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Georgia AD issues statement in support of coach Mark Fox

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ATHENS, Ga. (AP) Georgia’s athletic director showed his support for embattled coach Mark Fox on Tuesday.

Greg McGarity took the unusual step of issuing a statement rebutting a report by Yahoo Sports that Georgia was evaluating possible candidates to succeed Fox.

McGarity’s statement said “we are NOT in the process of exploring our options to replace Mark Fox. We look forward to Mark leading our program next year and all of our efforts are centered on postseason play.”

Fox is in his eighth season as Georgia’s coach. The Bulldogs head into the Southeastern Conference Tournament with an 18-13 overall record and 9-9 mark in league play.

Georgia is still hopeful of landing an NCAA bid, but most projections have them missing out on the tournament for the sixth time in Fox’s career. The Bulldogs likely would need an upset of No. 9 Kentucky in the SEC Tournament to have any shot.

With a team featuring high-scoring Yante Maten and J.J. Frazier, the Bulldogs came into the season with high expectations.

But a series of close losses turned up the heat on Fox, who also had to deal with losing Maten to a sprained knee three weeks ago.

Despite the setbacks, Georgia did finish the regular season on a bit of a roll, winning five of its last seven games. Fox said Maten could return if the Bulldogs made the NCAA Tournament, but the forward’s status this week is uncertain.

Georgia opens the SEC against Tennessee on Thursday. If the Bulldogs win that game, they would advance to face top-seeded Kentucky, which has won eight in a row, in the quarterfinals.

McGarity had previously declined to comment on Fox’s future, saying he wouldn’t discuss the coach or his team until after the season.

That changed Tuesday.

“It’s unfortunate we need to respond at this time,” McGarity said in his statement, “but it was necessary to quiet these unfounded rumors.”

Fox, who previously coached five years at Nevada, has a record of 144-116 with the Bulldogs, including a 70-68 mark in SEC play.

Georgia has made only two NCAA appearances during Fox’s tenure, losing in the first round in both 2011 and 2015. The Bulldogs also have been to the National Invitation Tournament twice, going out each time in the second round.

For more AP college basketball coverage: http://collegebasketball.ap.org

VIDEO: Jay-Z’s nephew posterizes nation’s No. 1 recruit Marvin Bagley III

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Nahziah Carter is an unsigned 6-foot-6 wing in the Class of 2017.

He’s also Jay-Z’s nephew, and he just so happened to posterize Marvin Bagley III — the clearcut No. 1 prospect in the Class of 2018 — while Hova was in the stands watching him.

NCAA denies extra-year request by NC State guard Henderson

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RALEIGH, N.C. (AP) — The NCAA has denied North Carolina State guard Terry Henderson’s request for another year of eligibility.

Henderson announced the decision Friday in a statement issued by the school.

The Raleigh native played two seasons at West Virginia before transferring to N.C. State and redshirting in 2014-15. He played for only 7 minutes of the following season before suffering a season-ending ankle injury.

As a redshirt senior in 2016-17, he was the team’s second-leading scorer at 13.8 points per game and made a team-best 78 3-pointers.

Henderson called it “an honor and privilege” to play in his hometown.

SMU gets transfer in Georgetown’s Akoy Agau

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SMU pulled in a frontcourt player in Georgetown transfer Akoy Agau, a source confirmed to NBCSports.com. Agau is immediately eligible for next season as a graduate transfer.

The 6-foot-8 Agau started his career at Louisville before transferring to Georgetown after one season. Spending two seasons with the Hoyas, Agau was limited to 11 minutes in his first season due to injuries. He averaged 4.5 points and 4.3 rebounds per game last season.

Coming out of high school, Agau was a four-star prospect but he’s never lived up to that billing in-part because of injuries. Now, Agau gets one more chance to make a difference as he’s hoping to help replace some departed pieces like Ben Moore and Semi Ojeleye.

South Carolina loses big man Sedee Keita to transfer

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South Carolina big man Sedee Keita will transfer from the program, he announced on Friday.

The 6-foot-9 Keita was once regarded as a top-100 national prospect in the Class of 2016, but he never found consistent minutes with the Gamecocks for last season’s Final Four team.

Keita appeared in 29 games and averaged 1.1 points and 2.0 rebounds per game while shooting 27 percent from the field.

A native of Philadelphia, Keita will have to sit out next season before getting three more seasons of eligibility.

Although Keita failed to make an impact during his only season at South Carolina, he’ll be a coveted transfer thanks to his size and upside.

Mississippi State losing two to transfer

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Mississippi State will lose two players to transfer as freshmen Mario Kegler and Eli Wright are leaving the program.

Both Kegler and Wright were four-star prospects coming out of high school as they were apart of a six-man recruiting class that is supposed to be a major foundation for Ben Howland’s future with the Bulldogs.

The 6-foot-7 Kegler was Mississippi State’s third-leading scorer last season as he averaged 9.7 points and 5.5 rebounds per game. Kegler should command some quality schools on the transfer market, especially since he’ll still have three more years of eligibility after sitting out next season due to NCAA transfer regulations. Kegler’s loss is also notable for Mississippi State because it is the second consecutive offseason that Howland lost a top-100, in-state product to transfer after only one season after Malik Newman left for Kansas.

Wright, a 6-foot-4 guard, was never able to find consistent minutes as he was already behind underclass perimeter options like Quinndary Weatherspoon, Lamar Peters and Tyson Carter last season. With Nick Weatherspoon, Quinndary’s four-star brother, also joining the Bulldogs next season, the writing was likely on the wall that Wright wasn’t going to earn significant playing time.