Georgia Southern junior forward Kameron Dunnican has left the team and will look to transfer. Dunnican left the team before a 75-73 overtime loss to Campbell on Saturday.
“We wish Kam the best,” first-year GSU coach Mark Byington said Monday. “He’s been a great person, he’s been a great teammate and he’s going to finish academically the right way. We just didn’t have the playing opportunity for him.
“One of the hardest things about being a head coach is, you want everyone to be happy. Hopefully he can find happiness somewhere else.”
At the forward position, GSU just got smaller. At 6-foot-8, Dunnican was the tallest player in the paint for the Eagles, who will look for more contributions from Sam Mike (senior, 6-foot-7), Angel Matias (junior, 6-foot-4), Marvin Baynham (senior, 6-foot-7) and Kyle Doyle (freshman, 6-foot-6).
“We’re undersized and we’ve been that way. Losing our tallest guy doesn’t help that,” Byington said. “But the other guys will relish the opportunity. I want to play Marvin more, I want to play Sam more, and that gives us an opportunity, but we lack depth.”
The Eagles have also been without point guard Brian Holmes since Nov. 23, when he suffered a wrist injury against Old Dominion. His return is still unknown.
“We’ve kind of guessed a couple of times on when he’d be back, and we guessed wrong,” Byington said. “It’s a long season, and we’ll make sure we take our time in getting him back. He’s a very, very important part of our team. I feel like he’s our calmness out there, and he’s probably our smartest player with the ball.”
Without Holmes, the Eagles (3-5) have relied on junior college transfer Curtis Diamond at the point, and more recently, Jelani Hewitt, the team’s leading scorer.
“Jelani is probably not only our best scorer, but also our best distributor,” Byington said.
Hewitt is the top scorer in the Southern Conference averaging 24.5 points per game. He scored a career-high 38 against Campbell, while also grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing three assists.
Depth has been an issue with a guard rotation of only Hewitt, Diamond and Tre Bussey (21.1 points per game), with a few additional minutes going to freshman Torlof Thomas.
“We miss (Holmes) dearly. We do,” Byington said. “We would have liked to have had him these last four games, and we feel like the results may have been different. But we’ll take our time and when he comes back, he’ll be 100 percent and hopefully he’s ready to roll.”
The Eagles have dropped three of four since losing Holmes at Old Dominion.
They return to action on Wednesday against Brewton-Parker at 7 p.m., on Wednesday.
“We’ve got to figure out how to come back and play good basketball, continue on the climb to get better,” Byington said. “We need to try and stay healthy, and try to have a good swing heading into the exam break.”
Matt Yogus may be reached at (912) 489-4908.