UGA MBB VIDEO: Tom Crean Georgia vs. Auburn Presser, Friday, January 10, 2020

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UGA MBB VIDEO: Tom Crean Georgia vs. Auburn Presser, Friday, January 10, 2020

UGA men's basketball head coach Tom Crean during the Georgia vs. Auburn pregame press conference on Friday, January 10, 2020
UGA men’s basketball head coach Tom Crean during the Georgia vs. Auburn pregame press conference on Friday, January 10, 2020

In a Friday presser, UGA men’s basketball head coach Tom Crean discusses the Bulldogs upcoming road game versus Auburn which has been moved to a Noontime tipoff on Saturday, January 11th.

On adapting to game time change…

“Oh definitely—but I mean you adjust, so we’ll just go a little bit shorter today. We’ll try to leave a little bit earlier today. We’ll try to do things a little bit earlier at the hotel tonight. It certainly cuts into your day-of-the-game walkthrough. We weren’t going to be able to use their arena tonight anyways because I believe they have a gymnastics meet. We [had] planned to practice here anyway so I’ll just condense everything down a little bit, and do the best we can with it. We had that we had an inkling last night that there was a potential this could happen. It wasn’t like it caught us by surprise in the SEC, Auburn, and Bruce Pearl actually with me—have kept in touch today so we’re able to adjust in that will keep everything as scheduled as we can. Right now.”

On this being “advantageous” for his team…

“I don’t know—I have no idea. I don’t even look at it like guys look at it like that’s the hand that’s dealt right now, and it’s been it certainly makes a lot of sense because if something were to go wrong there weather-wise, that building needs to be utilized the way that it needs to be. I get it completely so I don’t look at it as any advantage, disadvantage I look at it as it is what it is, and let’s do the best we can with it.”

On Auburn being a “hot” team right now and positive feedback to their success…

“They’ve got a huge advantage. [Bruce Pearl] actually been there a lot longer than I’ve been here. So, do the math, he’s had a chance to really build it—the way that he wants to build it, and I give him great credit for that. He’s an outstanding coach, and a great leader. He’s built a fantastic team, that’s the way it is. If we had both been in the same job, the same time maybe a different story but bottom line is they’re really, really good. They’re one of the key teams in the league. You look at them and they really don’t take plays off because all hard they play every possession their defense is even better than was a year ago, their offensive rebounding is as good as any in the country—forget league, it’s as good as anybody in the country, because of the relentlessness that they come with every possession with three or four guys. Every possession you have to be able to deal with that, and there’s a lot of great rebounding teams in this league. They’re just as good as anybody in the nation so there’s that, there’s transition they turn you over. They certainly are still making a lot of 3s. I think they’re still making eight a game, but the bottom line is they’re getting to the rim, they’re driving to create contact and get fouled, much like Kentucky does. There’s a lot of things that they do that are really, really good that we’ve got to deal with.”

On this three-game slate (Memphis, Kentucky and Auburn) and what he expected/prepared for…

“I don’t look—I never really looked at it like that—you see the schedule come out and you see those games, right, better me pretty quick you can’t think like that. I caught myself doing that the other day. If you start thinking like that it messes with you. You’ve really got to look at it each day, you know one game at a time for this whole deal. Is the preparation similar? In some cases because of how good the teams are hypothetically, or how well they rebound, how well people drive it, the length and versatility, defensively, that all these teams have. They have bigs that can really make plays. Austin Wiley, [Anfernee] Mclemore, Isaac Okoro is playing fantastic. We can go right on down the line with their team. Those kind of things are similar, but every game is different and you’ve got to find a way to give your team what they have to have to compete in the game, but at the end of the day, it is just that—you have to compete right. Everything falls under the umbrella of competing and playing with intelligence and, and playing fearless but not reckless. Everything we can do to get to that point is what we’re trying to work to on.

On the Memphis being a good road-test…

“I hope so. [At Arizona State] we learned a lot from that—we didn’t play very well.  I hope so this will be a fantastic atmosphere, and he’s done an incredible job with the atmosphere there. Their atmosphere last year was as good as any we were in. It’s a matter of just coming out and getting under control. I tell the team, ‘ Who wakes up first, lot of times it’s going to have an edge in those early morning games, and we’ve got to do a really good job of coming out there prepared, ready to go, a lot of energy, and not give them a lot of live-ball turnovers.’ They feast on runs. They feast on them, and most teams do, but they really do.  We’ve got to make sure that we’re not giving them those type of runs.”

On Jordan Harris’ progress since coming back from suspension…

“The first couple games back I thought you did a really good job of just inserting himself, and be a part of the equation, right? Then maybe we got away with trying to try to do a little bit too much and you have to work your way back in. What he’s got to be as a tremendous defender. He’s got to be on the glass. You saw the other night with the driving—I thought he did a better job the other night, but again, when you get overly anxious you start trying to hit a home run plays, and that’s not the kind of team we have, that’s not the kind of player that he is. We need him to be the explosive athlete that he is. We need him to be the score defender rebounder that he can be, but most importantly be a face of stability out there for the team, especially with as many young guys as he’s playing with.”

On how a coach builds a relentless team…

“You just keep building it. You recruit to it. You try to practice to it. You have to have high-level competitors. It’s harder with youth—there’s no question about that because they don’t know what [relentless] means. They’ve heard that term in the past, but it’s a lot different than when you’re at this level. Really, relentlessness comes after resilience comes. You’ve got to have resilience, and resilience comes from some consistency. You start to become more consistent, and then all of a sudden there’s resiliency. You’re able to bounce back, and you’re not able to let little things bother you. You’re not able to let the last shot knock you out of the next few minutes. Those are the kind of things that build a relentlessness in people, that when that ball goes up on the glass, you’re going to get it or, if it’s time to get back in transition, you do. We haven’t had enough guys separate themselves as elite-level rebounders yet to put the pressure on everybody else. That’s what we need now. We need to develop that, and we need to continue to develop the guys that really are going to get high-quality minutes. This season, as it continues, those players are the ones that do develop that — that level of going to the glass, that tenacity defensively, that ability to move without the ball, that ability to make a play for somebody else and not let things affect them. Our youth is being served up a little bit on the glass. There’s times we’re good; there’s times we’re not so good. A lot of that is the physicality. I don’t mean you just because we’re young. This is an old team we’re playing tomorrow. They are an older team, and they’ve been through it,. They’ve rebounded the ball at the Final Four level, so they know what that is like. We don’t know what that is yet, but you have to keep developing it every day, and we definitely work to do that.”

On Rayshaun Hammonds’ migraine prior to the Kentucky game/whether he’d had this happen before a game previously…

“We might have had that happen in the preseason, but we hadn’t had it during the season. There’s no question— that set him back. He didn’t practice but about 10 minutes on Monday, so there’s no question that set us back, and it set him back a little bit. He’s a rhythm guy, and he needs that rhythm. We’ll pick and choose places where I want to get him out of practice at times, to get him some rest. When you miss a day like that because you’re dealing with something like that, it’s hard. It’s hard for him because he doesn’t feel as good, and it’s hard to bounce back from that. There’s a rhythm that goes into this, especially when it’s such a short preparation like that. On Sunday, we’d done so little when it came to physical and things of that nature. [The migraine] knocked him off his rhythm, no question.”

On the younger guys breaking Donnell Gresham out of his shell/Gresham’s progress…

“…Whatever works to get him out of his shell, I’m all for it. We need him to be vocal. We need him to be verbal and to be excited. I don’t think we win the Memphis game without him the other day, then he didn’t have as good a game on Tuesday [against Kentucky]. He’s got to be consistent for us. He’s a great young man. He’s a great worker. He can do a lot of things. He understands the game very, very well, and we need him to continue to play with a high level of confidence.”

On the main aspects of focus, aside from rebounding…

“Every aspect of it. There’s really not one aspect that we’re not focused on— it’s offense and defense. It’s all the different situational things that go into it. Today will be much shorter, but I don’t think you just come in with any team, but especially with a young team, and just try to focus on a couple of things. You’ve got to make sure that you’re prioritizing certain things on a day-to-day basis, but rebounding is always going to be a priority because we have to get a lot better at it.”

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