Jabri Abdur-Rahim, Georgia Bulldogs

Reloading in the transfer portal is Mike White’s Georgia Bulldogs, looking to make a splash this year. 


As is tradition, CBB Review is again ranking the top 100 teams heading into the new college basketball season. Each day, we will reveal the next team until we reach the team slotted at number one. Follow along with #CBBRank on all our social media channels.

The Georgia Bulldogs finished 11th in the SEC last season in Mike White’s first year with the program, a 10-win improvement over the year before, a 6-26 freefall under Tom Crean. The non-conference schedule produced a win over Notre Dame, while conference play included wins over Auburn, Kentucky, and Mississippi State. 

The SEC arms race in the portal did not exclude Georgia, with the Bulldogs reaching up to Lewiston, NY, and down to Miami, Florida to grab transfer additions. Last year’s high-scorers Terry Roberts and Kario Oquendo are gone, meaning a new-look Georgia is going to take the court this year. For a team that went .500, is that good? For this iteration of the Dawgs, yes. Mike White has proven he can recruit in Gainesville, and he’s doing it again in Athens. 

RJ Melendez, RJ Sunahara, Noah Thomasson, Russel Tchewa, and Jalen DeLoach headline this year’s transfer class, while the freshman class is stacked as well with Blue Cain, Silas Demary, Lamariyon Jordan, and Dylan James. Never doubt Mike White. When Georgia’s sitting pretty in the SEC standings two years from now, it’ll be because of that man. 

Click here to learn more about our preseason top 100 teams heading into the 2023-24 college basketball season.

Head coach: Mike White (12th season, 2nd at Georgia)

2022-23 record: 16-16 (6-12)

2022 postseason finish: None

Notable departures: Terry Roberts (Graduated), Kario Oquendo (Transferred to Oregon), Braelen Bridges (Graduated), KyeRon Lindsay (Transferred to Texas Tech), Mardrez McBride (Graduated), Jusaun Holt (Transferred to Kennesaw State)

Notable non-conference games: vs. Oregon (Nov. 6), vs. Wake Forest (Nov. 10), Baha Mar Bahamas Hoops Championship (Nov. 17-19)

Projected Rotation

PG: Justin Hill (6-0, 185, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 8.6 PPG, 2.9 APG, 2.7 RPG, 1.8 SPG, 79.7 FT% 

SG: Noah Thomasson (6-4, 210, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 19.5 PPG,  3.8 RPG, 3.5 APG, 38.6 3P% (Niagara)

SF: Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe (6-8, 217, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 5.5 PPG, 5.1 RPG, 0.8 APG, 20.5 MPG 

PF: Jalen DeLoach (6-9, 220, Jr.)

2022-23 stats: 9.7 PPG, 6.9 RPG, 1.0 APG, 1.4 BPG (VCU)

C: Russel Tchewa (7-0, 275, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 11.1 PPG, 8.6 RPG, 0.9 APG, 60.6 FG% (South Florida)

6: Jabri Abdur-Rahim (6-8, 215, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 7.1 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 0.2 APG, 38.7 3P%

7: RJ Sunahara (6-3, 190, Rs.-Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 18.9 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 2.5 APG, 1.6 BPG (Nova Southeastern – DII)

8: RJ Melendez (6-7, 210, Jr.)

2022-23 stats: 6.0 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 0.9 APG, 83.3 FT% (Illinois)

9: Silas Demary Jr. (6-5, 190, Fr.)

247Sports Composite No. 68 rated recruit

10: Blue Cain (6-5, 194, Fr.)

247Sports Composite No. 73 rated recruit

11: Frank Anselem-Ibe (6-10, 215, Sr.)

2022-23 stats: 2.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 0.3 APG

12: Dylan James (6-9, 207, Fr.)

247Sports Composite No. 83 rated recruit

13: Lamariyon Jordan (6-6, 190, Fr.)

247Sports Composite No. 162 rated recruit

Georgia Bulldogs MVP: Jalen DeLoach

Jalen DeLoach, a transfer from VCU, embodies the Dawg mentality. The Georgia Bulldawg mentality. An excellent defender, DeLoach averaged 2.5 steals+blocks per game with the Rams last year. Standing at 6-9, Deloach can handle bigger defenders in the paint while also maintaining the same level of defense against guards down low. Not a bad scorer either, DeLoach stays inside on offense for a career FG% of 56.9. He’s not a threat from the perimeter, however, and has never taken a three in his college career. 

DeLoach’s physicality and play style isn’t something that can be measured in stats. It’s grit, it’s toughness, it’s dawg. It’s precisely what Mike White needs on this roster. One thing that is measurable, however, is defensive rating. It’s an estimate of how many points the player would allow in 100 possessions. DeLoach’s metric of 88.7 wasn’t only 1st in the A-10, it was 14th in the entire country out of thousands of players. With his transfer to Georgia, he immediately becomes one of the best defenders in the conference, if not the best. 

It’s every aspect of defense for DeLoach, too. Rebounding, blocks, steals, he’s got it all. 3rd in the A-10 in blocks, 15th in steal percentage, 3rd in total rebounding percentage, and 4th in defensive win shares. Mike White can ask DeLoach to do anything on the defensive end and DeLoach will do it. When the game’s on the line and Georgia needs a stop, DeLoach will step up, time and time again. 

Georgia Bulldogs make-or-break player: Jabri Abdur-Rahim

This will be Jabri Abdur-Rahim’s 3rd year at Georgia. The 6-8 guard spent his freshman year at Virginia before transferring to the greener pastures of Athens, Georgia. In 72 career games, he has just 3 starts, none of which were last year. And yet, he’s the glue to this Dawg squad. 

A dive into both 2022-23 Georgia’s stats as a whole and Abdur-Rahim’s stats as an individual are telling. Kario Oquendo and Terry Roberts were the main scorers at 12.7 PPG and 13.2 PPG, respectively. These figures match up with the two having a usage rate of at least 27.6%, 1st and 2nd on the team. However, if the offense is struggling, which, last season, it objectively was for large portions of the year, it’s time to switch things up. Whether it’s switching lineups or tweaking rotational minutes, a fresh squeeze helps most of the time. It especially helps when the two biggest pieces of an offense are sitting at 7th and 9th on a 12-man team in effective FG%. Who was 2nd in that stat category last season? The glue. 

Of the 12 Georgia Bulldogs to receive playing time last year, only 1 did not start a game. The lone exception is Abdur-Rahim, who only averaged 18.7 MPG, good for 9th out of 12th on the team. Despite that, he actually shined when he was on the court. 38.7% from three, 7.1 PPG, an 81.8 FT%, and a 3.8 box plus/minus that happened to be more than double every other guard on the team. He was also first in win shares/40 minutes, which, as a stat, can be debated in terms of its usefulness/practicality, but the objective truth is that being 1st out of 12 players in a positive stat is better than being 12th. 

More stats? Abdur-Rahim placed 2nd on the team in player efficiency rating, behind only Braelen Bridges, who is no longer on the team. He also posted a team-low 7.7% turnover rate. No other player on the roster was even in single-digits. Abdur-Rahim had the highest 3PA-2PA ratio on the Dawgs, and yet still had the highest 3PT% out of players with more than 2 attempts from deep. Defensively, he had the 3rd most blocks on the team despite being the 9th player in a 12-man rotation as a guard. 

This upcoming season will be the first season of Abdur-Rahim’s career where he’ll have the same coach he had the previous season. This is his 4th year in college. This is a very good player with some bad luck. If it were up to me, (it’s not, I’m a college journalism student with little prior coaching experience) Jabri Abdur-Rahim is the starting shooting guard for Georgia opposite Noah Thomasson on the first game of the Georgia Bulldogs’ season. Every team needs a glue guy. Abdur-Rahim is Flex Tape. It’s even better than glue. 

Key analytic: Assists per game

Georgia basketball ranked 229th in the nation in points per game with just 68.5, but fared even worse in the assists department, ranking 308th with only 11.2 assists per game. That’s clearly a statistic that the Bulldogs need to change if they want to improve on their .500 record from last season. It starts with Justin Hill and Noah Thomasson. Those two guards, with respect to Jabri Abdur-Rahim, RJ Melendez, and RJ Sunahara, will likely start the season at the starting guard spots. 

Hill was 2nd on the Bulldogs last year in assists behind Terry Roberts with 2.9 APG, but the next highest returning mark from the team last year is 0.8 APG from Matthew Alexander-Moncrieffe. Noah Thomasson comes in as a shoot-first type of guard, and Abdur-Rahim isn’t much of a passer. Sunahara and Melendez aren’t going to light up the court with passes, so where does the burden of distribution fall? Does Hill transform into an entirely pass-first guard and start averaging 6 APG? One solution are a few players only mentioned in passing so far. The freshmen guards. 

Three words. Silas Demary Jr.. Yes, he’s a bit raw and is more talented at scoring than distributing. But there aren’t many buckets to go around on this roster by the time Demary’s name is up in the rotation. It reminds me of that one movie/show, I don’t remember the name and I didn’t watch it in its entirety, but the simple synopsis is that there’s a prison where there’s hundreds of vertical cells with a feast of food that gradually shrinks as it goes through each cell in succession. Once it reaches the last few floors, there’s barely any food left remaining because the previous inmates have all consumed it. Demary is low in the rotation, and he’s not going to get much food (shot opportunities), unless he is the one serving it. Serving the food well is an automatic ticket to a way up the rotation, and if Demary can consistently create chances for his fellow Dawgs, he can make a big impact his freshman year.

Regardless of who provides these assists, a fluid offense with more than 13.0 APG would be a sign of positive growth under Mike White. Who knows, maybe it’ll lead to a tournament bid, too. The Georgia Bulldogs have the shot-takers, but it’s time for them to turn to shot-makers. With this year’s group, it’s a very distinct possibility. 

Georgia Bulldogs 2023-24 projections

Projected conference finish: 13th in SEC

Projected postseason ceiling: NCAA Tournament – Round of 64

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