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Horne explains transfer to UGA

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has affected athletes and their families in many different ways.

Former Virginia Tech starter P.J. Horne can certainly empathize.

Georgia added the Tifton native as a graduate transfer Wednesday. In a telephone interview with UGASports, Horne said the virus' effect on his family was the big reason why.

"Yeah, with this pandemic going on, I was just wanting to get closer to home," Horne said in a telephone interview with UGASports. "I just wanted to be closer to my family, be able to have them closer and able to come to games."

It's certainly understandable why.

According to Horne, an aunt died from the coronavirus and several other relatives have also been affected.

At least now, they'll be able to come see him play.

"I can go out of the house right now and see a Georgia flag," Horne said. "It's very new to be around such a big community of people that's all together, trying to head in one direction."

Virginia Tech head coach Mike Young said there were no hard feelings.

“Transferring was what he felt was best for him,” Young told the Roanoke Times. “I don’t think it had anything to do with him being unhappy at Virginia Tech. His experience at Virginia Tech was by all accounts a very positive one. His reasons for leaving, those are conversations that we had and will stay here.”

The 6-foot-6, 225-pound Horne averaged 7.6 points and 4.2 rebounds while starting in 30 of the 32 games he played for the Hokies, who finished 16-16. He shot 34.9 percent from three-point range (45 of 129).

Horne only placed his name in the NCAA’s transfer portal two days ago. Bulldog assistant Chad Dollar, whom Horne has known since high school, was the first to reach out.

"I was pretty wide open; I didn't know where I was going," Horne said. "I just knew I wanted to get closer to home."

Horne will graduate from Tech in July with a bachelor’s degree in sociology at the end of the summer, after just three years of college.

"I have a couple more classes to take, and after that, I'll have my undergrad degree," Horne said. "I should be done in July."

At this time, it’s unclear how head coach Tom Crean will fit him in.

Horne joins a new cast that also includes grad transfers Andrew Garcia and Justin Kier, along with JUCO transfer Ty McMillan out of Kilgore Community College. McMillan has not been announced by the school as having signed.

The quartet joins early signees K.D. Johnson, Jonathan Ned, Mikal Starks and Josh Taylor, which would give the Bulldogs eight scholarship newcomers. With graduation and attrition from last year’s team, the Bulldogs only have seven scholarships to give.

No other current Bulldog player at this point have their name in the NCAA transfer portal. But based on current numbers, somebody will apparently have to go to make room.

Horne will certainly be a welcome addition.

Despite being just 6-6, Horne actually started at center for Virginia Tech, blocking 21 shots, which would have led the entire Bulldog team last year.

He scored in double-figures in five of the Hokies’ ACC games, including a 15-point effort in a home loss to Duke, 18 points in a win over Pittsburgh and 17 in a victory over Clemson.

P.J. Horne (14) is transferring from Virginia Tech to Georgia.
P.J. Horne (14) is transferring from Virginia Tech to Georgia. (USA Today)