Less than a week after Georgia’s dismal basketball season came to an end with a loss to Mississippi State in the SEC tournament, the defections from the program have begun.
Sophomore guards Zac Swansey and Troy Brewer have both asked for their release and intend to transfer to other schools, forward Albert Jackson confirmed Monday.
“Both came to me about it before they said anything to the public, and we talked about the whole situation,” Jackson said in an e-mail. “I basically just told each of them they were great teammates, and I wanted them here for my senior year, but also that I respected any decisions that they decided to make. It is their career at the end of the day.”
Swansey told the Red & Black on Monday that he has not yet begun looking at other schools but felt he needed a fresh start after seeing his playing time decrease significantly in the latter half of this season.
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Swansey was best known for hitting two big baskets in his brief career. In last year’s miraculous run to an SEC tournament championship, Swansey sunk a 3-pointer with 1.2 seconds left in overtime to help Georgia beat Kentucky, then hit a three-quarters-court heave against Wofford to help the Bulldogs’ to a buzzer-beating win this year.
After opening this season as the team’s starting point guard, however, he saw his role diminish significantly. For the season, he averaged 4.3 points and 2.9 assists per game.
Brewer averaged 2.1 points in limited action in 2008-09.
The team is currently without a head coach after Dennis Felton was fired midway through the season. Although the school cannot officially interview many of its candidates until after the NCAA tournament, Jackson said he is confident there won’t be any further defections before a new coach is hired.
“I'm pretty confident that everyone else will stay,” Jackson said. “I have talked with everyone else, and they all seem set on staying. We are just all patiently waiting to see who our new coach will be in the coming weeks.”
After the loss in the SEC tournament, Jackson said several of Georgia’s players were considering transferring, but that they hoped most could be convinced to remain.
“At the end of the day, you knew some guys were going to leave because it happens within any transition,” Jackson said. “As long as the people who do stay are committed everything always works itself out, and I feel everyone on our roster is committed.”