georgia shooting guard Jaxon Etter spent the past three seasons as a walk-on, and after entering the transfer portal this offseason he decided to return for another season in Athens. Etter bet on himself in coming back to Georgia for another season, and it turns out that confidence has finally led to a scholarship opportunity.
Georgia head coach Mike White told reporters Thursday that Etter is officially on scholarship, with Etter later saying he found out about his scholarship two weeks ago. The news was worthwhile for the 6-foot-4, 205-pound Etter, who explained he had no idea what was coming when White told him the news.
“It was just like a normal day. We had practice, and then Coach said something along the lines of, ‘Hey, we’re going to meet in the film room.’ And this was, like, right before our first game, so I was thinking nothing really of it. Let’s just have a team goals type of meeting,” Etter said. “He started off saying, ‘Let’s start with the returners, and what’s your goal coming into this year?’ We each said our own thing, and then I gave, you know, something about the fact that playing for Georgia was my dream.’ He said, ‘Alright, let’s do it. You’re on scholarship.’”
Etter explained as sweet as the news was to hear, it was his teammates’ reactions that have really stuck with him since.
“The way my teammates just mobbed me afterwards, it was one of the coolest experiences I’ve ever had,” Etter said. “I’ve dreamed about that happening for the last 2-3 years. The way it happened, I can’t fathom it any other way.”
Etter might have been a walk-on in the Georgia program, but the Woodstock native contributed a great deal for the Bulldogs during that part of his career.
Etter stepped up as a starter for Georgia last season and was a consistent contributor for the Bulldogs. He played in 31 games and started 22 contests and ended the season averaging 5.1 points and 2.9 rebounds per contest while shooting 43 percent from the field.
Etter posted a career-high 16 points against Vanderbilt on Jan. 15 during a game in which he shot 5-of-8 from the field, including 4-of-5 from 3-point range. Etter was effective as a defender, especially when it came to drawing charges. He drew 30 offensive fouls in 31 games and had three games where he drew three charges.
Through three games this season, Etter has averaged 14.0 minutes a game and has scored 9 total points on 50% shooting from the field with 4 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 assists. He has also continued with his propensity to draw charges just as he did during the 2021-22 campaign.
Georgia had two open scholarships remaining after its flurry of additions this offseason, and White had been asked about Etter’s status back in October. As White explained on Thursday, Etter is now a scholarship player in the SEC because he’s earned it.
“I love him. I love all of our guys, but Jaxon is as accountable a player as I’ve ever coached. If you asked him to try to run through the wall, he would try to run through the wall for Georgia basketball and for his teammates,” White said. [by the scholarship news]. His teammates were even happier for him, which made a staff ecstatic because everyone in the room knows the value that he brings to our program in so many different ways.
“I know exactly what he’s going to do out there this afternoon: he’s going to block out, he’s going to close out, he’s going to talk, he cares, he’s going to cut hard. He’s going to be successful. He’s a big part of what we’re doing. After a couple months of practice, he was an absolute no-brainer that he’s earned a scholarship.”
Etter said the scholarship offered a real relief for himself and his family, and he explained he wouldn’t have been able to return to Georgia this season without NIL opportunities he has gotten. With his status as a scholarship player now established, Etter is focusing on the next task at hand, which will be a 7 pm matchup against Bucknell on Friday night.
“The Patriot League was kind of the league that somewhat recruited me out of high school, so I feel like I fit well within the Patriot League-style. Bucknell’s a good team,” Etter said. “They know how to spread the court while also playing two 7-footers. And so, that’s something that’s going to be a big test for us. You know, we’re going to have to have [KyeRon Lindsay]MY [Moncrieffe] handle some 7-footers, and I think it’ll be a true test for what the SEC is going to look like.
“Then they’ve got shooters that can spread the floor and make shots from anywhere. So it’s going to be a good test for us, and hopefully we stand up to it.”