Watch: Tom Crean’s Interview in Advance of Missouri

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Watch: Tom Crean’s Interview in Advance of Missouri

On the win vs. Florida

“That felt great for a lot of reasons. Number one, first and foremost, is for these players. Certainly our coaches, our families, the fans, and the campus, but most importantly our players because of the work they put into it. We were so close. Everyone saw it, and to be able to pull it off in a very tough environment against a very good team on the road in a close game was a huge thing. There was a little bit of relief, but I think a lot more joy, and I think that’s most important.”

Any reason for the success?…





“We played as close to a forty minute game as you can play. Of course we had some mistakes, there are no perfect games. We had turnovers and things of that nature, but we responded. We made some timely plays. Our defense was good and our deflections were higher for us. We moved the ball extremely well. We played through Nic a lot and Nic moved around very well. It was harder because we had Ray for a bit, but then we didn’t have him, so we had to make those adjustments. It was a true team win.”

On the seniors…

“They’ve handled the transition extremely well. There’s time for reflection down the road, but not now. When I think about the first meeting, the spring, the summer, and the work with them, there’s a lot of those moments. There’s the collective part of it, but then there’s the moments you have with those guys individually. You watch them grow through something. You see their confidence grow in them, and those are the fun things. I think they’ve done an excellent job. I think they’ve represented the program and the university well. They put a lot into this, and it’s not easy. There’s no way to quantify it. When there’s a change, and when we’re all knew to each other, it’s not easy. Those guys have bought in and worked extremely hard from week one.”





On the Stone Cutter’s Creed…

“I’ve seen it before, but not in a long time. It really made sense. I read it to them after the game and thought it made sense the way the game played out. It fit the moment. It fit the time period. It was timely, and I thought it was good.”

On Rayshaun Hammonds’ Status…

“Not so good, but we’ll wait and see. He get stepped on in the game inadvertently. That didn’t help. We’ve been having him in a day-to-day situation, but then he got stepped on in the game, and he wasn’t comfortable with going back in.”

On coaching the seniors…

“I didn’t sell it as a rebuild process. There’s no way to know that. When I came in, it was a new process. You got to bring energy and excitement to it. What you’re trying to do is get to know them and try to establish what you want the program to be like on and off the court for you. It’s never about coming in and talking about culture, but to me, it’s much more about standards. What are the standards that we want to have for how we want to play and how we want to do things inside the program? At the end of the day it’s Georgia, but no two coaching staffs are the same. No two coaches are the same, so it’s about that. I wouldn’t call it a rebuild, but they have to change how they looked at some things basketball wise, skilling development wise, and stretching their games, and adhere to the fundamentals of that. That’s been most important to me, and I think they responded.”

On Missouri…

“They play so hard on both ends of the floor. It’s not every once in awhile or occasionally, it’s all the time. Defensively, offensively, rebounding, they go inside, and they can shoot. They play freshmen a lot this year, and they’ve really responded especially with Mark Smith being out who’s a very good player. Jeremiah Tilmon and Kevin Puryear do an excellent job. We have to be on top of our game in so many areas. We’ve got top of our energy and we have to be efficient. They make it really hard to score. This is not a situation where you can come down and get it without moving the ball. We have to play inside-out and get out on the break, but we can’t rush. They can also turn you over. They’re very aggressive, and we have to come in expecting that. We’ve got to be aggressive and exceed whatever their energy is and however hard they play.





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Greg is closing in on 15 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.