Thanks to the presence of three former all-Southern Conference players on its roster, Georgia Southern had high hopes of challenging for the league title in its debut season in the Sun Belt Conference.
The chances of that happening took a major hit Monday when the school announced that one member of that trio may never don an Eagles jersey again.
Georgia Southern athletic director Tom Kleinlein told the Savannah Morning News that star forward Eric Ferguson has been suspended indefinitely as a result of drug-related arrest. Ferguson and former teammate Brian Holmes were arrested June 26 for possession of marijuana with intent to distribute, possession of Schedule II and Schedule III drugs (prescription pills), possession of a firearm and possession/use of a drug-related object.
Kleinlein waited until Monday to reveal Ferguson's suspension because he had been on vacation and wanted to meet with the 6-foot-8 senior in person. Ferguson will be allowed to keep taking classes at Georgia Southern, but Kleinlein will wait until the legal process plays out before discussing Ferguson's chances of being reinstated to the basketball team before or during the season.
"For now, I can’t have him part of our program," Kleinlein told the Savannah Morning News. "That’s what happens when you make poor decisions.”
The loss of Ferguson would deprive Georgia Southern of a three-year starter who sat out all of last season with a back injury but has averaged at least 12 points per game each year he has played for the Eagles. Ferguson's best season came as a sophomore when he averaged 15.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game.
If Ferguson is unavailable all season, Georgia Southern will have to rely on College of Charleston transfer forward Trent Wiedeman and point guard Jelani Hewitt to carry the offense. Wiedeman, a 6-foot-8 senior, averaged 12.1 points a game and 8.7 rebounds in his final season at Charleston, while Hewitt averaged 19.4 points a game for Georgia Southern this past season.
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