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Dean leaves Georgia

Mike Dean might have developed into a strong scorer on the Georgia basketball team. Instead, Dean will pursue that potential elsewhere.

Given the time and the opportunity, Mike Dean might have developed into a strong scorer on the Georgia basketball team. Instead, Dean will pursue that potential elsewhere.

Georgia announced Tuesday that Dean, a sophomore from Rome, Ga., will leave
school after fall semester and has been released from his scholarship.

The announcement came almost exactly one year after Dean gained his academic
eligibility for his freshman season. The practice time missed in the 2001-02 season hurt Dean's chances to make an impact last season. This year the additions of freshman guard Wayne
Arnold and junior transfer forward Damien Wilkins have given Coach Jim Harrick more depth.
Dean confirmed Tuesday that playing time was an issue.

"I've been thinking about (transferring) for some time now,'' Dean told the Rome News-Tribune. "I just wasn't comfortable at all. I want to go somewhere I can play more and play my game.''

As a freshman, Dean was asked to spend time at point guard, though he is a natural shooting guard. This year Arnold has arrived as another shooting guard with the ability to play behind starter Rashad Wright at point guard.

Though his average of 10.3 minutes per game is an increase from last season, Dean had struggled as a shooter. He ranks only eighth on the team in scoring at 2.8 points per game, and he has made only 25.3 percent of his field goal attempts.

Dean scored a career-high nine points in a win over Arkansas last year, when he played in 23 games and averaged 1.8 points.

"Mike Dean has been an asset to our program in his time here,'' Harrick said. "I certainly want to wish him great success in his future academic and athletic career.''

Dean, back in Rome Tuesday, will return to school to finish his fall final examinations. Then he will follow through with his transfer. Dean said he is considering three schools, which he did not name.

"Right now I'm planning on taking a couple of visits to some schools to see what the right place for me is,'' Dean said. "I don't want to make a quick decision.''

As a senior at Coosa High in Rome, Dean averaged 31.3 points and six assists. Coosa reached the Georgia High School Association Class AA Final Four and Elite Eight in Dean's last two seasons.

The loss of Dean hurts the backcourt depth for Georgia (3-3), but the Bulldogs hope starting forward Steve Thomas regains his academic eligibility in the next week.

Thomas can't return in time for the team's game against Gonzaga Sunday in Atlanta, but if he meets his academic standards for fall semester he could be back in practice next Tuesday or Wednesday.


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