For Georgia to be successful this season, it will have to be about more than just Yante Maten.
That’s where Derek Ogbeide enters the picture.
The 6-8 junior forward started 33 of 34 games last season and played valuable minutes in a lot of big spots for the Bulldogs.
This year, he’ll be expected to take a step forward as he and others try to ease the transition after the departure of do-it-all guard J.J. Frazier.
Inside the Numbers
Defensively, Ogbeide was a force inside.
He finished fifth in the SEC in rebounding (7.6 rebounds per game) and had 12 double-digit rebounding games overall. He also developed into a consistent shot blocker, producing 1.1 per contest.
On the offensive end of the floor, the Atlanta native made the most of his opportunities. Ogbeide didn’t have to shoot much thanks to Frazier and Maten’s offensive output, but when he did, he was efficient – shooting 56.7 percent from the floor, which led the team.
And it’s that part of his game that should continue to develop as he moves into a larger role this season.
What They’re Saying
“He’s an interesting player because he’s very powerful and squats nearly 500 pounds. He’s a dynamic athlete, but he was maybe somebody that was just a shot blocker and rebounder throughout his career. As we’ve taught him some skills in the post, I think he’s been in the infant stages of learning how to score. Now that he has the ability to score, we’re teaching him where to find those opportunities and how to maximize them. I think he’ll score the ball more than he did a year ago and more efficiently than he did.”
But physically, he might be the best athlete on the team because he’s so explosive for the size that he has. If he can continue to develop as he has, along with Yante, should provide us two pretty good frontline players.”
– Georgia head coach Mark Fox on the Marching to Madness podcast this summer
Ogbeide’s strength and athleticism should allow him to find opportunities at the rim more often this season.
With teams gearing up to stop Maten and talented freshman forward Rayshaun Hammonds, Ogeide will likely be someone that finds himself with more open space to work with on offense.
It seems likely that the big man will once again be one of the SEC’s top rebounders, so that’ll certain be a luxury for Fox and company.
However, what will determine Ogbeide’s potential to break out into an All-SEC player will be his development of his offensive game.
If that development happens sooner than later, Georgia could be one of several SEC teams that could surprise people this upcoming season.