UGA MBB Video: Tom Crean Georgia vs. Memphis pregame interview, Friday, January 3, 2020

Home >

UGA MBB Video: Tom Crean Georgia vs. Memphis pregame interview, Friday, January 3, 2020

Tom Crean during a UGA men's basketball interview on Friday, January 3rd, 2020.
Tom Crean during a UGA men’s basketball interview on Friday, January 3rd, 2020.

On Friday, January 3rd, UGA men’s basketball head coach Tom Crean discusses the Bulldogs’ upcoming road game versus the Memphis Tigers. The game is set to tip-off at 1:00 p.m. ET this afternoon (Saturday) and will be televised on CBS.

On playing at Memphis…

“They’re very, very, very talented. Penny [Hardaway] is an excellent coach and they have a great staff. They’re extremely fast. They score 30 percent of their points in transition. They create a lot of turnovers. Very athletic, very dynamic, mix in their defense as well with the way they trap and press and they put a ton of pressure on you. The length is outstanding. Scoring a lot of points. Very fearless on the offensive end. It’s a huge personnel game for us on how we want to guard people but the bottom line is, we have to take care of the ball, we have to be in the rebounding game and then we have to understand their personnel. If we don’t get back on defense, none of those things matter and those are the things we have to be extremely good at in this game.”

On what the mindset is going into this stretch of games…

“We’re centered on the game, there’s no talk about the next game. Certainly work ahead as coaches but not with the team. It’s all locked into what we’re doing. Whether that’s Austin Peay, Georgia Southern or whether it’s now Memphis. You stay locked in and you pace your team to get it better and for them to improve but at the same time you put into what you have to get better for that game. What are they keys, what are the weaknesses, what are the things you have to take advantage of, what can they try to take advantage of and at the same time, a lot of it comes down to common denominators? What’s your hustle game like when it comes to running up and down the court on both ends? What’s your rebounding game like? Are we cutting and moving without the ball? That’s a huge thing for us. It is absolutely paramount that we move without the ball and that we get the ball reversed. Last time we were on the road we didn’t do a good job of that. That’s the way we have to play. That’s really what it is. They’re all really big tall tasks in this league. Like I told the team, this is really like a league game. It’s the opening of league play. We just happen to be playing at Memphis on CBS. It’s a huge game because it’s the next game we’re in and they’re an outstanding highly ranked team.”

On how Georgia is attacking offensively…

“I think at times were good. I think when we move the ball, there’s a great example from the other night, when we’re cutting and moving without the ball, that’s when we’re at our best. We want to get good threes, get good looks at threes. What we don’t want is we shoot a lot of them quickly in the first side without the ball going through the paint, without cutting or moving action. So that gets us in position to offensive rebound as well. That’s got to be a key for us. So, I think we’re attacking better. I think we could always attack better in our screen and roll game. I think we could definitely seal better. No question. The cutting game and the moving without the ball sets our whole offense and when that’s going and whether we miss or make, when that’s going, we’re in a good spot.”

On Memphis as a team…

“They’re just extremely talented in all areas, I mean they just are. Big wings that can score. Tremendous on the glass. One of the nation’s leaders in shots blocks. They’re forcing 19 turnovers a game in their last five games. They shoot the ball and they play fearless offense. That’s a very tough place to play. I haven’t been there in a while but it’s very, very tough in there. Tremendous home crowd. You can see that on the film. They’re very passionate about basketball there and you can see it. It’ll be a very tough environment. It will be one of, if not one of the best environments these guys will play in all year.”

On Tye Fagan…

“I think he’s gotten much better of moving off the ball. When he defends, when he’s cutting and moving, playing with confidence, I think that’s really good. He’s got to continue to play faster. Continue to move faster. He’s really improved, like I said, moving without the ball. He can get loose on the base line. We want him to trust the three-point shot. Get him in situations where he can drive the ball downhill from the top, from the wing. Those types of situations and then you know, be a stellar defensive player for us.

On who the leader of this team is…

“We have to depend on everybody. I’m not sure we’re in a situation where we have leadership that just says ‘okay follow me.’ That’s just not necessarily what it is for us right now. We’ve got to do a great job of everybody being together and play through the dull terms, play through the adversities, play through the successes. All the things that go on during a game and the bottom line, what we need from Ray [Hammonds] and especially the older guys is we need a level of consistency. When you get a level of consistency, good or bad, now you have a chance to carry your team with you. We can’t let setbacks knock us back. We can’t have those type of things. Can’t have them with young guys, certainly can’t have them with older guys. So, leadership, road leadership, follow me leadership is not our strength right now. That’s why it has to be collective and we have to continue to get better at that.”

On what this game means…

“I mean… it’ll be a great game for college basketball. It really will. It’s a nationally televised game and they’re really, really good. That’s the bottom line. They can score in bunches. We’ve got to go in and play with a pace but not play reckless. We want to play fearless, but not reckless. Reckless gets you in trouble in any game but especially against a team as dynamic, and as quick and fast paced as they are.”

On Anthony Edwards and how he’ll handle the recognition…

“Well we won’t hear any of it. He’ll hear the crowd. He’s got to play within himself and we have to continue to help him evolve his game. In these types of situations this is not a settle game this is a ball has got to move and his motor has got to run high. It’s got to run high from start to finish. It’s for that now to be very consistent. He’s 12 games in. It’s very important that he continues to make the strides that he does. This is our team against Memphis’ team. He’s an outstanding teammate it’s very important that he continues to bring them confidence. When he’s playing well. When he’s playing with a really strong energy, he brings everybody confidence. That’s very important in environments like this and when we’re home. So I mean in any kind of situation you want your guys that will be leading the way, not just with their game but with their energy.”

On if this will be the best defensive team they’ve seen all season…

“Boy, Dayton was good. With what they bring pressure wise, yes. With style of play, yes. Their style of play is different. We will not have been pressed like this to this point. In that regard, with style of play definitely.”

On what he thinks of Penny Hardaway as a coach…

“I think he’s a very good coach. He’s got great staff. I think he’s a great coach and he’s coached a lot of games long before he got to college. Certainly, he’s played a lot of games, but coaching is coaching and even though he wasn’t at the collegiate level when he was coaching, he was an outstanding coach in the EYBL and then in summer basketball. He was outstanding at it. I’m not surprised at all that he’s having the success he is. I don’t know him that well, I know him a little bit but I have a ton of respect for him and I think he does a great job.”

On the Georgia football team winning the Sugar Bowl mean for the university…

“I thought it was fantastic. I thought it was a great symbol of next man up, all in everybody in and really playing with a level of urgency. I thought it was a very inspiring win based on the couple of weeks that they’ve had and everything that was on the outside that didn’t affect them on the inside. I think that says the most. When you’re bonded together like that, a lot of great things can happen.”

share content