Donte' Williams said he passed multiple drug tests after an incident in late May.
“I know everybody is aware of the incident that took place May 25th,” Williams told reporters. “First I want to apologize for bringing negative attention to the university, towards my team, towards my family. But I wanted the truth to be known. I don’t do drugs. Soon after the incident, I took a drug test, passed my drug test. I came up here and took a drug test, passed my drug test. I took another drug test in court, and passed that drug test. The case has been dismissed. Since then, I have moved on. I’m focused on playing basketball and focused on school and getting ready for the season.”
Williams did not field questions from reporters after making the statement, which was applauded by Fox.
“In this country, you’re innocent until you’re proven guilty,” Fox said. “But oftentimes as an athlete, you’re guilty until you prove your innocence. I think Donte’ has learned a valuable lesson in who his friends should be. He was able to share with you some things that I would not be able to, but I think he’s learned a great lesson, and I’m happy he’s been able to show his innocence.”
Fox declined to say if Williams would be suspended or not for the incident, saying “Putting himself in wrong place, wrong time, wrong people, I’ll deal with all that. But I won’t deal with any of that until later.”
Any potential punishment will likely be up to Fox to implement. If the charge was indeed dismissed, it’s unlikely that UGA athletics’ policy on arrests requiring suspension would be made to apply here.
“I don’t know. I think I’ll weigh that out,” Fox said. “The important thing was for him, really, when he’s trying to get a job and he’s 30 years old and people Google his name, I want the truth to be known. I’m not mad at anyone for reporting what they had to report. I mean, that’s your jobs. But the accuracy of what someone tells you may not be right. I think it’s important that be stated.”
Headed to Italy
Georgia’s basketball team heads out Friday for Italy, a trip that will include sight-seeing and three exhibition games against European teams next week.
Marcus Thornton will accompany Georgia's team to Europe but won't play in games while recovering from offseason knee surgery.
“We’ll see the leaning tower of Pisa,” Fox said. “We’ll be able to visit Venice the canals in Venice. We’ll go to the Vatican. I don’t think we’ll get to see the Pope, but it’ll be a great trip. We’ll see the statue of David in Florence. It’s not like we’re going to do a lot of things that a typical teenager would choose to do, but I think it will be a real fun experience for them.”
Among the cities the team will visit: Milan, Rome, Vatican City, Florence, Venice, Pisa, Bellagio, Mestre and Cortona (where the Dogs will visit and practice at UGA’s campus).
Georgia will face Vicenza All-Star at Monday (2 p.m. Eastern), a Lithuanian team called Atletas Kaunas on Wednesday (1:30 p.m. Eastern) and a team called All-Star Italy on Saturday (1 p.m. Eastern). Fox will serve as an assistant during the games, and each of the three assistants on his staff will take turns as head coaches.
Basketball programs are allowed by NCAA rules to schedule a special trip every four years outside the normal times of practice. Such a trip also includes 10 on-campus practices, and the Bulldogs are well into that period right now.
“What we’ve seen so that is we have a much deeper team,” Fox said. “We’re a more physical team. We’re a more athletic team. I’ve enjoyed the progress of the returning players and been excited about the new guys.”
Thornton on the mend
Junior forward Marcus Thornton will travel to Europe but won’t participate in games while recovering from offseason knee surgery to repair a partially torn patella tendon.
Thornton, who says he played all of last season with the injury, says he is on schedule to be able to join teammates for preseason practice in October.
Nemanja Djurisic is a native of Montenegro, which is not far from Italy.
“I’m getting there, slow and steady,” Thornton said. “Those are the words to describe it, but it’s definitely coming along. There’s more and more I can do each week. … One of the things people never really realize is that ever since I’ve been here there hasn’t really been a time where I was 100 percent or really even close in terms of last year. So it would be nice to finally be able to start a season and hopefully play all the way through a season healthy.”
One of the Georgia players most excited about the Italy trip is sophomore Nemanja Djurisic, a native of Montenegro who grew up about a 13-hour drive from Italy.
Because of this, he’ll get a chance to visit during the trip with family, who may be able to catch the Bulldogs’ first game of the tour.
“I’m very excited,” Djurisic said. “I can teach (teammates) some European stuff.”
Djurisic remained in Athens this summer despite having the opportunity to play for Montenegro in the European Under-20 basketball championships.
“With all this happening, our trip to Italy, I chose to stay here and practice and get better this summer,” Djurisic said. “It was a little bit tough, because I was on the national team for four years, and the past two years since I’ve come here, I’ve made a little break. It was a little bit tough, but I think it was good decision.”
New role for KCP?
Leading returning scorer Kentavious Caldwell-Pope is expected to play some point guard in Europe, Fox said, though that doesn’t mean he’ll be there during the season.
“We are playing Kentavious some at the 1 with Charles Mann and Vincent Williams,” Fox said. “So we’ve got a third point guard there. I think it’s great experience for Kentavious, not that he’ll play much there all next year, but I think it’s a great experience in his development to play some point.”
Fox has said Caldwell-Pope is moving from the No. 3 small forward role to No. 2 guard this season, meaning Sherrard Brantley, Thornton and freshman Brandon Morris will get a look at starting as the No. 3.
In addition, Fox said each of his freshmen will play only one position this season, with Charles Mann focusing on point guard, Kenny Gaines at shooting guard and Morris as the small forward. A fourth freshman, Houston Kessler, is expected to redshirt.