The Bulldogs are also after 6-foot-9 center Shawn Kemp Jr. of Canton and 6-9 center Cady Lalanne of Orlando. Kemp, son of the famous father of the same name, is a former Alabama signee (assistant coach Philip Pearson’s influence being seen here) who currently at Hargrave Military Academy prep school in Virginia. Lalanne is a Rivals.com 150 prospect who has offers from UMass, Ole Miss, South Carolina, South Florida, UCF, Virginia Commonwealth and Western Kentucky.

Fox and his staff have had a couple get away. Point guard Trae Golden of Powder Springs and small forward Jordan McRae of Hinesville, AAU teammates with the Atlanta Celtics, committed to Tennessee earlier this year.

“You’re going to have some guys you miss on,” Fox said. “From our standpoint we’re trying to reestablish ourselves and put Georgia in their minds. That’s the biggest thing. We want kids growing up playing basketball with Georgia on their mind.”

And that was Fox’s main point during his news conference on Tuesday.

“That’s been an issue that kids need to understand — you can come to Georgia and have all your dreams come true,” Fox said, his voice rising on this point. “You can come to Georgia and get to the NBA; you can come here and get a degree; you can come here and play in the NCAA tournament. That’s what we have to reestablish, that all your dreams can come true here.”

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