ATHENS – Georgia star Yante Maten went down clutching his knee 95 seconds into the Kentucky game on Feb. 18. In the nearly four full games since then, J.J. Frazier has scored 30 points a game, and Georgia has won three of those games, nearly winning the other one, vaulting back into NCAA Tournament contention.
It’s been an incredible effort and run by Frazier, who has put himself in the conversation for postseason awards. But it shouldn’t obscure this:
Nearly 60 percent of Georgia’s points have come from other players.
“I think the supporting cast is doing much more than anybody else is talking about, because J.J. has been so spectacular,” coach Mark Fox said Friday, as the team headed for a tough regular season finale at Arkansas.
Entering the Kentucky game, Maten and Frazier put together were averaging 52 percent of Georgia’s points. It was a two-man team with sporadic help here and there.
In the past four games, Frazier has scored 124 points, or 41.6 percent of Georgia’s points. That’s a lot, but it also means the rest of the team has upped its percentage of Georgia’s scoring by 10 points.
“I think everybody has probably elevated their production to a degree,” Fox said. “But not many people are talking about it because of the number of points that J.J. has scored.”
Freshman guard Tyree Crump has been a big lift on the perimeter, scoring 22 points in the past three games — and in just 28 minutes combined over those three games. He has benefitted from Frazier’s ability to not just score, but pass off drives.
“If they help on J.J. and he kicks it to me shooting the ball, I know it’s going in every time,” Crump said.
Junior forward Juwan Parker has been consistent, over the past four games scoring 10, 9, 12 and 8. He’s also helped more on the glass, with 25 rebounds over the past four games.
While Georgia has suffered on the glass without Maten, sophomore center Derek Ogbeide has 39 rebounds over the past four games, including 15 on Wednesday against Auburn.
Of course, the 5-foot-10 Frazier helped in that area himself, securing a key rebound late against the Tigers.
“I challenged my guys: Yan can’t come save us. Derek can’t rebound by himself,” Frazier said. “But with me challenging them, I have to take the lead, and I think I did that a little bit and everybody followed suit.”
Frazier has also led the way with the outside shooting. But again, it hasn’t just been him: Crump has six 3s over the past three games, Turtle Jackson has four and E’Torrion Wilridge has three. Freshman Jordan Harris, dealing with a bone chip injury, even came off the bench to hit one against Auburn.
Fox did sound wistful when he talked about all that renewed outside shooting.
“It would be much more of an advantage if we had Yante in there,” Fox said. “Because teams would have a decision: Should we double-team Maten or should we stay with some of that 3-point shooting. Obviously without Yante it’s not an issue. But it is good that these guys are finally knocking it in.”
And if Georgia (18-12) is going to have any chance at Arkansas (22-8), then those 3s will have to keep going in, and those players not named Frazier will have to keep up their production.