I worried that signing day and a mid-week game against a less than marquee opponent would equal a less than stellar effort. I was right:
"there was no rowdy sold-out crowd at Stegeman Coliseum, like there was for the Tennessee game, and atmosphere wasn’t going to play a huge role in this one."I disagree, atmosphere did play a roll. The team lost their legs and didn't have anyone in Stegeman to pick them up. I was texting with someone at the game as the lead evaporated and he he said "Hogs press tough, we look tired, no one cares."
I get it. Georgia is a football school. There are those that don't care about this winter nonsense. It is just basketball.
Basketball matters. Take a look at this list of schools: Texas, Florida, USC, Ohio State, LSU, Alabama, Tennessee, Okalhoma. All of them are football schools. All of them made big news with their signing day. All of them have made deep runs in the NCAA tournament since Georgia last did anything other than snuck in through the open back door at Alexander Memorial Coliseum.
Damon Evans is right, we have to be elite in all sports to get to the super elite level. To those of you that say, "yeah, but our team sucks, we'll go when we are good," it is a chicken and egg thing. Georgia will need to recruit great players to compete. To do so, Georgia needs to win games and show those recruits they are playing in a fun environment at home. Don't think for a second that Rick Barnes, Billy Donovan, Thad Matta, John Calipari, Anthony Grant, Bill Self, Roy Williams and especially Paul Hewitt won't say 'Why are you considering Georgia, they don't have good crowd support and lose games at home they should win' to recruits in AAU Atlanta.
We have the coach in place now that will maximize our talent. Now, we have to convince in-state talent to stay in state. If the Dawgs simply get one of the top three guys from the state each year, that is nearly always going to be good enough to lead to a tourney bid. Get two of the top five, you are playing in the second weekend. Get four of the top six, you are in the mix for the final four.
There are a couple of potential impact guys that are considering Georgia for next year and a very impressive list of 2011 guys in the mix. What happens at Stegeman over the next five weeks WILL matter. In that regard, signing day might be as big for the basketball team.
Do not quit on this basketball team. They need the Georgia people to be there for them.