There hasn't been any shortage of notions as to why Mark Fox's Georgia Bulldogs are struggling to the point they are entering Wednesday night's game at No. 17 Missouri (8 p.m., SEC Network).
He disagrees that talent is one.
Yes, the Bulldogs rank next-to-last in the SEC in scoring (59.5 points per game) as Fox continues to search for at least one other scoring option to compliment Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
But when asked if the reason is simply due to a dearth of talent, Fox said that's not the case at all. Instead, Fox points to his team's overall youth as the biggest reason Georgia(6-9, 0-2) continues to be as inconsistent as it has been.
"I know we're not winning the games we're needing to win - I think we can win more games - but we've invested
these guys need time," Fox said. "We've got a freshman (Charles Mann), sophomore (Kentavious Caldwell-Pope) and freshman (Brandon Morris) on the perimeter - they need time. They're talented players and next year we'll bring in J.J. (Frazier), Juwan (Parker) who can score and Houston (Kessler), who can shoot the ball. That's three more offensive players and if we can get Nemi (Djurisic) going again we'll have a lot more weapons to go to that can consistently play."
Unfortunately, that's currently not the case.
Caldwell-Pope continues to lead Georgia with an impressive 16.9 points per game, but to find the next highest scorer you have to go all the way down to Djurisic at 8.1.
"I think that Nemi is actually scoring a little bit more than he did at this time a year ago, but he's not playing as well," Fox said. "He's leading us in turnovers. He's a prime candidate to give us some more production but he has to get more stable and he just hasn't gotten into a groove. Still, he's a candidate for that."
But as the league stats will indicate, Georgia's problems go a bit deeper than simply finding a consistent No. 2 scoring option.
While the Bulldogs are actually tied for sixth with Kentucky in scoring defense (62.1 points per game), Georgia is 12th in offensive rebounding (10.1 per game) and 13th in turnover margin (-2.07).
"I think we have a lot of guys who are playing well in spurts, consistency has been the issue," Fox said. "I think that's probably an issue for everybody, including Kentavious."
"Not saying that we're a young team as an excuse, but with us being a young team, we do make immature mistakes on the court," Morris said. "It's just a learning process that we're having to go through."
Fox continues to try just about everything he can.
"We're just trying to find the right combination. That's been a real struggle trying to find consistent play up front and we don't have an answer yet," he said. "There's something I like about all those guys, but again, being too inconsistent to play good basketball is the key because once you know what you can consistently have, you can then plan accordingly."
He's lost track of how many lineups he's used.
"It's been too many," Fox said, adding he's never used as many lineups as he has this year.
"Gosh no, you can probably add them together. We've had way too many," Fox said. "That's evidence of our inconsistency and as I've told them we've got to get a starting group here. We've got to get a group together than can consistently show up. If we do that, then we can take steps forwards."
NOTE: Fox said that junior forward Marcus Thornton (knee) is still nowhere close to being able to compete after recently undergoing arthroscopic surgery recently, the third operation on his knee since he has been at Georgia.