November 7, 2008

Dawgs host Albany St.

The way point guard Zac Swansey sees it, tonight's exhibition game at Stegeman Coliseum against Albany State couldn't be coming at a better time.

"Oh, it's great. We had a couple of intrasquads last week but we're ready to go out and see how we do against another team," Swansey said. "Right now, it's kind of hard to tell. When you're running through plays and stuff, the other guys know exactly what you're doing. It's just going to be good to play somebody different."

Tip-off is set for 7:30 p.m. and admission is free.

"Everyone is very excited," sophomore Jeremy Price said. "We're really looking forward to get our chemistry going and seeing what we have this year."

Bulldog fans might do a double-take when then see Price take the court for tonight's game. The Decatur native said he's dropped 30 pounds since last year when he weighed in at 265.

Price is not the only Bulldog who will be playing a bit lighter.

Sophomore Chris Barnes has lost about 20 pounds since the end of last season and is in excellent shape.

"Getting in better shape was something Coach (Dennis) Felton really emphasized in the offseason," Swansey said. "We'd have 6 a.m. runs two days a week in preseason, so I think we're definitely in good shape."

Tonight's contest will also mark the debut of the Bulldogs' highly-touted freshman class, although Howard Thompkins, the most highly-touted of the group, won't be available while be recovers from a sprained ankle.

Fans will, however, get to see the debuts of point guard Dustin Ware, forward Drazen Zlovaric and Travis Leslie, who will join returnees Terrance Woodbury, Albert Jackson, Corey Butler and Troy Brewer.

This year's team also includes Garner-Webb transfer Ricky McPhee and Tyler Whatley, a 6-6 forward who comes in as a transfer from Wofford.

"I just want to see what kind of team we have," Swansey said. "We've put in a lot of work in during the off-season so it will be good to see where we're actually at."

How good can the defending SEC Tournament champions be?

"I think we can be as good as we want to be," Swansey said. "Our depth is good and we've got a bunch of young guys. It's just going to come down to defending and rebounds. Those are the two biggest things we have to work on. If we can do that, everything else will fall into place."

Georgia opens its regular season next Friday when it hosts USC-Upstate.

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