NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Georgia has the No. 1 shooting guard in the nation headed to Athens in Anthony Edwards, but the Bulldogs have yet to ensure the No. 1 player from the 2018-19 team is returning.
Georgia sophomore star Nicolas Claxton was noncommittal when asked if he would return for his junior season.
“I’ll talk about it with my family,” Claxton said following Wednesday night’s 71-61 loss to Missouri in the Bulldogs’ season-ending SEC tournament loss to Missouri at Bridgestone Arena.
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The 6-foot-11, 220-pound Claxton was a second-team All-SEC pick, leading UGA in scoring, rebounding, blocks and steals, also finishing second in assists.
Georgia coach Tom Crean, who completed his first season in Athens with an 11-21 record, said having a talented player with options like Claxton is a good problem.
“I’m in a great place with Nic, so we’ll just ride all of that out,” Crean said. “I’ve been down this road so many times with guys, and you want that. You want guys that aspire, and you want guys that have potential. It works itself out.
“Whatever ends up being the absolute best for him is what’s going to happen, and there’s a lot of improvement left in him, and he’s got a lot of basketball in his future, and he made a lot of strides this year.”
Crean does anticipate some attrition beyond the six departing seniors.
“I think attrition is part of the game,” Crean said. “From college football, college baseball, coulee basketball, women’s basketball.
“The bottom line for me is everybody gets coached, every day. There’s opportunities you take advantage of, or you don’t. There are decisions that have to be made as you go through it, and that becomes part of it.”
Sophomore guard Teshaun Hightower, who started 17 games this season, did not play for the third time in the past four games.
Freshman guard JoJo Toppin was also held out of action for the 14th time in the final 19 games of the season.
“I really don’t know, my mind can’t wander there right now,” Toppin said, asked of his future in the program. “This is a big loss, it hurts. Really not thinking about that right now, we just lost six seniors. I can’t think about the future right now.”
Georgia star Nicolas Claxton
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