Mark Fox is letting J.J. Frazier be free.
“I don’t think he has a leash anymore,” Fox said at SEC Media Days. “He was in a cage as a freshman.”
Frazier comes into this season as Georgia’s undoubted leader and top player. He led the Bulldogs in points per game, assists, steals and field goal percent (out of players who took more than 30 shots). Fox expects him to be the general on the floor for Georgia, especially in tricky road games.
“In practice yesterday I said, ‘J.J., coach your team.’ We’re gonna be in arenas where they can’t hear the coach,” Fox said, “As a senior and a very intelligent player with a high IQ, he’s able to manage that.”
As you can see from his stat line, there isn’t just one area Frazier excels in. He’s among the best distributors and scorers in the SEC, which gives Fox confidence that he can play as a more traditional passing point guard, as well as a modern scoring guard.
“I think we have the best of both worlds with J.J. He understands the old-school point guard of trying to get everyone involved,” Fox said. “But he also has the ability to score like some of the new age basketball we’re seeing in the NBA.”
Frazier and junior forward Yante Maten make up the backbone of the Georgia squad. With experienced, key players at the point and on the post, Fox sees a duo he can build around.
“Every coach would like to have a really good lead guard, just like every football coach wants a good quarterback,” Fox said. “As coaches, we also want a very good interior player who’s proven, and we have both of those things. They give us a great starting point and now we have to put the pieces around them.”
One such piece is Juwan Parker. Parker started in 2014-15, but tore his Achilles early last season and took a redshirt. Fox thinks Parker’s return will help replace some of the production created by the now-departed Kenny Gaines and Charles Mann.
“Quietly, he’s returned to health, and he’s a guy who we know can compete and play every night in the SEC,” Fox said. “He’ll probably be the first candidate that will have a chance to replace a lot of that production.”
Georgia was picked by the media to finish fourth in the SEC.