MBB: Tom Crean – Georgia vs. Alabama Press Conference – Friday, February 7, 2020

Home >

MBB: Tom Crean – Georgia vs. Alabama Press Conference – Friday, February 7, 2020

UGA men’s basketball head coach Tom Crean

On Friday afternoon, UGA men’s basketball head coach Tom Crean talked about the Dawgs upcoming game versus Alabama and the team’s recent struggles in the second half of games in their losses to Missouri and Florida

On having over a 20-point lead in the last three games and twice losing what lessons can be learned…

“We got up. We showed that we could get in those situations we just got to do a better job of closing and what happens is it comes down really on the ball defense more than anything else. They certainly miss shots in those situations, and you don’t get maybe the shot that you’d want or the offensive rebound. Not as much the other day, when we came back we missed a couple layups in an open three, and we didn’t get the shots to go down on that run that they were on, but really it comes down to defense—and that’s what we have to get better at. We’ve got to guard the ball, whether it’s a switching situation, man zone, whatever it is. We have to do a much better job of guarding the ball and keep it out of the paint, the way that it’s getting in there.”

On why he called the timeout against Florida with 9:30 minutes left to play…

“We just have to do a better job defensively. I think I called a couple of timeouts in the run, and we just never got up and guarded. We made some mistakes when we went to the zone, right, we just we just were not—You have to have a defensive intent like it’s the hands up, it’s the feet down, basically like you’re not sticking your feet in the ground and planting them because now you’re really in trouble, but it’s almost like a mindset like, ‘We’re going to get this stop.’ Especially when they’re trying to play one-on-one like they were, and we just gave them way too much comfort. Like I said to our team and like I said after the game when it started—especially with a with a younger team, where there’s not that level of. ‘Okay, here’s the couple of guys will make sure this gets done right./ We’re going to talk it out, we’re going to get this thing stopped, and it came just got quiet, and then that’s the frustrating part of it because it can’t get like that. Right? People are going to make plays and are going to make runs. I thought our huddles were good, but I didn’t think we carried it out to the court, the way that it needed to be so that’s where we weren’t as good, and we just gave them way too much confidence, driving the ball and shooting the ball in those runs. The same thing happened in Missouri, but bottom line and the other night, we came back, and it would have been very easy, the way that crowd was to fold the tents and nobody did that. There’s a positive. It didn’t turn into a win, but that’s a positive to build on with this group because we made plays. We just didn’t make enough of them go in the basket at the end. It was a one possession, two possession game there for a while for us—that’s what we just have to have things go our way a little bit more next time we are in that situation.”

On the communication on offense and defensive and how that has affected the outcomes of games this season…

“I think it’s a lot of it sometimes is when it’s when they’re away from the bench. You have to come up and you’ve got to be together, constantly. You’re calling the coverages. They’re hearing me, maybe. Okay? It’s a lot easier to hear it in the first half that that’s where that level of leadership has got to be that we’re just going to get stopped. Like I said to them, you empower each other by the way you talk to each other on the floor. It’s not just calling on the screen or call on switch it’s the encouragement that goes into it. It’s talking down the floor and that’s what we have to have. We have to grow into that. It’s been a weakness all year. I think it’s a weakness in a lot of teams, and like I tell this team all the time, the team that figures these weaknesses out that a lot of teams are the ones that are going to have a good month, and we’ve got to be able to figure that out. We have half our league games left. It’s right there for us to do something about because it comes down to awareness, but it also just comes down to like I said power your teammate, and helping them out, and there’s a confidence that comes from that. Rather than getting isolated and getting paralyzed by trying to do your own job. It doesn’t work that way. You have to really be able to bring it to your teammate bring it for your teammate in that situation.”

On if they are all waiting to get the vocal leader on the court they need…

“I don’t know if we’re going to get that. It’s got to be a team, it’s got to be a team effort. Right, it’s got to be a team effort. Sahvir [Wheeler] is the one that’s up front guarding the ball. It’s going to get harder and harder or harder for it to come from him. It’s got to come from the others behind him—I don’t think we’re a team that just has one or two guys that are leading the way on this, and you’d like it to be that way but it’s not. It’s got to come from the people that are on the floor, and that doesn’t excuse our stain anybody from having that responsibility, but you have to have a couple people that make it easier for everybody else, and that’s what we’re missing a little bit right now.”

On what has kept the team from doing as well in the second half as it does in the first…

“Florida went 1-3-1, and we got a dunk right away. [Florida] went to the 3-2, and what we wanted to do was play to the middle. We eventually got Sahvir [Wheeler] to the middle of the floor. We made some mistakes cutting. We missed a couple of shots…I think the bottom line— when a team switches into a zone and you’re cutting movement offense, like we are for the most part— you can’t stop doing that. The calls and a lot of situations were, ‘Okay, we’re going to run more of our man stuff. We’re going to run more of our chin action— things like that. You’ve got to keep cutting, and you can’t let the zone stop you from doing that. If it’s a screen offense, set the screen. In most situations, there are going to be screens and cuts, and I think that’s what hurt us a little bit. It’s an area that you start with getting the ball in the middle- ‘Let’s attack,’ or you start with the ball screen and say, ‘Let’s attack from there.’ Again, it’s not about standing and waiting for the balls. It’s to continue to cut and move the defense because it’s the same guys that were just guarding you man-to-man, they were just standing in one spot. That should free up even more of an opportunity for those cuts, but our best passer was in the middle of the floor because we thought he could operate from that area better, and in turn, we didn’t get the cuts that needed to have.”

On what the key is with the matchup against Alabama this weekend…
“They’re so fast and can shoot the three so quick…With the exception of just a couple of guys, everybody they put on the floor can make threes and make threes from deep. Again, our ball screen defense, our one-on-one defense [will be key]. They’re looking for matchups every chance they get. They’re looking for what they feel is the mismatch every chance they get, and we have to do a great job of bearing down and guarding the ball. Not being over helps because they do such a great job of kicking the ball. They make a lot of threes, they take a lot of threes, they get a lot of long offensive rebounds…[Alabama] is putting numerous players on the floor who can play. [Kira Lewis, Jr.] is so fast— I’m not sure there is anyone faster in the nation, and it was that way last year. He’s older now and does a phenomenal job. Nate [?] does a really good job of looking for that matchup that he wants. We’ve got to do a really good job of not only guarding the ball, but not putting ourselves in a situation where we’re chasing the ball, because that’s what they want. They want you to chase that ball so they can make the next pass for a three and then send some of those guards to get offensive rebounds. We have to control the ball as much as we possibly can.”

On whether the zone affected Anthony Edwards’ second-half performance…
“A little bit. We put [Anthony] in the middle for a minute there, and then we wanted to get him back out onto the perimeter. We put him in the middle, and he looked to pass the ball rather than score. When you put a guy in the middle and if you have a chance to score the ball, let’s do it. Let’s attack and go. I don’t think he cut as much. He and his offense is a product of the other guys cutting, as well. When you have five guys moving, which we have to have to be successful, that’s where a lot of his points come from. He may get it off a matchup. He may get it off a one-on-one, but he’s getting it because everybody else is in movement. After watching the film, that’s the biggest thing. Then [Florida] just continued to be on the attack, and that’s where we weren’t getting any stops. Another big part of it for him and for our whole team is transition when they’re scoring. When they’re scoring, now we’re coming down against the set defense. In the first half, [Florida wasn’t] scoring as much, so we weren’t going against the set defense as much, and then you get them in rotation. Because they were able to score and set that zone, it hurt us.”

On whether he and the coaches try to think about ways they can help the players, outside the Xs and Os…
“Yeah, not just in those games but every day. [There’s] no question about it. There’s no one size fits all right now for any individual player now for anyone team. You have to keep looking for those different ways, whether it’s how you practice, whether it’s the meetings that you have. That’s constant. That’s ongoing, and a lot of times it’s very natural. I’ll grab somebody, somebody else may grab the same kid, and then maybe we’ll talk about what we talked about, maybe we won’t. There’s a trust level there. Sometimes it’ll be, ‘Hey, we need to get with so and so to make sure he’s locked in on this moment and doesn’t lose confidence.’ I think with a younger team, you’re trying to tell the truth, but at the same time you don’t want them losing confidence because they don’t know that it’s a long season. We’re halfway there. This is the halfway point right now, and I think that’s the kind of stuff that you just have to keep getting across to your team. It’s a very long game, and it’s a very long season. I do like the way they were talking the other night in the huddle…We weren’t getting down, and that’s a huge part of growth. We just have to keep working on that and attacking what we see as issues of concern every day but also attack what we see as a strength, and keep helping that get better.”

On Rayshaun Hammonds’ rebounding performance/how he can improve…
“He just has to go a little bit harder. He just has to go at it. He’s got to be more aggressive. It’s got to be in his first two steps. He has to escape the blockout a little better…You have  to get to the glass when you rebound like that, so that becomes something that he just has to be more aggressive in those areas.”

share content