- Andy Katz, ESPN Senior Writer
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1. Georgia coach Mark Fox needed the team's trip to Italy to get a handle on his freshmen and returnees to see if there was improvement and hope for the upcoming season. School hasn't started yet, but he returned to the United States on Sunday with loads of optimism. Sophomore Tim Dixon, who averaged nine points and nine rebounds on the trip after averaging 0.3 points and 0.9 rebounds last season, showed tremendous progress, while returning starters Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Donte Williams and Nemanja Djurisic all played well in limited minutes, according to Fox. Fox said he leaned more on freshman guards Charles Mann and Kenny Gaines to give the pair a quality look. Marcus Thornton, arguably the team's best player, didn't play because he hadn't been cleared since having surgery in the spring. Fox said the trip came at the perfect time for the Bulldogs, who finished 15-17 overall, 5-11 in the SEC last season, so that he could get a read on the young players instead of studying the returnees.
2. My condolences go out to the family of Patricia Davison, wife of Georgia basketball operations director Kent Davison. Pat Davison, 60, died unexpectedly Aug. 5 while the team was in Italy. Kent rushed back to Athens, Ga. Fox said it was simply awful for everyone involved. Tragic.
3. Central Florida starts the fall semester Aug. 20, and as of Sunday the school had no word on if star senior forward Keith Clanton plans to transfer. He can play elsewhere right away because of the Knights' one-year postseason ban, but each day that goes by without a word from Clanton means it's more likely he'll return to play in front of family in his native Orlando. In an unrelated transfer situation, South Carolina coach Frank Martin said the school hasn't received word if Southern Mississippi's LaShay Page (11.6 points, 3.4 rebounds per game) will receive a waiver to play his senior season with the Gamecocks. Page left after a coaching change in Hattiesburg and can seek a waiver if he has graduated and enrolls in a graduate program that is not available at Southern Miss. Though the SEC does have a policy of no one-year players, a waiver of this sort is usually granted.
1. Georgia coach Mark Fox needed the team's trip to Italy to get a handle on his freshmen and returnees to see if there was improvement and hope for the upcoming season.