ATHENS (AP) - The Georgia men's basketball team will open next season without three players, including its two top scorers from last season, as the result of suspensions announced today by coach Dennis Felton.
Guard Mike Mercer has been suspended 15 games, forward Takais Brown has been suspended nine games and center Albert Jackson will have to miss six games. The three have been disciplined for undisclosed violations of Georgia athletic association policy.
The suspensions loom as significant setbacks to Georgia's hopes of contending for a spot in the NCAA tournament.
Mercer, a junior, missed the last 10 games of the 2006-07 season with a knee injury, and his lengthy suspension will begin after he has medical clearance to play.
Georgia opens practice tomorrow. The suspensions of Brown and Jackson will begin with the Bulldogs' exhibition game against Clayton State on November 2nd.
Georgia finished 19-and-14 overall and 8-and-8 in the Southeastern Conference last season but was only 3-and-5 after losing Mercer to his injury. Georgia lost in the Sweet 16 of the NIT.
Mercer ranked second on the team with his average of 13.7 points in 23 starts.
The 6-foot-8 Brown was Georgia's most productive inside scorer in recent years, leading the team with his average of 14.2 points. He also led the team by making 56.6 percent of his shots while averaging 5.6 rebounds.
Jackson (6-10) averaged 2.2 points as a freshman.