Georgia basketball coach Mike White said the goal for his team’s trip to Italy was to “get ahead,” and that’s exactly what the Bulldogs did on Sunday.
White’s reloaded UGA program raced out to a 15-2 lead en route to an 85-45 win over an Italian Club named “Orange Basket1 Bassano” in the first of three exhibition games that will take place over the course of the 10-day trip.
“It’s a great opportunity for us to get ahead a little bit,” White said leading up to the trip. “The NCAA allows you 10 additional practices than you normally get in preparation for that trip.”
It’s a Georgia basketball team that features four returning lettermen, five transfers and four freshmen entering White’s second season leading the program.
It was good for the program to get off to a good start after finishing last season on a six-game losing streak that left the program 16-16.
White’s team is expected by some to make a jump this season and could finish in the top half of the SEC with the size and talent assembled.
Russel Tchewa, Georgia’s 7-foot, fifth-year senior transfer from South Florida, had 14 points to share scoring honors with fifth-year senior transfer guard Noah Thomasson (Niagara).
Dylan James, a 6-foot-9 freshman forward from Winter Haven, Fla., who was ranked the No. 78 player in the nation in the 2023 class, had 9 points and a team-high 15 rebounds.
Justin Hill, one of four returning players who finished last season running the point, filled up the stat sheet with 7 points, 8 rebounds and 5 assists.
The game was played at Stella Azzurra, which according to the report from UGA sports information assistant Mike Mobley is a club program just outside of Rome.
As much as White wants to see his team come together on the court, he also looks for the sort of growth in the locker room that leads to championship chemistry.
“Opportunity for guys to spend time with each other, really, everybody in our program to fast track some relationships,” White said at the UGA Basketball Media Day earlier this month.
“Especially in today’s day and age in the portal and having nine new players.”