Twenty-four hours before the most anticipated game of the college football weekend, the Georgia men’s basketball team will hold its first practice for the new season.
Yes, hoops are here with the start of practices moved up two weeks. The NCAA made that change for the men to bring their start date closer to those of the women’s teams in recent years.
Men’s teams are allowed to have 30 days of practice in the six weeks before their first regular season game. Georgia takes the court for practice today at 3:30 p.m.
“It really gives you more flexibility to schedule your practices,” said Georgia coach Mark Fox, starting his fifth season with the Bulldogs after going 15-17 the past two seasons following a trip to the NCAA tournament in 2011. “It gives you more time obviously to teach. We’re going to have eight or nine more practices before we play a game.”
Georgia’s season opens on Nov. 8 at home against Wofford at 7:30 p.m.
Georgia will holds its second preseason “Basketbash” fan event on Oct. 11 at 7 p.m. in Stegeman Coliseum and play an exhibition game against UNC-Pembroke on Nov. 4.
Football is still just a month into its season, and Fox brought over donuts to the Georgia football staff Thursday morning as the football Bulldogs prepare for Saturday’s game against LSU. He said he’s done that three or four times previously.
“The record’s pretty good when we do that, so I didn’t want to break the mojo,” said Fox, who said Georgia is unbeaten when he brings the donuts. “I don’t even stick around to see them eat them. I know [Mark] Richt will be mad at me because he’s been so healthy lately.”
Fox said his focus as practice starts will include finding scoring in more places after the loss of Southeastern Conference Player of the Year and NBA lottery pick Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and building its defense.
Georgia returns senior Donte’ Williams and juniors Nemanja Djurisic and Marcus Thornton as well as the sophomore trio of Brandon Morris, Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines and adds newcomers including junior college transfer Cameron Forte and freshman Juwan Parker.
“We just look more physical, we look more mature,” Fox said. “We’re just older. … Marcus is moving around and playing above the rim [after knee injuries] and functioning as healthy as he has really probably since he’s been here.”