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November 1, 2012
Dawgs host Young Harris
It's lights, camera and action for the Georgia basketball team which gives fans their first glimpse of the 2012-2013 squad Friday night at Stegeman Coliseum when the Bulldogs host Young Harris in an exhibition game.
Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. and admission is free.
"It's the first time out, the first time for this group to play under the lights, the first time for our freshmen to really play in front of their families, in front of their friends here at Georgia," Georgia head coach Mark Fox said. "Certainly, we want to just play in front of people, relax and learn how to play in front of a crowd. That's something we haven't done before now. We had a great crowd at one of our games in Italy, but none of them spoke English so there was no pressure."
The game will mark the debut of the four members of Georgia's freshman class, including guard Kenny Gaines, who Thursday said he can't wait to hit the floor.
"I'm really excited, it's really a dream come true," Gaines said. "I know a lot of people say that they're not really nervous and they're just ready to be out there and play but I am a little bit nervous. I'm just going to be trying to make sure I know all the plays offensively. Defensively I want to remember all the tendencies that we've been working on."
So is Fox.
One huge advantage for the Bulldogs by going to Italy back in August was the extra practice, something Fox put to good use, especially from a defensive perspective.
Friday, he'll get to see if his players remembered what they learned.
"If you look at how much we've been able to drill and advance our playbook, we're probably much further along defensively because we were able to do a lot of things in the summer," Fox said. "It appears in guarding ourselves that we are a better defensive team today than we have been most years after 20 practices."
Junior Marcus Thornton will also be making his first appearance back in Stegeman Coliseum since undergoing knee surgery in the off-season.
"We just want to establish ourselves as a unit, you look forward to putting everything together. I think that's the hardest part," Thornton said. "We just want to put it together as a whole, that's what we're probably looking forward to the most."
Georgia finished 15-17 a year ago.
"I think we have a chance to be good. It's going to take a lot of different factors for us to be that but we have a lot of great pieces," Thornton said. "We have a team that loves to be around each other. I look forward to that and I look forward to competing with these guys."
NOTES: Georgia opens its regular season Nov. 9 against Jacksonville. Young Harris is coached by Pete Herrmann, who served as the as the Bulldogs' associate head coach for six years under Dennis Felton before being named interim coach prior to the arrival of Fox. "When I went to Kansas State to be an assistant coach I took over the office that he vacated. I took over his desk there and then when he was interim coach here I stepped in and took over his desk a second time," Fox said. "He's a good man and this was a game that he really thought could help his team. Pete and I have had a good friendship and tomorrow can only enrich that."