2019 UGA Basketball: Predicting The Starting Five For Game One
The Georgia Bulldogs Basketball squad will get started against Western Carolina on November 5th this year. Between now and then, there's still a boatload of practices and workouts left, and I can assure you that Tom Crean is keeping every starting spot up for grabs. With an almost new roster this year, there's a lot of starting possibilities. For right now, we can only predict who gets their name called for game one.
If you watched Georgia last year, or have seen Tom Crean's teams in the past, you know that he likes an up-tempo type of team. The problem with this style of play last year was the team lacked ball-handlers. After replenishing this offseason and retaining quality veterans, the backcourt looks as good as it has in a long time.
Here's my idea for a lineup Crean could go with to start things out.
Guard: Jordan Harris, Senior
Georgia saw a late-season emergence from Jordan Harris last season as he took over as the team's primary guard down the stretch. At 6'4, Harris is the long and rangy guard that Crean needs in an up-tempo offense. Harris has the ability to push the ball up the court, and drive inside when needed. He also has a developing shot and could become a threat from deep. On defense, Harris is great at playing on-ball, and his length allows him to come up with a turnover every now and then. As a senior, Harris will be counted on all season long.
Guard: Anthony Edwards, Freshman
Anthony Edwards comes in as the #1 overall recruit per the Top 247sports rankings. He's also a candidate to be the 1st pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. When you have a guy come in with that type of prestige, it's fair to expect a lot from him. Crean should count on Edwards to be the leading scorer by a mile. He can do just about anything on offense, whether it's shooting, driving, or setting up teammates to score. The team can count on him to average between 20 to 25 PPG. His defensive game has progressed a lot, and the backcourt could be scary to go up against defensively with Harris and Edwards on the floor at the same time.
Forward: Christian Brown, Freshman
Georgia could just as easily go with the senior guard, Tyree Crump, at this spot, but in order to leave some backcourt help in the reserves, we'll plug in a hybrid type player like Christian Brown. Brown comes in at 6'6, and fits perfectly into the "All-Defense" lineup this has been so far. Brown is an elite on-ball defender that creates a lot of turnovers and fast breaks. Brown has great finishing ability and should have a productive role early and often.
Forward: Rayshaun Hammonds, Junior
Rayshaun Hammonds is coming up on potentially the biggest year of his career so far. Coming off an injury last year, he was somewhat shadowed by Nic Claxton's dominance in years past. However, we've seen what Hammonds can do, and he'll be the face of the frontcourt this season. He's a solid rebounder down low and plays good in the post. In addition, he's got a good outside shot. He moves well for a big and fits in perfect in Crean's philosophy. Hammonds has popped up in a few "mock" 2020 NBA Drafts, and he'll have plenty of minutes to showcase that talent in 2019-2020.
Forward: Amanze Ngumezi, Sophomore
Amanze Ngumezi went very unappreciated, even though he was the gem of the 2018 recruiting class. With a bigger role coming this season, college basketball is about to find out who he is. At 6'9 235 lbs, Ngumezi would be the biggest of this hypothetical starting line up. He's a bruiser down low who's not afraid to fight for a rebound, and has a very good baseline jump shot. The former 4-star recruit will most likely be trying to play the role that Derek Ogbeide has for the past four years. If he can be that guy, Georgia will have one of the better frontcourts in the SEC.
1. Guard: Tyree Crump, Senior
2. Guard: Donnell Gresham Jr., Graduate Senior
3. Forward: Toumani Camara, Freshman
4. Forward: Jaykwon Walton, Freshman
This Georgia team has plenty of veteran leadership as well as raw, young talent. If Crean can find a good mix between the two, the Bulldogs will be in a position to have one of the best seasons this team has had in a while.
If that doesn't fire you up, nothing will.