Making the Right Pick
Damon Evans
Publisher
Posted Mar 12, 2009


The worst days for Georgia basketball, I hope, are now behind us.

After bowing out of the 2009 SEC Tournament in Tampa with a first round loss to Mississippi State, the Bulldog world shifts its focus (if it was focused on basketball at all to begin with) to who the next coach at Georgia will be.

This will be the most important decision of Damon Evans’ tenure at Georgia (Firing Dennis Felton was not a decision). I hope he gets it right. Evans has steered the ship, but he's going into uncharted waters now. He has no track record for making the correct hire. We really are in the unknown now. It will be impossible to know if he, in fact, does get the correct person for the job until two years from now, and that should be about all it takes to know.

It does not take a long time to turn a basketball program around. If the program is not significantly better in two seasons Evans probably made the wrong choice. One player, a very talented player, can make a team a winner. Two players make the team a threat in March. Three players make a program.

But recruiting at Georgia has never been consistently good. It is a problem that must be addressed with the next head coach. Until Georgia has at least two borderline All-SEC-level players they are under-recruiting (new term) themselves. The state, as has been pointed out time and again, is littered with too much talent for Georgia to have so little of it.

That’s why Evans must make the right hire. The state is too full of talent; the basketball practice facility and lounge area for the players is too nice; and the losing has been accepted for far too long. The right hire must be made as too many things are in place.

This isn’t the same argument schools like South Carolina make in football. “Come here and do what’s never been done.” That is a flawed argument. 1. Georgia actually has done it – just never consistently. 2. Georgia basketball has significantly more potential than Carolina football ever had.

The goal should not be to do something that’s never been done (that seems to imply losing to begin with). In fact, the goal should be to go to the NCAAs four out of every six years. That sort of winning alone will take care of goals like reaching the Sweet 16 and Final Four. You have to be there to go there if you will. Also, anything less than 17 wins per season is unacceptable

Consistent winning. That phrase is the antithesis of Georgia basketball. Damon Evans has to make people care about Georgia basketball. Evans has made clear to anyone that will listen that he wants Georgia basketball to be great. Still, it is one thing to say it – after all, what is he supposed to say? Evans was behind the hiring of Dennis Felton, and missed on that one. He can’t miss again.


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