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December 18, 2013
Going for four straight
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Freshman Juwan Parker is looking forward to this morning's game at Stegeman Coliseum against visiting Gardner-Webb.
But not for the reason you might think.
For the second year in a row, the Bulldogs (4-4) will host between 4,500 and 5,000 school children from across Clarke County for today's 11:30 game against visiting Gardner-Webb (6-6).
"All the guys have said since I got here how cool it is, how the kids are so excited. It's a packed house of screaming children … it's going to be a fun game," Parker said. "I actually met a couple of kids last night at dinner who told me they were coming to the game. It's a cool thing to be able to play in front of the kids."
Head coach Mark Fox is fond of the idea as well.
"It's a win-win. It's a chance for those kids to be on a college campus, to come to a game and be exposed to higher education," he said. "It's a win for us because we'll have 4,500 kids who will bring a lot of noise into the arena. I'm excited that it worked out and I'm appreciative that Gardner-Webb agreed to play it at an early time. It was really a good experience a year ago, so it should be a lot of fun this time around."
Georgia hosted Mercer for last year's lunch-time get-together and the atmosphere rivaled many of the bigger games the Bulldogs played later in the season.
"I think our guys will appreciate it," Fox said. "One of the challenges that every school faces during the break is getting people into the arena because you're student body leaves so it's a great solution for that."
Fox hopes his team will be able to show the youngsters a better exhibition of basketball than he's been seeing of late.
Yes, his Bulldogs have won three straight, but issues on the defensive end still have the Bulldog coach very much concerned.
"I want us to be a more committed defensive team. I'm not pleased with how we've played there yet. We've made some progress, but not enough," Fox said. "We've got to be a more committed rebounding and defensive team. Hopefully, we'll continue to play better offensively. It's going to start with our ability to get stops because Gardner-Webb is a good offensive group."
According to Parker, that's just what he and his teammates will be attempting to do.
"Really we're just trying to compare these teams to an SEC team, going out and try to work on our deficiencies, rebounding and defense," he said. "That's the main part, focus on that and dominate in those aspects."
NOTES: The Bulldogs hope to have point guard Charles Mann back in the lineup today after missing Saturday's game against Lipscomb with a bruised knee. … Georgia wraps up its current five-game homestand Saturday afternoon at 2 against Western Carolina before breaking for Christmas. The team will reconvene in Athens on Christmas Eve before hitting the road for games at No. 20 Colorado and Jan. 3 at George Washington.