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XPS
01-18-2009, 09:48 PM
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Athens — Hailed as a breakthrough, it was just a blip. Georgia won the SEC basketball tournament on a tempest-tossed weekend, and 10 months later it’s as if it never happened. The Bulldogs are as pedestrian as ever.
On Sunday, they fell to 9-9 by losing to an unranked Kentucky team so emphatically that it seemed worse than it was. “We shouldn’t be losing by 30 points,” said forward Terrance Woodbury, speaking of a game that ended 68-45.
Stegeman Coliseum was only three-quarters full, and 35 percent of those in attendance wore Kentucky blue. Afterward, Dennis Felton levied the same criticism at his team he had 51 weeks earlier after a 26-point loss at Tennessee — “We did not compete with the kind of toughness we needed; it was a very soft effort,” he said Sunday. And the question arises: Just what will it take to change these moribund dynamics?
The answer, sad to say, is a new coach.
Hired in April 2003 to sweep up after Jim Harrick, Felton hasn’t yet had a 20-win season or a winning record in SEC play. (His record in regular-season conference games is 26-57.) He has made the NCAA tournament only once. And, if he hadn’t made it when he did, a different man would surely be coaching Georgia today.
It’s time now to give a different man — Dayton’s Brian Gregory, say — that chance. Felton has five seasons plus 18 games, and it just hasn’t worked. On Sunday, the Bulldogs made as many turnovers (19) as baskets, and they didn’t manage their 40th point until the game’s 37th minute. On the week, the Bulldogs managed 85 points in two games; Kentucky’s Jodie Meeks had 76 by himself.
And therein lies the greatest indictment of Felton: Meeks played at Norcross, same as Gani Lawal and Al-Farouq Aminu. Not one signed with Georgia’s flagship school. On Wednesday, Derrick Favors of South Atlanta, considered the nation’s No. 1 recruit, chose Tech over Georgia. This state produces a slew of big-time talent, and somehow little of it lands in Athens.
It was understandable that Felton would struggle to sign players in the post-Harrick years, but Harrick has been gone from Georgia longer than Bill Self has been coaching Kansas. Felton has had time, and now his sixth Bulldog team looks only slightly more polished than his second, which finished 8-20.
“We knew this team was going to be significantly different from last year’s,” Felton said. “That was apparent going in. We’re relying on new players as much as anybody in the country.”
Georgia lost three starters from the team that won the SEC title, but it wasn’t as if any of the three was a lottery pick. (Seniors Sundiata Gaines and Dave Bliss weren’t drafted.) The latest starting five includes Corey Butler, who arrived as a walk-on. Put bluntly, a coach on his sixth season shouldn’t still be relying on spare parts. But that, due to egregious attrition and a lack of recruiting success, has become a Felton trademark.
Asked if he felt his job was again in peril, Felton said: “I’m not having any discussion about my employment except when I talk with my employers.”
Said athletics director Damon Evans, asked to assess Felton’s program: “There’s still basketball left this season, and we’ll see how this plays out.”
That wouldn’t seem an endorsement. Ten months ago, Felton got the reprieve to end all reprieves, and that astonishing gain hasn’t been even slightly consolidated. As Woodbury said: “It’s like we’re kind of forgetting we are SEC champions.”
If the Bulldogs themselves can’t remember, why should anyone else?

scgamecock312
01-18-2009, 09:51 PM
I think it has been time for him to go...just because he won the SECT he got an extension.

GDawg88
01-18-2009, 09:51 PM
I could be wrong, but Felton has the sound of a man who's accepted his fate. He's served his purpose at UGA - stabilized the program after the damage Harrick caused, but now it's time for us to get someone who can win. Nothing personal, but Dennis has proven he just can't do it.

XPS
01-18-2009, 09:58 PM
I could be wrong, but Felton has the sound of a man who's accepted his fate. He's served his purpose at UGA - stabilized the program after the damage Harrick caused, but now it's time for us to get someone who can win. Nothing personal, but Dennis has proven he just can't do it.

Exactly and thats the bottom line. Ga can be a top 25 basketball program ever year with the right coach, lord knows Ga is full of BIGTIME talent everyear...

88 who would you like to see coach at Ga?

GDawg88
01-18-2009, 10:10 PM
88 who would you like to see coach at Ga?
Brian Gregory wouldn't be a bad pick but he seems too similar to Felton when we got him from WKU. Not that we should avoid mid-major coaches, but a coach with high-major experience would be ideal. I'd love to get someone like Rick Majerus (Utah was a mid-major in name only when he was there).

I don't think we're at a point where we HAVE to bring in a young coach to grow with the program. Felton at least has gotten the talent level to a respectable level, now we just need a coach who can win with these players.

HunkerDown
01-18-2009, 10:25 PM
I think it's time to cancel our basketball program.

georgiaguy31015
01-19-2009, 07:56 AM
Without a doubt it's time for Felton to go. I said at the end of last season that the key was to build on the momentum of the SEC tourney and carry it over to this year. Felton hasn't done that and it appears to me he can't do that. He doesn't get big time recruits often enough and the good players he does get he ends up having to kick them off the team. The guy was a decent transition coach but that's about it. It's time for Georgia to find someone to take them to the next level and Felton isn't and will never be that guy at Georgia.

UA37
01-19-2009, 07:59 AM
Yes it is time for Felton to go. I hope they get someone to take UGA to the next level. UGA and UA need new basketball coaches and you can win at both of those places. The SEC will get better as soon as these programs get turned around.

Dawg
01-19-2009, 10:59 AM
I've long-since said Felton should go, and will after this season.

SkyAntoine
01-19-2009, 11:41 AM
As an outsider and WKU alum, I thought Felton was dealing with bad apples and should be given a chance. After seeing Georgia's effort Sunday, I think you gotta fire him.

I'm not trying to rip the program here, but if I was a Georgia fan I would be livid. The team looked like they had absolutely no desire to win Sunday. I said it in the game thread, but I felt like the Cats played down because at 9-4 or whatever the score was, you could see that Georgia was out for the count.

There is a reason that UK fans love the 1992 "Unforgettables" so much. They were less talented than the competition, but always hustled and played with tremendous heart and were complete overachievers.

Felton may be the greatest X and O coach in the nation, but if you can't motivate your guys, then you have nothing to build upon. Get in someone that can light a fire under the program. Felton is not that guy.

GDawg88
01-19-2009, 04:15 PM
As an outsider and WKU alum, I thought Felton was dealing with bad apples and should be given a chance. After seeing Georgia's effort Sunday, I think you gotta fire him.

I'm not trying to rip the program here, but if I was a Georgia fan I would be livid. The team looked like they had absolutely no desire to win Sunday. I said it in the game thread, but I felt like the Cats played down because at 9-4 or whatever the score was, you could see that Georgia was out for the count.

There is a reason that UK fans love the 1992 "Unforgettables" so much. They were less talented than the competition, but always hustled and played with tremendous heart and were complete overachievers.

Felton may be the greatest X and O coach in the nation, but if you can't motivate your guys, then you have nothing to build upon. Get in someone that can light a fire under the program. Felton is not that guy.
I think you're on to something here. "Changing the culture" is an oft-overused phrase in sports these days, but I think it's something Georgia desperately needs. When you lose for a while, you start to accept it. I think UGA under Felton has developed a culture of losing. I'm not saying it's Felton's fault entirely because the team was bound to lose his first couple of seasons, but he hasn't been able to change the mindset of the program in the years since.

From Felton to the players all the way down to the fans, there's a very defeatist attitude when it comes to Georgia basketball. While I think Felton has proven to be a very poor coach of basketball fundamentals and an underwhelming recruiter, it's the culture at UGA that most needs to be changed when it comes to the basketball program. At this point, only a new coach can bring that change.

GatorMan32
01-19-2009, 05:18 PM
Felton's SECT win was nice but overall he has had time and his tenure has been a failure.

steelyvan
01-19-2009, 05:29 PM
As an outsider, Felton's struggles at Georgia has surprised me. I thought he would do well. How would you describe his worst problem with moving the program forward?

GatorMan32
01-19-2009, 05:45 PM
lack of discipline. seems like every year one or two key guys are kicked off the team for getting into trouble. for it to be such a regular issue, there has to be an issue at the top. yeah he is commended for doing the right thing and dismissing guys. but it should not be necessary so often.

ECDawg78
01-19-2009, 06:24 PM
lack of discipline. seems like every year one or two key guys are kicked off the team for getting into trouble. for it to be such a regular issue, there has to be an issue at the top. yeah he is commended for doing the right thing and dismissing guys. but it should not be necessary so often.

You've hit the nail on the head..........Felton came in with good credentials and much promise, but the program has regressed as his tenure went on. He was kept on for his final opportunity after the surprising tourney win last March, but he has squandered it. He will soon be dismissed and Damon must find the right man to change the mindset and direction of the program and it's fans.

There is NO reason for Georgia not to be an annual Top 25 team in basketball........NONE.

georgiaguy31015
01-19-2009, 06:36 PM
You've hit the nail on the head..........Felton came in with good credentials and much promise, but the program has regressed as his tenure went on. He was kept on for his final opportunity after the surprising tourney win last March, but he has squandered it. He will soon be dismissed and Damon must find the right man to change the mindset and direction of the program and it's fans.

There is NO reason for Georgia not to be an annual Top 25 team in basketball........NONE.

Very well said but I just wonder if Georgia can get a big name and I'm worried that Evans might screw this up of course I'm not sure it can get any worse.

ECDawg78
01-19-2009, 06:43 PM
Very well said but I just wonder if Georgia can get a big name and I'm worried that Evans might screw this up of course I'm not sure it can get any worse.

I think Damon's very capable of making the right hire gg.......I know from talking to him in the past that it's a big deal and priority to get our basketball program among the nation's best........this will be his first major hire as AD and he will work his tail off to make sure it's a good one......

GatorMan32
01-19-2009, 06:48 PM
You've hit the nail on the head..........Felton came in with good credentials and much promise, but the program has regressed as his tenure went on. He was kept on for his final opportunity after the surprising tourney win last March, but he has squandered it. He will soon be dismissed and Damon must find the right man to change the mindset and direction of the program and it's fans.

There is NO reason for Georgia not to be an annual Top 25 team in basketball........NONE.

That is so true. With all of that basketball talent in Georgia in recent years, its not like UGA even needs to go far to bring in the guys necessary to be good.

georgiaguy31015
01-19-2009, 06:50 PM
I think Damon's very capable of making the right hire gg.......I know from talking to him in the past that it's a big deal and priority to get our basketball program among the nation's best........this will be his first major hire as AD and he will work his tail off to make sure it's a good one......

I'm not saying he's not capable but like Dooley with Felton I'm worried that Evans will think he's got the right guy for the job and it turns out he's not. Also, I'm still concerned that Georgia isn't in the position to hire a big name coach like I want but like the Stones said you can't always get what you want.

HunkerDown
01-19-2009, 08:08 PM
Bring back Harrick.

OffThePorch
01-19-2009, 08:20 PM
Bring back Harrick.

rep funny.

kentubbybasketball
01-20-2009, 02:00 PM
I could be wrong, but Felton has the sound of a man who's accepted his fate. He's served his purpose at UGA - stabilized the program after the damage Harrick caused, but now it's time for us to get someone who can win. Nothing personal, but Dennis has proven he just can't do it.

GD88, you know how I feel about Felton. We've had public and private conversations about it, and I still feel the same way about it. I think Felton is great with the Xs and Os (especially defensively), even better with recruiting... however, I do think it's time for him to leave. I'd rather him resign than get fired, but it's time for a change. I don't think UGA would have been justified in shopping before this season, but I believe this season has shown that Felton has probably taken the program as far as he'll take it. It seems like even USC could get out of reach for UGA soon, so it's probably time for the best move.

Felton will have a soft landing though. He'll take a job (maybe sitting out a year) where he'll still get paid well and accomplish some things. I can see him having so much success, that people ask, "why couldn't that happen while he was at UGA."

I think where things went wrong was that (and this is a problem much of the SEC had and even UK to an extent while Tubby was here and some of G's tenure), the defense was so much farther ahead of the offense. In the general sense of the game, the object is to score the basketball, it's great if you can keep the opponent from that, but if you're not able to score, it's hard to win in this day and age.

Where does UGA go from here though? The fans do deserve better results, but will the right guy be hired? Guys with the tactical ability of Hugh Durham, Tubby Smith, and Jim Harrick likely aren't walking thru that door.... and you gotta also consider the other jobs that might be available this summer (will UGA be the best available)? For instance, does Ga Tech come open (doubtful with Mr. Favors on the way, but there are whispers).