ATHENS, Ga. – Georgia coach Tom Crean is facing another challenge in his difficult season as assistant coach Wade Mason has been suspended following an incident earlier in the week.
In a statement released Saturday, the Georgia athletic association said the incident “is under review” following reports Mason was involved in an altercation with director of player development Brian Fish during halftime of Wednesday night’s 84-65 loss at LSU.
Mason, in his first season on Crean's staff, was not with the team for Saturday's 85-68 loss to Mississippi. Georgia has released no details of the suspension.
Georgia hasn't disclosed any details of the incident. Fish remained on the bench for Saturday’s game.
Crean acknowledged on his pregame radio show he was facing "an unfortunate situation we had to deal with.”
The Bulldogs' lost season then hit another low with the loss to Ole Miss.
The Bulldogs (6-21, 1-13 Southeastern Conference) have lost seven consecutive games and 15 of their last 16. Crean, in his fourth season, is facing increased speculation about his job security.
Asked if he could provide clarity on Mason's status following Saturday's game, Crean said “No, obviously it’s an unfortunate situation that we’re dealing with and it was all handled correctly. We’re trying to keep our focus on basketball and we just didn’t play well today.”
When asked if the Bulldogs were successful in their efforts to retain their focus, Crean said “We didn’t win. It wasn’t from lack of work or attention to detail or anything like that.”
In its statement, Georgia said Crean reported the incident to athletic association officials in a timely manner.
“The incident in question was reported properly as required by university policies and is under review,” the statement said. "We will comment if and when appropriate.”
Crean is 47-70 overall and 15-53 in SEC games at Georgia. The Bulldogs are last in the SEC and lost one of their best opportunities to add another win by falling to the Rebels (13-14, 4-10), who brought a four-game losing streak to Athens.
Georgia, which plays at Texas A&M on Tuesday night, has only four games remaining in the regular season.
Junior guard Jaxon Etter said players can put aside the distractions when they are on the court.
“There are outside distractions but as soon as guys step on the court, as soon as guys step in the facility, we’re locked on the game plan,” Etter said.
Etter said there was no carryover from the incident at LSU.
“No, the players, we’re basketball players first,” Etter said. “We want to play basketball and that’s what we’re here to do.”
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