Stukes, the Bulldogs’ senior guard, was suspended from Wednesday’s 82-70 loss to Kentucky after he was involved in a verbal altercation with a member of the team’s strength staff.
Head coach Dennis Felton decided Thursday to allow Stukes to return for Saturday’s 4 p.m. game against Tennessee, Georgia’s final regular season game. Stukes seemed unfazed by the news that he would be playing and still had questions about why he didn’t make the trip to Lexington, Ky.
“I didn’t have no reaction,” he said of the initial suspension. “I was kind of disappointed, but there’s nothing I can really do about it. I really couldn’t say at this point who was right and who was wrong. I just felt like I let my team down. A lot of stuff happens in basketball and in this program. Sometimes, I feel like we don’t get the (benefit of the doubt) when you get punished, but it’s not my call. It’s Coach Felton’s call.”
Felton declined to comment on Stukes’ attitude about the suspension.
“Look at it this way, this is happening now at this point, after four years,” Felton said. “Obviously, there is a lack of understanding for it to happen in the first place. Most seniors around the country right now are leading their teams. You don’t have to worry about them doing what they’re supposed to do.”
Saturday is Senior Day for the Bulldogs. Stukes and forward Steve Newman will be recognized before the Volunteers (21-9, 9-6 SEC) and Bulldogs (17-11, 8-7) play. Stukes, Georgia’s career leader in 3-point shooting, is second on the team with 12.3 points per game.
“I’m just going to go out Saturday and show everybody that I am sorry,” Stukes said, “and hopefully get this win we do need.”
Stukes described his argument with the support staff member as “a misunderstanding.” It came after Stukes missed a mandatory weight-lifting session.
“There wasn’t too much said or done,” he said. “Things were said. Things were did, and the outcome was this."