ATHENS - Mark Fox, the head coach of the struggling Georgia men's basketball team, is preaching patience.
It wasn't a full-bore state-of-the-program address, but on Tuesday as the Bulldogs left for a game with No. 17 Missouri, Fox talked about the future. There is young talent in the program that needs a chance to develop, and help on the way in recruiting, according to Fox.
"I know we're not winning the games that we need to win," Fox said of his team, which is 6-9 overall and 0-2 in the SEC. "But what we're doing, and I think we'd win more games than what we have, but we've invested (in the future).
"These guys need time. I've got a freshman, sophomore and freshman on the perimeter. But they need time. They're talented players. And next year we'll bring in J.J. (Frazier) and Juwan (Parker), who can score the ball, in addition to these guys (currently on the team). And bring in Houston (Kessler) who can really shoot the ball, and add three more offensive players, and if we can get Nemi (Djurisic) going again, then have a lot more weapons that are prepared to consistently play."
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Frazier is a 5-foot-9 point guard from Glennville. Parker is a 6-4 shooting guard from Tulsa, Okla. Kessler, a 6-8 forward, is already with the Bulldogs but is redshirting this season in order to develop. Djurisic is a 6-7 forward whose season has been a bit of a sophomore slump, leaving the team's star - guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope - as the team's only double-digit scorer.
Fox spoke of Frazier and Parker helping infuse some scoring ability into the team. But he acknowledged that his team is also still having troubles in the post. Major troubles.
The Bulldogs have one open scholarship left for the 2013-014 season, assuming no attrition.
"We need a guy that can finish plays. We need a good player. We need a guy that can finish plays. It's kind of like defensive linemen - aren't you always recruiting defensive linemen?" Fox said, smiling.
"It could be a post player. But our whole issue, from day one really, (is) we didn't have a lot of offensive players. Travis Leslie really wasn't, we made him one. We knew we had to recruit offensive guys, and it's going to take time to get a deep enough pool of those guys on your team to give you more offense."
Fox was asked if he was willing to sacrifice short-term gains (as in, victories this season) in order to give the freshmen time in an effort to accelerate their development.
"I already have," Fox said. "Those guys are already getting massive chunks of minutes."
And it appears that will continue.