WATCH: Tom Crean Pre-SEC Tournament Interview

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WATCH: Tom Crean Pre-SEC Tournament Interview

On if a tournament is a reset button or a restart for a team…

“Yeah, I think that is how it works. I think that is pretty much how it is mentally and then the whole key is you just have to keep your improvement message strong. And in this case, since we just played Missouri, there are definitely things we can improve upon from that game. So you can hit those points, work on those things and at the same time, you keep them energized on where we can get better. The most important thing for us right now – outside of getting better defensively and in our rebounding – is to not lose our confidence taking shots. We have had a couple of games where shots we make and shots we have made are not going in. We just can’t lose the confidence to take those shots. But at the same time you have to keep looking for what the defense is giving you and that is what we are trying to show based on film work, based on practice and those types of things.” 

On if the shooting issue the last couple of games has to do with the type of shots they are taking… 

“No, I don’t think so. There is always going to be some risk/reward at the rim, when you drive to the rim. We are missing open shots. I say a lot, it is not taking a bad shot, it is taking a good shot, badly. You know sometimes you fade, sometimes you don’t get your foot into it. All the technical parts of the shot are very easy to point out. It is easier to point it out but harder to remember when you are shooting it. We have missed some open shots and we can probably do a little bit less off the dribble. I think that would help us a lot and in answer to your question, we need to be ready to shoot the ball rather than putting it down on the ground a couple of times. But to me, you just don’t want to lose the confidence in taking the shots.” 

On if you notice the team having more of an edge heading into the tournament as Jordan Harris mentioned that earlier… 

“I hope so. I think we have good edge. I thought we had it yesterday, but I thought we had it going into South Carolina too. We have had really good practices the past few weeks so if that is what he thinks, then that is a good thing.” 

On if the fact that the game is against Missouri, the team you had one of the worst games against, helps in the preparation in some way… 

“Well, there should be no trouble getting anyone’s attention, but I don’t sense that. But anyway, they guarded us differently, right and there were just guys they did not guard in the game. Our job now is to make that many more adjustments without overthinking it, but make the adjustments we have to make because obviously that worked well for them. They took chances on guys not being able to make plays, and they were right. We have to do a much better job of dealing with that and how we move. We have to make adjustments and I am sure they will too.” 

On memories from conference tournaments throughout your career…

“Yeah, I am sure but nothing that really stands out right now.” 

On if in a tournament setting you think your team will embrace the underdog mentality a little bit more…

“I hope so, yeah. I mean I just hope we go in there and play well.” 

On what has Tye Fagan gained this year… 

“I think he is learning what the college game is all about and the speed of it. It is a whole different level of speed when you get to college and he needs to play faster. He needs to play even more aggressive and faster. Whether it is cutting, it is getting to the glass, when he has done those things he has been pretty successful but everybody goes through that. Everybody goes through the speed of the game. There is the physicality of it and there is the pace of it. Pace and speed are two different things because pace of the game is one thing, and that is conditioning to a degree but the speed of the game is how fast you have to play. It is your reaction time, your short-space quickness, your burst, those types of things. Those are things I hope he has gained and that will help him in the future. He has really improved his skill level and he really wants to do well. I think it is just a matter of understanding, okay, this is different and this is how I have to embrace it to make myself better. I think all freshmen go through that, but him in particular, once that speed of the games comes, he will learn how to play quicker, faster, more burst at this level. He will realize all those things that he was doing before that he was having a lot of success with is not as easy here. I think off-season training is really going to help him with that, too. I say that knowing that we have to have him play well for us this weekend and week going into this tournament.” 

On the seniors’ legacy going into the tournament…

“Hopefully they go out, because I haven’t thought in those terms yet, and they can look back at it and there is absolutely zero regret. When they’re done and zero regret 10 years from now. That’s the biggest thing. Did you leave everything that you had out there. There’s been many days when that’s how they’ve played and they’ve worked hard to do that, there’s been days where they haven’t but there’s been a lot of days where they’ve tried to do that. Hopefully when you realize that the end is near, there’s an extra jolt that can either drive you forward or it can paralyze you. It can stifle you and you don’t want that to happen. You want to be on a full tilt doing what the team needs and doing what needs to be done to be successful. That little bit of edge that he’s talking about, it comes from everybody but your seniors are going to drive that edge for you more than anybody else.

On the next 36 hours…

“We will have practice, hopefully sharp and concise, here. Then we’ll get there and get on the court and walk through tomorrow morning. I believe it’s at Vanderbilt in the early afternoon then play the game. We have meetings, film, and stuff like that sprinkled in.

On coaching in Nashville…

“I said this last night on the radio show I don’t think i’ve ever coached in Nashville. I’ve been to Nashville and lived near it when I was in Bowling Green, Kentucky, but I may look back on it but I was thinking about it I don’t think I’ve ever coached there in the city so it will be different.”

On country music…

“I like a lot of music. I like country music absolutely.”

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Greg is closing in on 10 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.