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Thursday, April 18, 2013
Fox talks new signee, recruiting

By David Ching

MACON, Ga. -- Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox officially announced his team’s newest 2013 signee Thursday afternoon. He met with reporters at the UGA Day tour stop in Macon on Thursday evening to discuss the newest Bulldog, Kenny Paul Geno, recruiting and the Bulldogs’ 2013-14 schedule.

Geno, a 6-foot-6 small forward, averaged 23.1 points and 12.5 rebounds per game as a senior at Boonesville (Miss.) High School. The high riser likely will bring fans to their feet with his leaping ability, but Fox likes his long-range shooting ability even more.

“I love the fact that he can get way up above the rim, but I like the fact that he can shoot,” said Fox, whose team also signed guards J.J. Frazier and Juwan Parker during the early recruiting period. “That’s more important to me than the fact that he can jump as well as he can. But he does more than one thing.”

Georgia lost SEC Player of the Year Kentavious Caldwell-Pope this week to early entry into the NBA draft, so Fox’s staff needs to replace the star’s production on the wing. Geno's addition also helps address a roster shortage at small forward.

Georgia could get Marcus Thornton back next season -- he appeared in only nine games this year because of recurring knee problems -- but Georgia’s only other option at the position is rising sophomore Brandon Morris.

“Until Marcus is healthy we only have one small forward on the team in Brandon Morris, so we needed a small forward. We didn’t want to put another guy in the junior class with a juco guy, just because it puts you way out of balance in the future. So he kind of fits what we need. We recruited him during the year, so we’re excited to add him.”

Fox said Georgia could sign another high schooler in this class, but he also could be in the market to add a transfer -- preferably a post man -- to his undersized roster. Forwards John Cannon (6-10), Donte Williams (6-9) and Tim Dixon (6-9) are the biggest returning players on the Bulldogs’ roster.

“A big, certainly,” Fox said of the ideal player he’d like to add if possible. “If there was one of those guys that has one year to play, a fifth-year guy, that’s kind of popular in our game right now. That allows you to have a player and still put that scholarship in another class, so that would be appealing if you could find the right fit there. So if there’s a big that can do that, that would be great.”

Fox said Georgia’s schedule for next season remains incomplete, and that will remain the case for some time. The Bulldogs will play home-and-home games with five SEC opponents -- off the top of his head, he named Arkansas, South Carolina, LSU and Missouri as four of them -- but he said Caldwell-Pope’s draft entry also will affect planning in the scheduling department.

“Early entries are hard to overcome. They affect your team. This is going to affect our team. We have no choice but to overcome it,” Fox said. “I think the important thing will be scheduling the games at the time where we can get some confidence and have some of these young guys get some experience at the right times so we can have the progression to keep building.”

The trick, Fox said, is to arrange the schedule where it allows his young players to build confidence and still maintain a level of difficulty that would allow Georgia to potentially participate in a postseason tournament.

“We’ve still got some work to do on the schedule,” he said. “But really with Kentavious’ decision, we’re trying to put games in the right places and make sure we get the right strength of schedule. It will take us a while to finish it.”