Observations from Georgia men's basketball's open practice

Observations from Georgia men’s basketball’s open practice

The Georgia men’s basketball squad held an open practice Saturday morning in Stegeman Coliseum. Fans and media alike were allowed to watch the practice in its entirety. Below is what stood out:

We’re less than a month away from the start of Georgia men’s basketball’s 2022-23 season, and the Bulldogs are working to make the most of the time that remains. Saturday’s open practice allowed for onlookers to get a better look at this year’s team than ever before.

Saturday’s practice began with the typical stretching followed by the guards working on the left side of the court and the forwards/centers on the others. Following the warm-ups, the Bulldogs held what amounted to two separate five-on-five scrimmages: one that was about 10 minutes’ worth of game length, and a shorter scrimmage that was all of 4:50 of game time.

Here’s a rundown of what caught my eye:

— I would estimate there was a little over 100 fans in the stands for Saturday’s action. Given the fact it was a football Saturday, I thought it was a decent turnout with basketball still a few weeks from getting going.

The good news for Georgia is everyone was on hand for the scrimmage.

During the practice we got to watch two weeks ago, the Bulldogs were a bit short-handed with guards Terry Roberts (illness) and Justin Hill (hamstring) unavailable, but both were back for Saturday’s practice. Hill spent part of the first five-on-five scrimmage on a stationary bike but did come in to play the second scrimmage in place of Jaxon Etter. Forward Jailyn Ingramwho has been making his way back from a torn ACL, warmed up with the rest of the team but did not participate during the scrimmage portion of practice.

— I didn’t get the sense that the two teams Saturday were necessarily first-string vs. second string. The Red team was made up of 1) Terry Roberts 2) Jusaun Holt 3) Kye Ron Lindsay 4) Jabri Abdur Rahim and 5) Frank Anselem. The Gray team was made up of 1) Marrez McBride 2) Kario Oquendo 3) Jaxon Etter 4) Matthew-Alexander Moncrieffe 5) Braelen Bridges.

Assistant coaches Akeem Miskdeen and Erik Pastrana worked with the Red team, while Antonio Reynolds Dean worked with the Gray team. head coach Mike White spent time going back and forth between the two teams during timeouts.

— Looking at the 10-minute scrimmage, the Red team jumped out to a 15-8 lead before the Gray team mounted a comeback. Bridges was downright dominating down low as the Gray team cut into the lead, and Oquendo found a rhythm with a loud dunk and a 3-pointer that helped cut the Red team’s lead to 18-15 with 2:18 to go.

Abdur-Rahim drained a 3-pointer with roughly one minute left, which put the pressure on the Gray team to respond. Moncrieffe earned an and-1 on a hard drive to the basket but failed to make his free throw to leave the Red team with a 21-20 advantage with 35 seconds to go; after an intentional foul, Terry Roberts drilled a pair of free throws to put the Red team up three points with 22 seconds to go.

The Gray team looked to tie things up and seemed in good shape after Kario Oquendo made an excellent offensive rebound to keep the possession alive, but another miss sealed the 23-20 victory for the Red team.

— I wasn’t able to stay for the entirety of the 4:50 scrimmage, but there were a few things that stood out.

The Gray team jumped out to a 7-2 lead with just over two-and-a-half minutes to go, but the Red squad came roaring back. Holt forced a turnover on an in-bound and fed the ball to Moncrieffe for a fastbreak basket to get the Red team going, and Anselem’s successful and-1 got the Red team within three with 39 seconds to go. Holt continued to cause issues for the Gray team by forcing another turnover shortly after Anselem’s big three points.

— Over the entire two scrimmages, the five players who I thought stood out the most were Roberts, Bridges, Abdur-Rahim, Holt and Oquendo. Here’s a quick note on each:

Roberts: This was the first time I’ve been able to see Roberts with the Bulldogs, and I liked what I saw. His ball-handling skills were impressive Saturday, and I thought he did a good job of distributing the basketball as well as working his way to the basket.

Bridges: Bridges was practically unstoppable in the paint Saturday and excelled at both scoring in the paint as well as bringing down rebounds on either end of the court. I came away very impressed with what Bridges brought to the table.

Abdur-Rahim: Abdur-Rahim showed good touch on his shot — particularly from 3-point range — and made several plays that got the Red team rolling along.

Holt: Holt was particularly effective on defense Saturday and forced a couple turnovers that had his team in the hunt. He also showed pretty good touch with his shot both prior to the scrimmage and once the action got going.

Oquendo: Oquendo started relatively slow but really settled in as that first scrimmage wore on. His best moment was the dunk followed shortly thereafter by his big 3-pointer.

– Another worthwhile note: Georgia power forward commit Dylan James and Georgia small forward commit Mari Jordan were on hand for Saturday’s practice.

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