Georgia Bulldogs: NCAA basketball

MACON, Ga. -- When he arrived at the University of Georgia, Mark Fox circled the summer of 2012 as the ideal time to take his Bulldogs basketball team on an NCAA-permitted summer tour.

Nemanja Djurisic
Radi Nabulsi/ESPN.comTo focus on the Bulldogs' rebuilding, rising sophomore G Nemanja Djurisic passed up an opportunity to play with his native Montenegro's national
team this summer.
Because of the leadership turnover on his roster, the Bulldogs’ nine-day trip to Italy in August will be particularly valuable as a team-building exercise. Georgia’s four new signees -- Kenny Gaines, Brandon Morris, Charles Mann and Houston Kessler -- will even be allowed to join the team in Italy, so the practice and game time allotted before and during the trip will give the Bulldogs a head start in preparing for life without departed guards Gerald Robinson and Dustin Ware.

“We thought this might be the time to go,” Fox said Tuesday at the UGA Day gathering in Macon. “It’s unfortunate that it’s an Olympic year, but it’s a perfect time for our team to go because we had a lot of young guys that played a lot last year. We return all those guys, and we’ve got a lot of new, young faces. It’ll give all those guys a chance to jell, figure out who the leader is on the court and get used to each other.”

Sophomore forward Nemanja Djurisic would have missed the trip had he decided to compete for the national team of his home country, Montenegro. Djurisic was a member of the national team several times as a junior player, but decided the timing was not right for him to join the team this summer.

“He had an opportunity to, but just felt like the time commitment was just too great,” Fox said. “He was going to have to be gone for nearly two months and he just didn’t feel like that was the wisest thing to do. So he’ll hope to play for them again later.”

The NCAA permits a basketball program to take such a trip every four years, allowing teams to practice 10 times leading up to the trip.

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MACON, Ga. -- Georgia’s basketball schedule was all but finalized by this point a year ago.

It will be at least a few more weeks -- by the completion of the SEC meetings in Destin, Fla., at the earliest -- before the Bulldogs even know the configuration of their conference schedule for 2012-13. Until they do, Coach Mark Fox and company will be unable to set the remaining non-conference games.

“The league has not yet decided who we’re going to play in the league,” Fox said. “And so we’re really just deciding what we need to do with the last couple spots. I thought we would know the league schedule by now. We’re not going to know anything until Destin, and I hope we decide there. I’m not sure.”

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Dana O'Neil writes: By proposing much stricter eligibility standards, the NCAA is once again trying to tackle academic reform. But plenty of Division I college basketball coaches have some questions first.

And: NCAA reform will have big effect on JC level.

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