Hoop Dawgs nearly ready to Tip Off

 ATHENS - Georgia starts basketball practice on Saturday, and still the Bulldogs don't know when their case with the NCAA will be finished.

"Oh man, I'm very, very eager to get it behind us," Coach Dennis Felton said Tuesday during a preseason media meeting. "I don't expect us to be severely harmed, but as long as it's unresolved it can be built up to be a doozy of an NCAA case."

Felton said he when he took the job, he expected the Dogs to know their fate before the November signing period. At this point, it will be at least December before the school can appear before the NCAA Infractions Committee.

Before that can happen, the school must receive an official letter of inquiry. When asked when he expected the letter, Felton said, "I no longer know."

The case revolves around a class taught by former assistant coach Jim Harrick Jr. After investigating the matter, Georgia officials declared academic fraud had been committed, fired Harrick Jr. and pulled the team from postseason play. The matter eventually led to the resignation of head coach Jim Harrick Sr.

UGA compliance officials expect to receive the letter at any time. The issue already has hurt Georgia on the recruiting trail, Felton said.

"With all the media exposure this thing got last spring, it's easy for these kids to believe we're about to get slammed," he said.

Felton said Tuesday that all of the Bulldogs' remaining players have bought completely into his system except for senior forward Jonas Hayes.

"Jonas is probably still the only one who has one foot in the door and one foot out," he said. "Jonas has shown an apprehension about being inconvenienced. He wants to do what he wants to do when he wants to do it. That's difficult when you're part of a team."

Felton has already dismissed two players - Steve Thomas and Wayne Arnold - since taking over for Harrick in April. Hayes, the twin brother of former Georgia star Jarvis Hayes, averaged 6.7 points and 4.4 rebounds last year.

Hayes could not be reached for comment, but teammate Damien Wilkins said he has seen no signs of a bad attitude from Hayes.

"I haven't really seen any occurrence of Jonas not buying into the system," he said. "If he hasn't gotten with the program, it doesn't seem that way to me. I think Jonas will be here for the long haul."

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