December 19, 2008

Back to Work

Being the stickler that he is for making sure his players do all the right things in the classroom, Georgia basketball coach Dennis Felton certainly aspires for each of his athletes to leave Athens with degrees in hand.

That said graduation at Stegeman Coliseum can sure put a kink in your game preparation plans.

Because the team's Basketball Training Facility was used as a staging area for Friday's ceremonies, the Bulldogs were forced to scramble to find adequate practice space for Saturday's game against visiting Wofford.

Tipoff is set for 2:07 p.m. (CSS).

"It was a distraction. The biggest thing is there isn't another gym in the city that's college length. We were at Piedmont College who was nice enough to let us use their gym," Felton said. "It was nice from the standpoint of being closed and private, but it was still a high-school length court and we did have to go out of our routine to go to somebody else's gym."

Fortunately for the Bulldogs, they only had to go to Piedmont once as they were able to used one of the women's practice gyms, although workouts had to be rescheduled for 8 a.m.

"We certainly didn't get to work out of our facilities as much as we wanted to," Felton said. "But we did the best that we could."

No wonder Felton might seem a bit antsy.

It's been 11 days since the Bulldogs (6-3) last took the court, holding on to beat visiting Virginia Tech in a thriller 67-66 back on Dec. 9.

But senior forward Terrance Woodbury isn't complaining about the break.

"The break came at a good time because it gave a lot of us the chance to heal up," Woodbury said. "I don't it's going to hinder us at all, but we are ready to go out and play another team."

Count Woodbury among those happy for the time to rest after being bothered by ankle issues in recent weeks. He wasn't alone. Albert Jackson's ankle continues to improve and Felton says the junior is in the best shape that he's been all year.

Forward Jeremy Price, meanwhile, missed two days worth of practice after getting poked in the eye but overall, Felton says the Bulldogs couldn't be in better physical shape.

"It's better than it's ever been. Trey (Thompkins) continues to get better. His conditioning has come a long way. He's lost 13 pounds since he's been practicing and he's able to play harder and looks more like a Georgia basketball player the longer he's been out there," Felton said. "Fortunately, he's had no further trouble with his ankle and his progress has been steady and consistent."

Getting his players hasn't been the only good news for Felton.

The 11 days between games gave him an opportunity to rethink some of the strategies regarding his players and get back to some of the basics not focused on since preseason.

"The biggest thing we got to do was slow down and pay more attention to some of the finer details because we haven't had many practices during the span of time since the season started where we spend 100 percent of the time committed totally to us," Felton said. "We've played nine games so far and we got a chance to learn a lot about ourselves, including me. We were able to learn things about different players, the team and how I might be able to enhance the talent and strengths of some of our players and how they can work together. Now, it's all about refining some of the things that we put in and go from there."

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