Posted: 11:42 pm Monday, April 14th, 2014

UGA’s Mark Fox cites ‘progress’ in recruiting Atlanta 

By Michael Carvell

Mark Fox admits that UGA’s basketball recruiting in Atlanta “hasn’t been perfect” but he also feels it has gone better than some people think.

This past season, UGA’s entire starting lineup was from the Atlanta area. The Bulldogs won 20 games and ended up second in the final SEC standings.

Mark Fox went from the hot seat to a two-year contract extension (AJC)

Mark Fox went from the “hot seat” to a two-year contract extension after 20 wins (AJC)

Some UGA fans feel like the Bulldogs should be recruiting much better in Atlanta after missing out on high-profile recruits such as Tony Parker (signed with UCLA), Evan Nolte (Virginia), Nick Jacobs (Alabama), and Isaiah Wilkins (Virginia), among others.

“If Kentavious (Caldwell-Pope) stays in school, we don’t have five starters from Atlanta but we still have five starters from the state of Georgia,” Fox told the AJC. “Does Kentavious get us one more win if he stays in school?

“I think you have to have some balance with how you look at that. You know, we haven’t been perfect but we’ve made some progress there (in Atlanta).”

Fox also doesn’t necessarily agree with Internet chatter that he’s a better coach than recruiter:

“I don’t pay a great deal of attention to (message boards). We’ll be critical of how we coach and how we recruit. I have higher expectations of myself than anybody else does. So we don’t really pay attention to the rest of it.”

On Wednesday, UGA is expected to sign two recent commitments: Yante Maten, a 6-foot-7 forward from Bloomfield Hills, Mich., and Fred Iduwe, a 6-11 center from near Milwaukee. That’s double the size of the original plan.

“We entered the year with just one scholarship, so we had to recruit size this season,” Fox said. “And that was plan all along. Despite what anyone thought, we could not take a guard. We just couldn’t.

“Not only did we lose (Donte Williams) this year, we’ve got Marcus Thornton, Nemanja Djurisic and some other guys who are going to be seniors next year. We had to really target some size. The plan all along was to recruit size.”

One thing that’s very noticeable in UGA’s last two recruiting classes is that five out of six are from out of state. Considering the challenges of recruiting Atlanta, is this the beginning of a new trend for the Bulldogs?

“Well, again, we started five kids from Atlanta this past year,” Fox said. “I think it comes down to just need and what’s available. We would like to start at home first.

“But this year, if a kid was a point guard in Georgia this year, we weren’t going to be able to recruit him because we had a sophomore point guard and a freshman behind him. It really comes down to need, and where kids that fill that need live.”

Here’s the rest of the Q&A with UGA coach Mark Fox:

How would you rate your recruiting success in the state of Georgia since being at UGA? “I think it’s a constant battle. I think we’ve made progress. We started five kids from the state this year on a team that won 20 games. And we lost a kid to the NBA lottery who was an in-state kid. You know, I think we’ve made some progress there but it’s something that you always have to work on.”

How much of a recruiting battleground is Atlanta? “It’s obviously the biggest city in the South. It’s going to get recruited by everywhere, just because of the geographical standpoint and the demographics of how many people live there. It’s going to be something that is always the case. People are always going to recruit Atlanta because there’s so many people and there’s not a city that size in Alabama or South Carolina and so forth. Obviously, it’s going to be a place people try to come and recruit.”

From a recruiting standpoint, how big of a deal was it for you to get a two-year contract extension? “I think it’s a huge part of recruiting. I think that recruits want some security to know that the guy they sign with is going to be there. I think it was really big for us. It’s funny. I had a lot of recruits text me before I even had a chance to reach out to them. That was good. Every recruit’s parents, they want to send their child to a secure situation. Once you can establish that, it does make it easier (to recruit).”

58 comments
ElStinko
ElStinko

How can Fox and UGA go year after year and NOT get ANY of the top 10 players in GA.  HOW CAN THIS HAPPEN?  Why can't  they get just 1 out of 10?

DavidThead
DavidThead

Fox has been impressive in his tenure thus far. Getting Calwell-Pope to sign at UGA was huge, no other coach UGA has had in the past 10 years could have pulled that off.  Half of recruiting is the program prestige, and Fox has done a good job raising the prestige at UGA and I believe in a couple of years he will get a big time recruit and make UGA relevant again.  He is a hell of a basketball coach and there is no denying that. If the AD thinks his recruiting is slacking but his coaching is up to par, maybe they should consider hiring a recruiting specialist.....I'm pretty sure Nique doesnt have much going on in the summers!!!


Ted_Striker
Ted_Striker

I like Coach Fox and believe he's a good game coach and strategist. Recruiter? C+. If it takes a two year contract extension to net two bigs who may or may not work out, he ain't the guy for the job. Who is? I don't know. But I don't get paid AD money to know. 

johnnyquest
johnnyquest

Recruiting is clearly the life blood of a solid NCAA bball program, and if you don't think so just look at UF and UK programs.  UF was nothing before Donovan got there and guess what, they win.  why?  because they recruit Atlanta, they recruit the NE, they dig for better players.  UK has the rich tradition so recruits are naturally going to gravitate there, but Donovan goes and gets players that he can coach up and that are 4 and 5 star recruits - from all over the country including Atlanta.  


It's time for CMF to stop with the platitudes and either hire an assistant that can recruit or get off his fat keister and get out on the streets and find some talent.  There is NO other answer.  The fans will follow when the team wins, period.  Stegeman is old but it's fine, don't lay that tired facility business on me.  Show that you can win games you're supposed to win, take a couple from ranked opponents, and the building will be full every night.

Match369
Match369

We haven' t  won a national championship in how many years in BB at least I can't remember

Match369
Match369

Time for a new Basketball coach the  AD is scared to do his job!

Match369
Match369

Time foa a ne Basketball coach the AD is scared to do his job.

slydawg
slydawg

McGarity must be waiting on Brad Stevens to be fired.

slydawg
slydawg

Georgia would be better of bringing Tubby back 2-3 seasons. At least they might beat Kentucky and Florida once in the same season and actually make the NCAA tournament.

Charlestondog
Charlestondog

This guy is in denial...just trying to save his job.

Baghead
Baghead

Excuses.  Excuses.  This guy has been pulling the wool over UGA's AD for too long.  Even Fox gets in on the Carvell tout of "20 wins".  Twenty wins in a weak conference with two really good teams.  Two really good teams that squashed UGA basketball like a bug.  Bottom line is that CMF is full of s__t.  He's a .500 coach in the bigger conferences.  His clock management is a joke, he can't recruit, consistently makes excuses, and pats himself on the back for a season in which he lost in the 2nd round of the NIT.  And all of this produces terrible attendance and revenue in Athens.  Bring in a winner.  Don't extend contracts of mediocre coaches because you want "stability" and the lord compels you.  Wait.  That pretty much sounds like McGarity's take for the entire department.  

maconexpress
maconexpress

Mark Fox is winning a lot of basketball games with just 3 star players in the sec......he just need time to build his reputation so he can attract the 4 and 5 star players. I never heard of Mark Fox before he was hired and I'm sure the kids in this area never heard of him. I think he just need time to build his reputation. A new basketball arena will pay dividends.

SinceVince
SinceVince

Both Fox and Richt need to do better in recruiting. CMR's 2015 class is not even in the top 10 while we still lag behind teams like Clempsun.  Fox is a bust people but the kool aid drinkers refuse to see it just as they did with Grantham. Demand Better!

LoyaltotheG
LoyaltotheG

People who continue to beat the dead, stinky horse that UGA doesn't have a good men's basketball history....let's move past the obvious.  What was UF's illustrious basketball history prior to Donovan? They made their first Final Four in '94, 11 years after UGA's only one.  Lon Kruger made great run at football school, then hopped out of town to the Hawks while he was hot.  Jeremy Foley hit the jackpot with Donovan....Donovan is a good coach and the guy went to a football school and started recruiting!  He appealed to kids and started pulling elite players in there.  Geez, let's quit making excuses for the guy, and quit letting him make excuses.  I know some folks commenting here are bitter, almost perpetually miserable Tech sports fans, but for the UGA Athletic Association, it's time to look at a glaring example just to our south of how a football school can indeed have an elite basketball program too!  This very article, about recruiting in Atlanta....this is what separates UGA many of the other state universities with big football programs....we have ATLANTA!  The state of GEORGIA is full of players. 

DirtyDawg
DirtyDawg

The only thing keeping CMF from the kind of seasons that he, the team, the school and the fans want is wins - duh...and the thing keeping those from happening is better players. What's keeping these kids from flocking to UGA? It ain't the facility, despite the erroneous perception...fact is if Stegman were built today, given the recent upgrades, it would be getting design awards. It ain't CMR. The man has gotten his due from the coaching fraternity - they know the man can coach. So what is it? I say it's the absence of, if not consistent sell outs, at least 'full houses'. The fans that do show up are into the games and play their part...there just ain't enough of em to impress a visiting recruit. I mean why should they come to Georgia and play before sparse cròwds - or even the promise of same - when they can can go someplace where the fans have already proven they'll be there. Excitement breeds performance...which produces wins from talented, well-coached, players. Question is, which comes first? Creating the environment for success, or the success itself? I say do what we can control now, and the main, missing, thing is fan support.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

See what i mean. CMF has the hardest job in the country.

RandyHall
RandyHall

Coach Fox....button your lips...you were not hired to finish less than first in your conference...if you accept less than 1st then you accept medicocity....and it is TIME FOR CMR TO WIN A NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP IN FOOTBALL!!!  

DawgsSkins
DawgsSkins

I don't see how he can bristle about the fact that folks sat he's a good coach but not recruiter. Facts are facts. We also did not get even one of top 30 kids out of the state of Ga, last yr. That should never happen. Ever. He is good guy and coach but if he can't recruit then we'll never be more than avg. Just is what it is. HBTD!

96JB
96JB

We have an AD who resigns mediocre coach's. nuff said. Yes, great guys, But I think you measure by hardware won. Dawgs ain't winning any.

slydawg
slydawg

Plain and simple coach: Results speak for themselves. Something is lacking and it's either the coaching, the recruiting, the talent, the talent evaluation, or little bit of all those elements. However, figure out the formula and get it done. No excuse exists for smaller schools getting it done on a consistent basis. Cinderella has died in College Basketball. You can't blame the one and dones because none came to Georgia. Caldwell-Pope being somewhat of a lone exception.


Delusionaldog
Delusionaldog

Progress?


Is that like saying the web site is back up?

oldmaninatlanta
oldmaninatlanta

Wow,Fox recruited another couple of 2 STAR  studs.....enuff said

Cardfans
Cardfans

Fox can talk it up all he wants, but the fact remains that not one of the state's top ten players signed with UGA. This is why they got blown out by Kentucky and Florida this year while managing to stay competitive with the rest of the league.  You have to get at least one or two of the state's top guys every year to compete on a national level. Who gives a crap if you come in second in the SEC if you can't compete with top teams and miss the Big Dance every year?

MichaelCarvell
MichaelCarvell moderator

@DavidThead  I think KCP was a "lock" to go to UGA no matter who was the coach because his two best buddies were already going there

LoyaltotheG
LoyaltotheG

@DavidThead"Fox has been impressive in his tenure thus far."  Wow.  I think even McGarity would get a giggle out of that statement.  Fox should've thought about hiring a recruiting specialist on his first staff upon arriving at UGA.  I'd never heard of the dude before Damon Evans brought him here from Nevada, and I'm sure no one else in this area knew who the heck he was.  I complain plenty about apathy in certain areas of the athletic program at UGA, but it isn't the AD's job to solve our recruiting woes....btw, Caldwell-Pope signed, what, over 3 years ago.  It's gone, over with.   

DavidThead
DavidThead

@Ted_Striker  UGA isn't going to get any 1 and done guys... The two years makes sense, because Fox is recruiting guys that need to develop. They know they are not leaving after 1 year so they want their coach to stay the same.

DavidThead
DavidThead

@Baghead  a "weak" conference that produces atleast 1 if not 2 final four teams annually?  


Baghead
Baghead

@maconexpress  Winning a lot of games?  In six years, he's won more than 15 games twice!  How many more years do you need?  Oh.  Nobody knew his name.  I get it.  His name wasn't out.  Sounds like poor marketing by UGA.  You know how you get your name out?  Go recruit.  You're an idiot like the majority of Bulldog Nation.  Wondering aimlessly around, complaining you don't have any NC rings, yet accepting mediocrity at the same time.  

Birdhair
Birdhair

demand better!

-bubba

I completely agree. Problem is, the Ajc doesn't help the fans. They are like tennie bopper writers and change their views by the day. No consistency with analysis. And when they do criticize its misplaced or not firm enough. The Ajc writers are a big reason why we live in losersville or mediocre sports town. Whatever you want to call us.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@DawgsSkins Over the history of your program you have a .526 win pct, 2 conf. championships and if it was not for Dominique you would have never made it past the sweet sixteen in the dance. This might hurt but you have always been average in basketball.
.

DavidThead
DavidThead

@Cardfans  hes the only UGA coach to sign a GA Mr. Basketball in 10 years!!!!


DavidThead
DavidThead

@LoyaltotheG .... 188-106.... You had never heard of the guy that won 5 straight conferences with Nevada and took them to 4 straigh tournaments.... 4 straight NCAA tournaments for NEVADA and you had never heard of FOX? You must not keep up with college basketball too much then! This is from the UGA website about FOX in '11.....

  • Georgia's 21 wins were its most since 2002 and just the 11th 20-win season in program history.
  • Georgia's 9-7 SEC record and third-place showing in the Eastern Division were its best since 2003.
  • Georgia's seven road wins were the most since 1995 and more than in the three previous years combined.
  • Georgia earned its first national Top 25 ranking since 2003.
  • Average home attendance was its best since 2004.

So Fox isn't doing well? What standard are you measuring against? Kentucky Basketball? Because if so, you may be right, but in comparison to UGA basketball he has done quite a job.  How is the Caldwell-Pope signing not relevant? He was the best player in Georgia and signed with UGA....that never happens....and FOX is also the only coach since '02 to sign Georgia's Mr. Basketball. 

maconexpress
maconexpress

 @Baghead, if it  makes you feel special to use derogatory words in your comments by all means do so because it's not going to deter me from giving my opinions. Mark Fox is not the reason why uga have never won a national championship in it's history.  He doesn't get the 4 and 5 star players like CMR does so I'm giving the man the benefit of the doubt. If he doesn't start getting the 4 and 5 star players or start winning sec championships with the 3 stars, then I will show my concerns.

badbrad23
badbrad23

@gtcaryd @DawgsSkins  

Another misguided post by a Tech fan...UGA made it to the final four...the year after Dominique turned pro.  Now go ahead look it up...should have done that before your post.

stewart210
stewart210

@gtcaryd I don't dispute that we are and almost almost always have been average in basketball.  That is unquestionably true. However, you are mistaken when you mention Domnique Wilkins.  He was not on Georgia's final four team. In fact, they never made the NCAA Tourney while he was a Georgia.  He DID help move the program forward and to get the players that made it to the final four....but he did not play on those teams.

DavidThead
DavidThead

@LoyaltotheG  oh and BTW FOX just robbed a 6'8" 3 star recruit from MSU so i think hes doing pretty well this year!


maconexpress
maconexpress

Birdhair, I could have a different opinion of CMF if he doesn't make the ncaa tournament next season.

Birdhair
Birdhair

@maconexpress He's been at the helm for 5 years and has made 1 NCAA appearance with mostly Felton players and has 1 NIT appearance and lost in the second round. How many more years does he get?

Birdhair
Birdhair

@gtcaryd @Baghead @maconexpress Mediocre in the norm in Athens because of poor leadership from aaaatthens (mcgarity). Amazing fan base not an issue. Show up every game and sell-out the stadium. One of best college towns in the country. Rich school and very strong brand. The only thing holding us back is poor leadership. Dont give me the football school excuse. We're not so much in the football conversation anymore as we'd like to believe. We havent won an SEC championship in 8 years.

gtcaryd
gtcaryd

@badbrad23 Refer back to stewarts post brad, no need to get snippy. You must share opinion as teddyjackandeddie.