The Men of the Georgia Basketball program have had a disappointing season, and consequently Coach Mark Fox is the center of replacement rumors.
The 2016-2017 basketball season for the University of Georgia Men’s team has been somewhat disappointing. With the regular season now finished, SEC Conference tournament play begins with the Georgia Basketball squad sitting in the 8th seed. Simply, with J.J. Frazier and Yante Maten leading the team, that is far removed from expectations expressed, by media and fans, back in November.
Consequently, rumors swirled this week indicating the UGA had started its due diligence to search for a new Head Coach. Yesterday, Athletic Director Greg McGarity dispatched those rumors stating unequivocally that Mark Fox will return for the 2017-2018 season. Still, the question begs: What to make of the University of Georgia Men’s Basketball program?
By no means is this program in dire straits, In fact, it doesn’t take long to realize that Coach Fox has done an admirable job of cleaning up a once penalized program, while infusing rising expectations and fan attention. Players are never in trouble, and the team seems to be fantastic representatives of the school. Frankly, Fox has done a fairly decent job with what he inherited.
More from ATL All Day
- Atlanta Braves: Felix Has Already Shown Enough to Win a Rotation Spot
- Atlanta Braves Implode Late To Phillies, Cole Hamels Remains Sidelined
- Kyle Wright Shines As Folty Struggles In Atlanta Braves Loss To Red Sox
- Atlanta Hawks Sweep Back-to-Back Games Over Weekend
- Atlanta Braves: Grapefruit League Play Check Up
Therein lies the area angst, though. Is “fairly decent” good enough at Georgia? This is where the history of the program seems to battle against present realities and future expectations.
Reality is that UGA has never been a “top-tier” basketball program. Sure, there have been years of great success (the Dominique years, The Kessler years, The Hayes years), but none of that ever changed the direction of the program.
The disconnect and disbelief from fans comes from the fact that the state of Georgia turns out nationally ranked top 50 players every single year. They just don’t go to Georgia to play basketball. And there is the rub.
Should fans be satisfied and comforted that the Fox tenure has been one of mild success, but also one of great stability and earned respect around the SEC? Or should fans suggest that the scantiness of NCAA Tournament births, in a state with national High School talent, isn’t good enough and more should be demanded?
It is hard for this writer to bang on Coach Mark Fox too much. When one reflects on the Jim Harrick and Dennis Felton tenures, one appreciates quickly the quiet stability that Fox and Co. have brought with them. But reality is that a state that has this much indigenous and inculcate basketball talent is right to think that the flagship university should be better than the South Carolinas and Auburns of the world.
Georgia’s middling history for the basketball program is battling against future wants and desires of winning, and the perception that they can’t be any better than a mid-level team most years.
Eventually, the idea that going to the “Big Dance” two-years-in-row won’t be considered optimistic. Eventually, past and present realities will meet the bludgeon of future expectations. Fan appreciation of stability will give way to fan desire to win and watch the team in mid-March.
Hopefully, Mark Fox and his team can make a run in the SEC Tournament and go dancing this year. If so, it looks like he’ll be around next year to make it two-in-a-row, and merge present realities to the future hopes of fans.