Georgia’s Tom Crean has been selected as one of the 100 most influential people in college basketball in a list compiled by the new age sports media organization Silver Waves Media.
“Known as one of the best coaches for development of players, Crean has had more than his fair share of players that have had eye-opening progress from point A to point B,” the website wrote. “The best evidence perhaps lies within two of Crean’s posterboys, Dwyane Wade and Victor Oladipo, that went from nearly unranked players who didn’t have much of a recruitment to NBA superstars. His success has attracted others like Yogi Ferrell (Sacramento Kings), Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets), Noah Vonleh (Denver Nuggets), Thomas Bryant (Utah Jazz), OG Anunoby (Toronto Raptors), Wesley Matthews (Milwaukee Bucks), and just recently Anthony Edwards (Consensus Top-5 projected pick).”
During Crean’s first season, Nicolas Claxton added his name to a lengthy list of his players in the NBA ranks. Claxton thrived in the Bulldogs’ position-less style of play and was drafted by the Brooklyn Nets with the No. 31 overall pick in the 2019 NBA Draft. All told, Crean’s players have gone to earn or are under contract for nearly $600 million.
After averaging 3.9 points and 3.9 rebounds with one double-digit scoring performance as a freshman, Claxton averaged team highs of 13.0 points and 8.6 boards while accumulating 21 double-figure scoring outputs and 12 double-doubles as a sophomore. He also led Georgia in both blocks (81) and steals (34) and finished second in assists (58).
“Coach Crean just brought everything out of me and my skill set,” Claxton said. “He brought things out of me I didn’t even know I had at the time. He had me doing things I didn’t even know I could do. He instilled that confidence in me and coached me really hard. He and the entire coaching staff held me accountable, both in practice and in games. That year with Coach Crean, it was special. I really appreciate him.”
The Bulldogs have become one of the hottest tickets in the SEC since Crean arrived on campus on March of 2018. Georgia Basketball has bettered its all-time total attendance record during each of his first two campaigns in Athens. The Bulldogs sold out their season ticket allotment for the first time ever a year ago and went on to average their second-highest attendance figure, including seven sellouts in SEC play.
Georgia averaged 75.9 points per game during the 2019-20 season, the highest tally since 2003. The Bulldogs have reached the 90-point scoring 11 times during Crean’s 64 games at UGA. Prior to his arrival, Georgia scored 90 or more points 11 times a span of 387 games.
Crean was one of nine representatives of the Southeastern Conference featured on the ledger along with SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey, SEC Associate Commissioner Dan Leibovitz, Tennessee coach Rick Barnes, Kentucky coach John Calipari, Mississippi State coach Ben Howland, Missouri coach Cuonzo Martin, South Carolina coach Frank Martin and Kentucky AD Mitch Barnhart.
“While the college basketball landscape is ever changing and is populated with people of many different backgrounds that oversee a variety of different things, a number of individuals serve as the pillars of the sport,” the website wrote. “In talking with multiple people within the space at various different levels and occupations, a collective group seemed to represent the top . . . and have their fingerprints all over the sport.”