4 Georgia basketball players face discipline after one arrested

Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

Credit: ccompton@ajc.com

ATHENS -- Four Georgia basketball players face suspension to start the season after a traffic incident that resulted in the arrest of one of them last week in Barrow County.

Justin Kier (pronounced KIGH-er), a graduate transfer from George Mason, was booked into the Gwinnett County Jail after he was stopped by police for allegedly driving more than 90 mph on Georgia 316 in the early-morning hours of Oct. 9. Kier was charged with reckless driving, aggressive driving and driving too fast for conditions. He was in police custody for about seven hours before being released on $450 bond at 9 a.m.

The traffic citations are not what is at issue for UGA basketball. After reportedly smelling marijuana during the stop, police say marijuana was found in Kier’s 2019 Volkswagen Atlas SUV. “All occupants of the vehicle advised they had been smoking marijuana in the vehicle at that time,” according to the arrest report. The occupants, which included “three men’s basketball players” and a female. The other players were not identified by police.

If the marijuana accusations are true, all four players would be in violation of UGA Athletics' code of conduct, which calls for suspension of 10 percent of the next closest competition dates.

Georgia coach Tom Crean was aware of the incident but declined to comment, other than to issue a statement through UGA’s sports communications department.

“The report is disappointing and not reflective of the standards we expect for our basketball program,” Crean said. “In addition to university disciplinary processes, we are addressing the incident internally according to Athletic Association policies. I’m hopeful these measures will result in both lessons learned and better choices in the future.”

At present, Georgia’s schedule is not finalized, and it’s unclear how many games will be played this season. Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the SEC is expected to play a conference-only slate of games that would start after Christmas. But none of that has been announced.

Meanwhile, UGA officials said they’re continuing to gather information.

Kier is a 6-foot-4 guard from Grottoes, Va., who came to Georgia from George Mason as a graduate transfer earlier this year. Kier was a three-year starter for the Patriots from 2016-19 before missing the majority of the 2019-20 season with a stress fracture in his right foot. In all, he started 95 of 108 games at George Mason, scoring 1,120 points (10.4 ppg) and grabbing 548 rebounds (5.1 rpg). He also recorded 211 assists and 120 steals.

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