Two new rules recently instituted by the NCAA has made the off-season much more productive for basketball coaches like Georgia's Mark Fox.
One of the rules, which apply to recruiting, went into effect last Thursday, eliminating limits on the number of phone calls and text messages between coaches and recruits who have finished their sophomore season in high school.
The new rule also applies to social media like Twitter and Facebook.
Under the old system, coaches could call recruits just once a month from June 15 following his sophomore year to July 31 after his junior year. Text messages were not allowed.
"It's been good. It's something that we've taken full advantage of," Fox said during an SEC teleconference Monday. "I think the philosophy was the prospects - they have choices whether or not they answer a text or pick up the phone and answer it - so it's made life little easier on coaches as we're not concerned about when can we call, who can we call or did we log the call. We know there's no limit now so it's give us some freedom and a lot more access to kids."
A second rule, which went into effect in January, gives coaches eight hours per week with their teams for eight weeks while players are taking summer school classes. Stipulations are that two of those hours can be spent on-court. The remaining six are for strength and conditioning.
Previously, coaches were not allowed to attend any summer workouts and forced to turn to their teams over to their respective strength staffs until the start of the start of fall semester.
"I think the new rule is terrific. It's allowed us to immediately address things in their individual games that we feel like need to be adjusted, improved or enhanced," Fox said. "We've taken full advantage of trying to spend some time with them in the gym and just started working with them."
The Bulldogs will receive more extra court time later this summer when the team will be allowed to practice 10 times before its upcoming August trip to Italy.
"The summer for us is one, where if we use it right, can be very productive and to this point the month of June has been just that," Fox said. "It's been extremely productive, we've got a lot of things done and hopefully this trip will allow this team, especially the new guys to get an early idea of how we're trying to play and make them more comfortable when the year starts next year."
As for this current group of Bulldogs, Fox said it's going to be nice to work with a team with at least one year of SEC experience under its collective belt.
"This is a team that I'm looking forward to coaching. Unlike last year where we had lost so much productivity I think we go into the season bringing back a good deal of the previous team and we'll have a group that will certainly be more experienced," he said. "I think as they mature physically and continue to work in the weight room I think it will be a team that's more physical, something that was certainly an issue for us a year ago. We're excited about the year and how hard the team is working."
All players are present and accounted for.
That includes freshmen Kenny Gaines, Houston Kessler, Charles Mann and Brandon Morris.
At 6-foot-4 and 6-foot-6, respectively, Fox said he's excited about what Gaines and Mann will bring to the Bulldog backcourt.
"I think Vincent Williams at the point started a third of the games for us last year, so he's going to make that position with Charles very competitive and I envision Kentavious (Caldwell-Pope) playing quite a bit at the 2-spot -his natural position - this year which will make that position very competitive with Kenny and Sherrard Brantley," Fox said. "The thing that we do have is competition at those spots. Those guys (Gaines and Mann) are bigger and more athletic than we've had since I've came to Athens and that's one of the things that we eventually wanted to be, bigger and more athletic and I think Charles and Kenny will provide a future of long, athletic guards."