MBB Video: Tom Crean Pregame Presser – Georgia vs. South Carolina

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MBB Video: Tom Crean Pregame Presser – Georgia vs. South Carolina

Opening Statement…

“We’ll practice today, after having practiced yesterday. Then we head to South Carolina, bus up there. I think our guys are excited to play. They’re definitely excited to get back on the court against South Carolina. At least I know I am because we have to play a lot better than what we did. I know it will be a tough environment, a tough atmosphere. They will be in a good mood coming off their tough loss on Saturday. It’s always tough when you play South Carolina, but it’s what we want to go get measured against right now. We’re improving. I think we’re getting better. I think we’re learning, and now we get a chance to go on the road again before we come back for two in a row at home. 

On facing South Carolina again with momentum…

“There’s got to be a level of individual determination in this game. There’s really nobody that played well against South Carolina the first time in the sense of getting into the fight and being in the mix. They took advantage of it. We did not respond to the physicality of the game. We didn’t cut, we didn’t move the ball the way that we needed to, and we lost our way a little bit in that game when it came to fighting back. That’s what it is more than anything else. We have to go in there, home, road, doesn’t make a difference, you have to go in there and know that you have to have some toughness. You’re going to have to match their energy. We’re going to have to be ready for the physicality. We’ve got to play. There’s certainly going to be some adjustments that we made for the game. It’s really more about a mindset than anything about X’s and O’s. Hopefully, we should feel better. We had two different wins. One that we had to come from behind on, and one that we had to keep the lead on, but two SEC wins. We should feel good about getting better, but we should be even hungrier about what we have a chance to go do.”

On what he said to Tyree Crump after his shot…

“More or less, I was just very proud of him for persevering. I think that’s what it is more than anything else. We had a conversation after the Florida game, where it was not a great night, we lost the lead, those type of things. My big reminder was that there is a lot of basketball left. There’s a lot of shots left in you. It was one of those type of things. He works very very hard. He continues to get better. It was great for him to have that moment. That’s also why you stick with it. In a nutshell, that’s really what it is. That’s why you persevere, that’s why you stick with it, that’s why you keep believing, and that’s why you don’t give in. When it doesn’t seem obvious that everything is good, just keep going. Remind him that that’s a lesson he’ll have for the rest of his life.”

On managing success with a young team…

“We have so many different games. It’s not hard to manage success when you have to go play South Carolina. It’s all about, we’ve got to be ready for this, especially because we just played them. We’ve got to be excited about this opportunity, but it’s going to be very hard and we have to be very locked in. But, you do it with more confidence, there’s no doubt about that. We’ve had so many games that could have gone either way. There’s two possessions in this game, one possession in that game, three possessions in this game, and all of the sudden the record is completely different. There’s a lot of different teams that can say that, but there’s no question we can say that. We just have to keep doing something about what we can control, which is our improvement and our mindset. What is working, and why is it working? What is that? There’s a mindset to it, there’s a belief to it, there’s a determination to it, but there’s also a skill package, there’s an X’s and O’s part of it. The other day, young teams, right away think we need to get a three, no we have to get a basket. When were down five with 22 seconds left, it’s not about the three, it’s about the basket or getting to the foul line. I thought in that game, Sahvir’s drive and Sahvir’s two free throws were humongous in what that allowed us to do at the end. Now, they missed some free throws, but the bottom line is we were in position to win when that time came because other guys did their job leading up to that even in the short period of time. Getting a team to understand how long a game is and how you can stretch a game. How you want to lengthen a game or how you want to shorten a game depending on where you’re at. Getting them to understand, like I’ve said so many times lately, the hardest thing for them is the time and score. I say that because they’re learning more and more about that, so hopefully that helps you as you go into your next endeavor which is tomorrow night.”

On how Anthony Edwards has handled the criticism and constant attention this season…

“I’ll tell you what this is way different than what I used to be. I don’t really even know what is said. I’m serious. I read so little because it doesn’t… I’m trying to coach him every day just like every one of those other guys. We said this at the end of the summer. When you come in with the expectation level, when you come in with the ranking he has, there is no where to go but down from that. It wasn’t like he was going up from that. He’s the only one, maybe James Wiseman, would have been the other and then James Wiseman didn’t play. They’re the only two in the country that could have that said about them that I could remember when it comes to college freshmen coming in. We were never going to base his season or career on it going down. We were going to base it on how much better he could get and he’s gotten a lot better. There’s a lot for him to get better at. We have a very short window in his life to help him do that. I don’t look at it like what he’s not doing. I look at what he’s learning, what he’s got to do better, what he can do and how good he could be as we go down the line and right now the biggest thing is we’re making sure we’re controlling everything we can control every day. Making sure his energy is good, to make sure that he is getting better. Making sure his confidence is high, that he does understand how to read different situations and that when it comes time for game time that he does his very best like the rest of them. I truly look at him like the rest of them. There will be time at the end of the season to go back and look through it but right now our whole basis is how do we keep getting better and better.”

On if how the last South Carolina game lit a fire going into this matchup…

“We’ll find out. We’re going to find out. I hope so. Our inconsistencies have been abundant this year that’s pretty obvious. That’s not a coaching decision…that drive. We did not play well because we didn’t play tough enough. One, we didn’t play hard enough, we didn’t play tough enough and we didn’t play physical enough. I always think we play hard, but hard and physical and hard and tough are two different things. We have to continue to learn and understand that. We know we’re going to get their best shot. We know that. They’re playing for a lot, they’re coming off a tough game and we would get it anyways. That’s just how Frank [Martin] and Chuck [Martin] and all those guys are built. I hope we’re excited. I know I am.”

On Tyree Crump going from starter to coming off the bench…

“I don’t view him as a guy coming off the bench. There are certain guys, like I view Jordan [Harris] as a guy coming off the bench when he was coming off the bench. I didn’t view Shavir [Wheeler] as a guy coming off the bench. I think you have a main playing group and then you have others. You should have a playing group that you should feel comfortable starting at any time and I would put Tyree in that boat. Now there are some other guys that I would say, okay, they’re substitutes on the team, but they’re also key figures on the team. I think it says a lot about coming back day after day and working to get better and not losing your confidence, not having your pride hurt, being hungry. That’s what he’s been and that’s why a shot like that goes down. He’s shooting the ball a lot better, especially the last five games and play freer. Don’t worry about what’s not happening, do your very best and it’s not hey I’m not making shots, well move better without the ball. Get looser, be ready to shoot the ball a little quicker. Cut a little harder, cut more through the lane. Those types of things. What more can you do defensively, what more can you do on the glass when you want to score. The more you’re locked in the defensive rebounding, as unfun as those things sound for those guys, those are the things that get you the chances on offense. Look at Jordan Harris against Auburn. He did not have a great offensive game but man he had a fantastic defensive game and all of a sudden, he gets a big three at the end of the game. Just amazing how that works. That adage is a lot older than all of us combined, that’s just basketball. It’s always about what you focus on, what you can control and help you get what you really want. There’s very few guys that walk out and say, ‘I’m going to get x amount of points’ and actually get it, but when they go into the game and they’re free and they’re active and they’re worrying about other things, it’s amazing how that ball finds you. The ball usually finds energy.”

On the Dwyane Wade speech…

“I saw the video, I have not seen the show though. I’ve seen bits and pieces of the documentary. My wife has seen most of it, but no I am way behind. I’m behind on the Inside the SEC, I’m behind on Dwyane’s… I did see the first part of his speech. I really would have liked to be there. We’ve got a great relationship, we’ve been through a lot, would have loved to be there. It just wasn’t going to work out with the travel to Vanderbilt but I’m proud of him. I’ll watch the speech in its entirety just like I’ll watch the documentary and I’m proud to be a part of all of that. Proud to be a part of his life, continue to be and will be forever.”

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Greg is closing in on 11 years writing about and photographing UGA sports. While often wrong and/or out of focus, it has been a long, strange trip full of fun and new friends.