Georgia Bulldogs: Donte Williams

Fox talks new signee, recruiting 

April, 18, 2013
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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.

ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia coach Mark Fox wished SEC Player of the Year Kentavious Caldwell-Pope well Monday after the sophomore guard announced that he will skip his final two seasons of college to enter the NBA draft.

“I think he went back and forth some and he took his time,” Fox said. “He took his time, but it wasn’t easy. Even today, in thanking me today and he’s very appreciative of his experience that he’s had at Georgia. He really has enjoyed playing here and he’s got an opportunity to pursue his lifelong dream and he’s chosen to do that.”

ESPN’s Chad Ford ranks Caldwell-Pope as the No. 21 overall prospect and No. 6 shooting guard in the June draft and projects him as a mid-first-round selection. Fox said he believed Caldwell-Pope weighed the proper information before making his decision.

“He went as far as to investigate what life would be like if he’s a guy that’s drafted and is placed in the D-League,” Fox said. “He’s researched this thing very, very well, very deeply and I thought he handled it very well to be honest with you.”

But Caldwell-Pope’s departure likely lowers the ceiling for Fox’s club in 2013-14, much like when juniors Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie entered the 2011 draft and the Bulldogs slipped from 21-12 and a spot in the NCAA tournament to 15-17 the following season.

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Half-court buzzer-beaters, last-second jump shots, ill-timed and questionable whistles -- all of those elements have contributed to a series of last-minute losses for Georgia in the last two months.

“We keep it interesting,” said Bulldogs forward Nemanja Djurisic, whose team’s most recent loss came Saturday, when Alabama’s Trevor Releford drained a 60-footer at the buzzer to give the Crimson Tide a 61-58 victory.

[+] EnlargeGeorgia
AP Photo/Vasha Hunt/Alabama Media GroupEven with Alabama's win over Georgia last weekend, the Bulldogs' average margin of loss in a 13-game stretch in SEC play is just 4.6 points.
But while Djurisic and the Bulldogs have lost more than their fair share of heartbreakers since late January, they have also proved something to themselves.

“We know we can compete with any team in the league if we play the way we can play to win,” Freshman All-SEC point guard Charles Mann said. “So that’s not really a big problem with us. It gave us a lot of confidence.”

This young Georgia team got off to an atrocious start, first by dropping seven of their first nine games of the season and then by starting SEC play with a 1-4 mark. And yet as the season progressed, SEC Player of the Year Kentavious Caldwell-Pope led the way, freshmen like Mann, forward Brandon Morris and shooting guard Kenny Gaines began to settle in and the Bulldogs suddenly became competitive.

Entering Thursday’s SEC tournament opener against LSU (18-11, 9-9 SEC), Georgia (15-16, 9-9) has won eight of its last 13 conference games -- and every game the Bulldogs lost easily could have been a victory. Their widest margin of defeat in that 13-game stretch was a 10-point loss at Ole Miss, but that came in overtime after forward Donte Williams missed a tip-in that would have won the game at the end of regulation. Including that loss, Georgia’s average margin of defeat in those games is just 4.6 points.

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KCP's role changes as sophomore 

October, 18, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Away from the court, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope does not seem like the type of guy who would get overly excited about anything. But the soft-spoken sophomore and Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox admit that there were times in his Freshman All-SEC season where he simply was not under control.

“I think Kentavious is really naturally a very quiet, soft-spoken young man, but when the scoreboard turns on or when we start playing, his personality changes and he cares about winning, he cares about playing hard and sometimes we have to slow him down,” Fox said.

“I think looking back at last year, he had a lot of plays defensively where maybe he picked up a foul or two because he didn’t know how to control his motor, he was so aggressive.”

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Notebook: Fox likes Georgia's depth 

October, 10, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Mark Fox doesn’t know for sure how his reconstructed team will fare against an expanded SEC schedule, but Georgia’s basketball coach thinks this will be the deepest and most athletic Bulldogs team he has fielded.

The Bulldogs lost starting guards Gerald Robinson and Dustin Ware from last season’s 15-17 club, but the roster of key contributors otherwise remains intact plus three freshmen -- point guard Charles Mann, shooting guard Kenny Gaines and small forward Brandon Morris -- who will play key roles this season.

“We have more pieces this year,” Fox said at Tuesday’s season-opening press conference. “We’re a deeper basketball team, we’re more athletic than we were, we’re a more physical group, certainly a more experienced group than we were last year. We are going to miss the experience of Gerald Robinson and Dustin Ware in the backcourt, but that’s really the only key pieces we lost off last year’s team.

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Samuel L. Jackson didn’t reveal the contents of the mysterious briefcase he carried in “Pulp Fiction,” but the actor shared plenty of thoughts on life with Mark Fox and his Georgia basketball team when he visited Athens last week.

Jackson
Jackson
Fox said he and assistant coach Stacey Palmore hounded Jackson with questions during a round of golf, and he met with Georgia’s basketball and football teams that afternoon, as well.

“He was very gracious talking about different characters he played and how much preparation goes into it and how he got into acting. You name it,” Fox said. “He was very open and talked about how stars deal with fame and how some people mismanage their money and what pitfalls guys can fall into. He talked to our team about some of that, which I thought was terrific. He was as down to Earth as you can imagine and I really appreciated his approach to it. I don’t know if he enjoyed it, but we sure did.”

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Not only has Brandon Morris been practicing to become a college basketball player since he arrived on Georgia’s campus last month, he has also taken time to sharpen his international etiquette.

[+] EnlargeKentavious Caldwell-Pope
Chris Graythen/Getty ImagesGeorgia starter Kentavious Caldwell-Pope won't see a lot of playing time in Italy, as coaches will focus on getting to know the newcomers.
The freshman forward and his new teammates leave for Italy on Friday and they’ve already received some basic instructions on the differences between Italian and American culture.

“It’s a certain way you’ve got to go eat in restaurants, like a way you’ve got to hold your fork, a way you’ve got to place things,” Morris said.

The NCAA permits college basketball programs to make such a trip every four years and Bulldogs coach Mark Fox targeted this summer as an opportune time because of the youth on his roster. Morris is one of four UGA freshmen and five sophomores -- including returning starters Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, the team’s top returning scorer, and Nemanja Djurisic -- all of whom will benefit greatly from the 10 practice days leading up to the trip and the three exhibition games they will play while in Italy.

“I think the trip really for us began with the practices,” Fox said. “We started being able to really practice with this team and see what they can do so I think without question we see it as a business trip and as an educational trip. They’ll certainly have some chances to do some fun things, too.”

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Georgia basketball notebook 

July, 30, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox and most of his players met with reporters Monday to discuss their upcoming trip to Italy and their summer practice sessions leading up to the trip.

We’ll have more on the Italy trip tomorrow. For now, here are some updates on the status of the team after adding freshmen Kenny Gaines, Houston Kessler, Charles Mann and Brandon Morris to the roster.

• Fox did not address whether junior forward Donte Williams will face any game punishment related to his May arrest for marijuana possession. Williams said Monday that the case was dismissed and that he passed three drug tests, showing that he is not a drug user (more on this tomorrow, as well)

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How the game was won: Top-ranked Kentucky (29-1, 15-0 SEC) steadily built a 37-19 halftime lead on senior night and used a 20-3 run early in the second half to remove any hope of a comeback for Georgia (13-16, 4-11). The Wildcats’ 79-49 win marks the widest margin of defeat for a Mark Fox-coached Georgia team, replacing an 89-61 loss at Missouri in 2010 and the largest SEC loss, replacing a 70-48 loss at Florida this season.

Stat of the game: 15. Kentucky connected on a season-best 15 3-pointers, including a run of six consecutive made 3-pointers in the second half as the Wildcats pulled away to lead by as many as 41 points. Kentucky finished 15-for-27 from 3-point range, while Georgia was 3-for-19.

Player of the game: Darius Miller. One of only two seniors on the Kentucky roster, Miller made the most of his final appearance at Rupp Arena. He went 5-for-9 from 3-point range and led the Wildcats with 17 points.

What it means: Kentucky cruised to its 21st straight victory, continuing one of the most dominant runs by an SEC team in recent memory. The Wildcats let Georgia hang around for two-thirds of the game before pulling away for a 57-44 win earlier this season in Athens. There were no such dramatics Thursday for a Georgia club that upset Florida in its last game. The highlight for Georgia was that Donte Williams matched a career high with 17 points and grabbed six rebounds.

Record performance: Kentucky extended the nation’s longest winning streak in its 52nd consecutive game at Rupp Arena. The Wildcats have never lost at home under coach John Calipari.

Game rewind: Georgia 76, Florida 62 

February, 25, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Georgia’s 76-62 win against Florida on Saturday was a big upset by any measure, but it’s not like the Bulldogs stole a win from the 12th-ranked Gators.

Not only did the Bulldogs never trail, they led even before the opening tipoff.

Gerald Robinson hit a pair of free throws before tipoff after the referees called an administrative technical foul on Florida’s Casey Prather for dunking during pregame warmups. It was a precursor of things to come, as Robinson and the Bulldogs (13-15, 4-10 SEC) would score with uncharacteristic efficiency throughout while the Gators (22-7, 10-4) regularly shot themselves in the foot.

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ATHENS, Ga. -- The physical disadvantages Georgia (12-15, 3-10 SEC) has faced in the frontcourt this season have been obvious.

“I’d say you can count on one hand the number of times we’ve been physically even up front,” Georgia coach Mark Fox said.

Saturday’s 4 p.m. ET home game against No. 11 Florida (22-6, 10-3) might be one time where the Bulldogs’ post players don’t face a decided physical mismatch -- particularly after Gators forward Will Yeguete suffered a season-ending broken foot in Tuesday’s win against Auburn.

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How the game was won: Georgia (12-12, 3-7 SEC) tied Mississippi State (19-6, 6-4) at 59 on Gerald Robinson's layup with 29 seconds left in regulation and then the senior guard scored eight points in overtime as Georgia earned its first road win in SEC play by stunning the 20th-ranked Maroon Bulldogs.

Turning point: Georgia trailed again in overtime before freshman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope hit a 3-pointer with 1:08 left in the extra session to give the Bulldogs a 68-66 lead that they would later push to 70-66 before staving off Mississippi State's last-second charge.

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Game rewind: Georgia 81, Arkansas 59 

February, 8, 2012
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ATHENS, Ga. -- Whatever could have gone right for Georgia against Arkansas on Wednesday went right to near perfection in a surprising 81-59 win that could damage the Razorbacks’ hopes for an at-large bid to the NCAA tournament.

“I feel like everybody was playing hard and we were defending,” said Georgia senior Gerald Robinson, who led the Bulldogs with a career-high 27 points. “I think we held them to a pretty good shooting percentage [26 percent] in the first half, so that’s the main thing. Everybody was defending -- all five people on the floor, helping each other out. I feel like that was a big team-building moment for us tonight.”

A Bulldogs team (11-12, 2-7 SEC) that has struggled offensively throughout the season scored 81 points, a season high for a regulation game, and won by their largest margin of the regular season. That included a scorching 53-percent shooting effort from the floor and 9-for-20 from 3-point range.

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How the game was won: Tennessee (11-12, 3-5 SEC) closed the game on a 39-21 run, gaining retribution for its eariler loss at Georgia (10-12, 1-7) by capitalizing on another late-game scoring lapse by the Bulldogs. Georgia led 41-34 when Nemanja Djurisic made a jumper with 14:42 left in the second half before Tennessee launched its scoring run.

Stat of the game: 34-16. Tennessee’s bench outscored Georgia’s 34-16. Djurisic and John Florveus contributed 15 of those points on a combined 6-for-19 shooting.

Player of the game: Jeronne Maymon. The Tennessee forward not only scored 15 points and grabbed eight rebounds, he also helped get Georgia’s two best post players, Donte Williams and Marcus Thornton, in foul trouble. Both players eventually fouled out, helping Tennessee close out the win with points in the paint.

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ATHENS, Ga. -- Don’t tell Marcus Thornton that Georgia’s 57-53 overtime win Wednesday against Tennessee was far from a thing of beauty.

The sophomore forward played 23 minutes in his return to the court after a knee injury forced him to sit out for the last month. Plus, his team won for the first time in SEC play.

“Anytime it’s a win, it’s beautiful to me,” said Thornton, who had one rebound, one assist and one steal, though he did not attempt a shot. “It’s nerve-wracking to watch, but I’m just so glad we were able to get out there and fight and get a win against a rival like Tennessee.”

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