Busting Brackets

Georgia Basketball: Bulldogs next steps after 2021 roster exodus

ATHENS, GA - FEBRUARY 19: Head Coach Tom Crean of the Georgia Bulldogs looks on during a game against the Auburn Tigers at Stegeman Coliseum on February 19, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - FEBRUARY 19: Head Coach Tom Crean of the Georgia Bulldogs looks on during a game against the Auburn Tigers at Stegeman Coliseum on February 19, 2020 in Athens, Georgia. (Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images) /

It has surely been a forgetful offseason for Georgia Basketball. After a disappointing 2020-21 season, the Bulldogs have lost nearly every notable contributor off of last season’s team that went 14-12 finishing 10th in the SEC.

There is no other way to say it, head coach Tom Crean and the Bulldogs have had a rough offseason so far, and it did not get any better earlier this week when second-leading scorer KD Johnson announced his intentions to transfer. Losing six of their top seven players from a year ago to the transfer portal, headlined by their top three leading scorers Sahvir Wheeler, Johnson, and Toumani Camara, Georgia Basketball needs some good news at just about any point they can get it.

So, you’ve lost almost everyone off a roster that struggled in an arguably down year for the SEC last season, and are replacing them next season with players that are fairly unknown on the national stage. One big question because of this is starting to loom over the Georgia program, where do the Bulldogs go from here?

The Georgia roster, currently standing at 13 players, will be relying on numerous players to take a big step forward with their game in 2021-22. If there is any doubt of this point playing a massive role next season, simply just take a peek at the current roster.

The Bulldogs’ backcourt will be headlined by USC transfer Noah Baumann and the returning Jaxon Etter. With these two only combining to average 6 PPG last season, it’s evident why there is doubt in the backcourt. Junior College transfer Kario Oquendo and incoming 3-star guards Christian Wright and Camron McDowell will most likely also feature prominent roles, but it’s unsure how much production that trio will bring next season.

When looking for the strength for the Bulldogs currently, however, you can find some potential bright spots in the frontcourt. Virginia transfer and former 4-star Jabri Abdur-Rahim could be a prime SEC break-out candidate next season, now returning leading scorer PJ Horne will be back, and FAU transfer Jailyn Ingram and UIC transfer Braelen Bridges will be instant impact players.

Seeing returning forwards Tyron McMillan and Jonathan Ned take the next step would be massive for this Bulldogs team, while incoming JUCO transfer Dalen Ridgnal and 3-star Tyrone Baker will be important depth pieces.

The roster appears almost set for next season with one spot still yet to be filled. Even if Crean and Co. manage to land an above-average instant impact player, will it be enough?

The SEC will be loaded next season with a vast majority of teams in the conference having phenomenal offseasons. With Georgia currently looking like maybe the biggest unknown in all of college basketball, the doubt surrounding the Bulldogs for the 2021-22 season is evident.

Georgia averaged 77.5 PPG a year ago, which ranked 50th in the country. Georgia allowed 78 PPG to opponents a year ago and ranked 118th in the country in defense according to KenPom. The Bulldogs will have to replace almost 95% of their scoring, 85% of their rebounding, and 95% of their assists from just last season.

It’s crystal clear, and arguably couldn’t be any clearer, that this will be a steep mountain to climb for Crean’s Bulldogs next season. It’s also obvious that this will be even harder to do with this season’s roster clearly nowhere near what it was a year ago talent-wise.

So, where do the Bulldogs go from here? Could they turn things around, and shock all of college basketball? Maybe, but based on how things look currently, it’s extremely highly unlikely.

Next. Analyzing the Finalists for Georgia transfer Sahvir Wheeler. dark

If Georgia Basketball can add another instant impact player, and potentially become a surprise team in the SEC next season, Crean will be the favorite for SEC Coach of the Year in 2021-22, and rightfully so. However, if the Bulldogs start slow next season to combine with this fairly disappointing offseason, the writing could be on the wall for the end of the Crean era in Athens.