ATHENS — One Georgia basketball player in, another Georgia basketball player out.
That’s the situation for the Bulldogs (6-3) as they brace for a 7 p.m. home game at Stegeman Coliseum against SMU (8-1) on Friday.
Senior guard Jordan Harris has finished his nine-game suspension and will be on the floor for the first time this season for Georgia.
Suspended forward Amanze Ngumezi, however, is reportedly on his way out of the program via transfer portal.
Ngumezi hasn’t played since Bulldogs left the Maui Jim Maui Classic in Hawaii, suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules.
Coach Tom Crean said earlier on Thursday that Georgia wasn’t “looking at having (Ngumezi) back anytime soon.”
The 6-foot-9, 255-pound sophomore from Savannah had a golden opportunity with the Bulldogs, one of just three players 6-9 or taller on a very young, and very vertically challenged team.
Ngumezi was averaging 15.3 minutes per game along with 6.1 points and 2.4 rebounds each outing.
Crean announced his suspension on Dec. 4 just before the Bulldogs tipped off for a 95-59 win over N.C. Central.
“There are a combination of factors involved in this decision, all of which are associated with his lack of personal awareness and attitude expected of a Georgia Basketball player,” Crean said in an issued statement at that time.
Rivals.com analyst Dan McDonald is attributed with being the first to report Ngumezi had entered the transfer portal.
Harris, meanwhile, is expected to provide a lift to the SEC’s highest scoring team (83.1 points per game).
The Bulldogs could be scoring even higher if they weren’t struggling so bad shooting the basketball with just 29.3-percent accuracy beyond the 3-point arc.
“We’re just not there yet, we have got to build it, and we’ve got to continue to work with them constantly,” said Crean, who produced some of the best shooting teams in the nation during his stint at Indiana.
“It’s so much about when the ball is going inside-out, when the ball is touching the paint and getting kicked back out, when you’ve got the defensive movement,” he said. “Those are the type of things. When you’re playing off of 0-1-2 passes— that isn’t a high recipe of success.”
Harris, Crean said, will provided “burst” as one of the best athletes on the team.
“The whole key is that he comes in and just tries to integrate himself into what we’re trying to do, and be aggressive beyond the attack, but really put his mind to defense, to rebounding, to moving without the ball,” Crean said.
“He’s definitely been improving as a shooter, I think, over this preseason but again it’s the lights are on now.”
Harris started 13 games last season and averaged 7.8 points per game while shooting 41.5 percent from beyond the 3-point arc.