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November 1, 2012

Bulldogs looking forward to Fri. night exhibition

ATHENS — The Georgia men’s basketball team kicks off its season Friday night with an exhibition game against Young Harris. This will mark the start of head coach Mark Fox’s fourth season with the Bulldogs.

Fox hopes that his team will be able to relax playing in front of the fans.

“First time out, first time for this group to play under the lights, first time for our freshmen to play in front of their families and their friends here at Georgia.,” Fox said.

“Certainly we want to be able to just play in front of a crowd, relax and learn how to play in front of people. That’s really not something we’ve done to this point yet.”

Friday night also marks the first time Marcus Thornton will return to the Stegeman Coliseum court following knee surgery. The junior from Atlanta said that the main aim against Young Harris is to learn how to play together.

“We just want to establish ourselves as a unit, you look forward to putting everything together. I think that’s the hardest part,” Thornton said. “We just want to put it together as a whole, that’s what we’re probably looking forward to the most.”

While Thornton will be returning to the Coliseum floor, for Georgia’s four freshmen it will be a new experience. Guard Kenny Gaines said it is one that he is especially looking forward to.

“I’m really excited, it’s really a dream come true,” Gaines said. “I know a lot of people say that they’re not really nervous and they’re just ready to be out there and play but I am a little bit nervous. I’m just going to be trying to make sure I know all the plays offensively. Defensively I want to remember all the tendencies that we’ve been working on.”

Under Fox the Bulldogs are 3-0 in exhibition games ahead of Friday’s encounter. While saying he hopes his team adjusts to playing in front of people, Fox will also be looking ahead to the regular season opener against Jacksonville on Nov. 9.

“We want to see if we can make some progress with what we’re doing offensively and defensively,” Fox said. “We’ll play a couple of different line-ups to see how they work together and see how they perform. There are lots of things we want to look at the first time out.”

Looking ahead to the regular season, Thornton said he believes this year’s Bulldogs have the potential to improve upon last season’s 15-17 overall record.

Tip-off is at 7 p.m. and admission is free.

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