ATHENS – This transfer thing has just about gotten out of hand for the Georgia Bulldogs.
Third-year coach Tom Crean on Monday was dealing with two more of his players entering the NCAA’s transfer portal. Tye Fagan and Mikal Starks makes three off of this year’s team and 11 since he became the Bulldogs’ head coach.
They join sophomore Christian Brown in deciding that the grass might be greener somewhere else. All three were primarily backcourt players for the Bulldogs.
In the immediate, Fagan’s departure is the most harmful. The 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior from Logtown was a zone-busting specialist for the Bulldogs, setting up in the middle of the offense to shoot, drive or distribute. He started 25 of Georgia’s 26 games this season and averaged 9.3 points in 22 minutes of play.
But Fagan proved a liability in other areas, making just 55 percent of his free throws and shooting 25 percent from 3-point range.
“I grew up so much on the court this season, not just as a player but a man,” Fagan said on Twitter. “After extensive thought and conversations with my family, I’ve decided to … enter my name in the transfer portal.”
Starks just transferred into Georgia last year from Eastern Florida State College. He was the primary backup at point guard for Sahvir Wheeler, who played more than 35 minutes a game. Starks averaged 5.6 minutes in 18 games with 12 assists and just three turnovers.
Brown was a promising 6-6 wing player whose battle with injuries last season limited him to just 16 games and one start.
Crean declined comment Monday about the rash of transfers. However, he’s not the only coach dealing with them. According to published reports, there are nearly 700 basketball players in the portal at this point. More will likely be added after the NCAA Tournament.
Georgia has been a beneficiary as well a victim. The Bulldogs are awaiting the decisions of Justin Kier, P.J. Horne and Andrew Garcia, who joined the team as grad transfers last year and are permitted by NCAA rule to return for another season if they choose. Between them, they played in every game last season, with Kier and Horne starting every one.
Meanwhile, the Bulldogs will be vigilant in looking for help in the transfer portal as well. On Monday, Walker Kessler, a 7-1 center from Fairburn, announced that he had entered his name in the portal and is leaving North Carolina. Kessler played in all 29 games for the Tar Heels, averaging 4.4 points and 3.2 rebounds while playing 8.7 minutes per game.
Kessler has a lot of ties to UGA. His father, Chad, was an Academic All-American who scored 675 points at Georgia, his uncle Alec was the SEC Player of the Year while leading the Bulldogs to their only SEC championship in 1990 and his brother, Houston, played for UGA from 2013-17.
Meanwhile, Georgia remains active on the recruiting front. The spring signing period for basketball starts April 14 and runs through August.
1. Christian Brown – unknown
2. Tye Fagan -- unknown
3. Mikal Starks – unknown
4. Jaykwon Walker – unknown
5. Mike Peake – Austin Peay
6. Amanze Ngumezi – Jacksonville State
7. Rodney Howard – Georgia Tech
8. Teshaun Hightower – Tulane
9. Ignas Sargiunas – Colo. State
10. Jo Jo Toppin -- Georgia State.
11. Isaac Kante -- Hofstra