Silas Demary leading Dawgs with 'unheard of' toughness

Palmber-Thombsby:Palmer Thombs01/18/24


Georgia Basketball is off to a great start in SEC play. Mike White’s Bulldogs have won three of their first games against conference competition – something only accomplished 11 times in the last 50 seasons in Athens – and they’ve got freshman point guard Silas Demary Jr. to thank as one of the big reasons why.

The North Carolina native was a late addition to Georgia’s Class of 2023 after he had initially signed with USC. Demary got out of his National Letter of Intent with the Trojans, and the On3 top-50 prospect came on board with the Bulldogs instead in April.

So far, so good. In 17 games, all of which he has started, Demary is averaging 9.2 points and 4.8 rebounds while totaling 45 assists, 26 steals and seven blocks to just 32 turnovers in his first season. Narrow it in on the four SEC games so far, and the stats are even better: 11.5 points and 5.3 rebounds per game. He’s also been more disruptive on the defensive ends with six steals and five blocks while being more careful on offense, turning it over less often.

“God blessed me with a lot of abilities, and I just want to put him first, but the confidence comes from my teammates and knowing the work I put in every day,” Demary said after a recent game. “My teammates are telling me to be aggressive because they know when I’m aggressive, we can get a lot of guys open shots.”

“My biggest takeaway so far has been learning how to pick and choose when I can create plays for my teammates,” he added. “I feel like if I can make my teammates better, it makes my job easier.”

Demary definitely did his job Tuesday night at South Carolina. Coming off of a trio of SEC outings in which he hit double-figures twice and made a key 3-pointer in each, Demary led Georgia in scoring in the win over the Gamecocks with 15 points in a team-high 30:45 of action.

Making matters more impressive, nine of Demary’s 15 came from the free throw line as he was asked several times to make clutch shots from the stripe. He did just that, and the Dawgs got the win as a result.

“I haven’t had a freshman any more physically and mentally tough than him,” Georgia head coach Mike White said postgame. “By the end of the year if you ask me I might say he’s No. 1. He’s definitely in the conversation. His confidence and his toughness too, it’s a mixture of both. Takes a really tough, scary fall and that was before he stepped in to make some of those free throws late. Continues to help us get stops defending the glass, flying around. The ball security too for a true freshman is pretty impressive.”

“He epitomizes maturity and toughness for a freshman,” White added on a separate occasion after Tennessee having talked about that maturity multiple times throughout the season already. “His defensive rebounding, his command of the ball, getting downhill, playing through contact … It’s unheard of for a true freshman playing against a top-5 defense in the country and not turn it over playing the minutes he’s playing. And also, we’re play through him a lot, trying to keep the ball in the middle of the court and try to middle ball screen a bunch. His usage rate is so high, and to have zero turnovers speaks to his mental and physical toughness.”

Georgia will need Demary to keep it up as the Bulldogs are away from home again this weekend. Winners of three in a row on the road for the first time since 2014-15 and 2-0 in the hostile SEC environments for just the third time since the turn of the century, Rupp Arena and the eighth-ranked Kentucky Wildcats are up next for UGA. Tip time for Saturday in Lexington is set for 6:00 p.m. ET on the SEC Network.

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