Tom Crean is going through the process of rebuilding the men’s basketball program with a singular purpose in mind. He is not building to be competitive, but to win the SEC.
“I think that for us, it has got to be what we have done in the past. I think if this was my first job it would be a lot harder, but what we did at Marquette and what we did at Indiana, and what we did with success, what we did with players being able to make it and move forward and have great careers. I think that stuff is really important. You can point to the All-Star game, right now there are three coaches that have two all-stars each, John Calipari has two and Rick Barnes has two and we’ve got two. Our two had four scholarship offers between the two of them. It’s not, it’s all about improvement, it’s about opportunity. Here, when they get in the games, which has been more so certainly since December and into January, obviously, they are getting to see what we are talking about with the crowds. They are getting to see the excitement of it and that people are here. So, whatever they are hearing on the outside or whatever they thought it was or whatever other schools might be telling them about, ‘Can you do it there? Are they going to win? Are people going to care?’ They see a different thing. I have always said I just assume people see us practice so they can see where the improvement is going to be rather than the game but they have to see the games. Right? A lot of times that is how the schedule works out for them, but they have to see the games. They have to see the excitement of the games and I think people are seeing that. We are just continuing to stay steadfast on what we think we are building and I think that’s, that’s a jump. I’ve also said to these guys the whole way through, the last thing we need to do is rush anything in recruiting. We are trying to win the league. We’re not trying to recruit to get into the race. We are trying to recruit to win the league. Are we in it right now? No we’re not, but we are trying to recruit to that and build to that, and it’s not about rushing it’s not about grabbing someone just to grab someone. It’s about what is really going to fit here, what is really going to make a difference here, especially when we want to play the way we want to play, and what is expected here academically off the whole thing. We are working very hard at that. Recruiting is a huge part every day, it’s a huge part of our league. There are conversations throughout the day on that. It is always moving. It is always fluid, and I think it goes back to the first question, if there is not energy on what we are doing then why would we expect a recruit to have energy.”
Tom Crean press conference – February 05, 2019
“We want to get players that are really going to fit at what we are really trying to do here. This is what I would say about recruiting in general with this play. There is so much here. I know I am telling you guys something that you already know and have known for a long time, there is so much here. There is so much opportunity here in the program, at the school, life after basketball here. That is what we are telling everybody, there is. I think more that people get a chance to come and see it the better it is, that starts to speak for itself. Again, do we have to show people what we’ve done and it’s not here just yet, absolutely. We knew that coming in. We’ve been doing that from the beginning, but we are also able to show some real improvement in here even though the record isn’t reflective in it, but it will. It will.”
As Crean was talking about his recruiting goals, Corey Evans of Rivals posted these words about the Crean’s number one target:
Edwards will take an official visit this weekend to Florida State, the program that many within the industry believe that he will end up at. This can definitely be the case and I am not going to be the one to bet against Leonard Hamilton with a prospect that he is in hard pursuit of, yet I am going to select the in-state program.
Georgia has the most momentum in the race with Edwards and while defeating FSU will be difficult, as will Kentucky, the Bulldogs have the chance to build their entire team around Edwards next season. Plus, I found it a bit intriguing that, whenever I spoke with Edwards last month, he said that he studied the games of Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo, two standout guards that each played for Tom Crean during their respective college days. Throw in that Crean hired two respected assistants that hail from the Peach State with strong connections throughout and I will have to side with the Bulldogs when it comes to Edwards revealing his commitment next Monday morning, despite the timing looking a bit off if it were to be Georgia.
Twitter Tuesday: Jalen Johnson, Anthony Edwards, Syracuse and more by Corey Evans