Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Mark Fox's status at UGA
By Matt Giles
When Tony Parker committed to UCLA, bypassing in-state school Georgia, his high school coach was frank on the recruiting efforts undertaken by Mark Fox and his staff: "You hate to see talent leave the state, but [UGA] came a long way. It was not in this conversation six months ago, even three months ago."
Mark Bradley has an interesting column on Fox's job status, and the current state of the Bulldogs' program in the midst of Fox's fourth season. Bradley believes that Fox is skilled when it comes to developing players, but struggles to keep the state's top talent from leaving Georgia (though he does mention Kentavious Caldwell-Pope's decision to stay home).
However, we have to disagree with Bradley's underlying statement. Even though Fox was able to work with Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, Dennis Felton also struggled to bring in Georgia's best prospects. UGA is not viewed as a premier program, even with a prime home in the SEC, and so those recruits look and ultimately end up elsewhere. I spoke to Fox the season after he was hired at Georgia, and he stressed that when recruiting high-major talent, he does underscore the job his staff has performed developing players to the point where they can make a difference in the NBA. "We have gotten second a couple of times, but you can't be afraid to swing the bat ... I think if kids honestly look at it, they need to go to a program where they are going to get better, and we've had people recognize what we have done at Nevada," Fox told me. The Bulldogs, despite a disappointing start, are now 6-4 in SEC play, so perhaps a postseason trip would further cultivate Georgia's in-state recruiting pipelines.