Saturday, April 4, 2009

Coach Mark Fox info from a Nevada perspective...

Looking around for as much info as I could get on Mark Fox, I found this post from WolfinSeattle on insightful. Georgia basketball coach Mark Fox from a Nevada perspective:

First, Fox has done a great job at Nevada as you are now aware. Certainly missing the NCAA tournament the last two years was disappointing, but there were understandable reasons, at least from a Mid Major perspective.

Two years ago we were going to be a young team. We were losing Nick Fazekas to the NBA and it was going to leave a big hole. Then the other shoe dropped. PG Ramon Sessions (slated to be the pre season conference player of the year) also declared for the draft. Along with that we lost an outstanding SG to graduation. So we were a very young team and started 2 innexperienced sophomores and a true freshman. Fox did a good job, but we fell short of normal.

The following year Javale McGee left for the 1st round of the NBA and we lost every other PF and C to graduation. So we had to start 2 sophs and 2 freshmen. Nevada was a very young team and again fell short of the tournament, but it was still a 20 win season.

Anyway, BCS schools can reload a lot easier than a Mid Major so don't let those two seasons overly sway your opinion of Fox. Here's why he could be a success at Geogia:

Recruiting: He's an outstanding recruiter. Sure you have to worry about his lack of East Coast contacts, but as has been mentioned, he recruits from all over. We have players from Texas and North Carolina. Sessions was from South Carolina. McGee was from Chicago. He'll get it done. Fox focuses on length and athleticism and while with Nevada he went head to head with some major schools and got players. But mostly he got players that were overlooked and under recruited and ended up with teams that beat Kansas, Texas, Gonzaga, Cal and more. With the added clout of being at Georgia, he'll get players superior to what he had at Nevada.

He might take his mentor and former Kansas State head coach Tom Asbury as an assistant. He's been an assistant at Alabama for the last several years so should be familiar with the south. He's a defensive specialist and could be a big help.

As for style of play, he won't field a team as fun to watch as Grant from VCU, but we did beat VCU this year. Fox's defense is a lot like Trent Johnson's. Force teams into the half court, play man to man, deny the 3pt shot, don't be overly aggressive going after steals and rebound everything. He'll throw out a weak trap on occasion, but his defense will be nothing like Grant's. Fox is not as good of a defensive coach as TJ which is why I think he might bring in Asbury.

Offensively it's more of the same. When he said he'll play as fast as he can and still play well, he means it, but don't expect a lot of running up and down the floor. Most of the time his team will bring the ball up slowly and set the triangle offense. He focuses on efficiency in the half court and doesn't try to push the tempo very often. It can be frustrating to watch the team pass the ball around. The offense doesn't use a lot of motion and screens, but it is effective when run properly.

Finally he runs a clean program and players tend to graduate. There will always be discipline issues with college athletes but don't expect him to bring in a lot of players that are going to end up embarrassing the program.

Good luck and Nevada fans will be following your program. We all wish you the best.

On the question as to him losing his temper a lot:

Fox can get pretty animated. In a press conference earlier this year he said most of the fires were started on purpose. I'd guess to motivate players and affect the refs. He obviously intended to get ejected from the VCU game this year and it worked great. The team had been trailing, but when Fox was kicked out the crowd went wild, the players got fired up and Nevada wiped out the deficit and stopped VCU in their tracks. It was only a 2pt win, but VCU hit a 70ft buzzer beater to get it that close.

He has controlled his temper better this season. I'd say he has earned his reputation as a guy that works the refs pretty hard and might yell a bit too much. But I wouldn't say it's a big issue. We actually always look forward to the point in the game where he angrily takes off his jacket and throws it on the chair. It's like Superman coming out of the phone booth.

Our WAC opponents hate him with a passion, but respect him just as much. I wouldn't be surprised if Fox kept his temper tamped down now that he's the new kid on the block. Once he has been in the conference for 3 or 4 years it might come back if he's thinks it will benefit the team.


Worm said...

Sorry Bop. I'm just gonna have to have a little bit more information from you on Coach Fox before I can make a decision on him.

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