ATHENS – Georgia coach Tom Crean fell on the proverbial sword on Monday. He apologized – profusely – for his comments after Saturday's game against Ole Miss.
After the 80-64 home loss to an announced crowd of more than 10,000 at the Stegeman Coliseum and 90 former players there for Letterman Day, Crean deduced that he wished he had cut ties with some of the Bulldogs dealers.
Crean said Monday that he did not really realize what he had said until he read his comments on the news after the game. At that time, it was too late to recover them.
"I have it in my mind since Saturday night," Crean said Monday as he spoke with reporters during his press briefing scheduled before Tuesday night's game at Texas A & M. "I wanted to wait until we came out in front of you." I definitely thought about making a statement but I thought it would be better to do it this way.
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"They always call me players, you can not let frustration go, and I always preach that and I try to be very aware of that." But I think I did it. I think I stopped losing that game and the fact that we had those fans there and our fans in general, because we did not think we were playing with the spirit and passion we need. I checked those comments and I saw them and it was like I was blaming the players and that was never my intention to do that. "
Crean had been talking to the reporters for a long time during his postgame press conference after the game, when a question about turnovers and poor mental endurance led to one of the long, gloveless criticism patented by Crean. . It was in the midst of that that several quotes came, were taken out and highlighted some by the media, including some that otherwise did not cover the game.
"It's all about me, and I understand." The last thing I can do after making the decision to keep the kids in the spring now is to get too angry with them because it's me who made the decision, I live with it every day. "
Although Crean's comments were harsh and not very comprehensive, the reality is that a coach can not revoke the scholarship of a student athlete who, otherwise, is up to all the other conditions of his grant agreement with the institution. . It is not enough for a coach to determine that a player who was recruited can not meet the standards required by the program. However, it is not uncommon for coaches to be honest with their charges about how much they think they will contribute in the field of competition. It depends on the student-athlete if they consider that it is satisfactory to achieve their sporting goals. But their help is to remain constant unless standard behavior or academic codes are violated and not enforced.
"I tell the children all the time that I believe in them and, if I did not, they would not be here," Crean said. "I did not say that and that was a mistake, I'm definitely sorry and I've apologized to them." We've talked through many things and I apologize to anyone else who offended, because that was never the intention.
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The Bulldogs (10-13, 1-9 SEC) held a team meeting before Sunday's practice that lasted more than an hour. In that encounter, all the players spoke as well as they do. He said he first apologized to the players for not expressing their belief in them and then everyone paid attention to what they can do to improve the season.
The loss to Ole Miss was Georgia's ninth in a row in the SEC, the most since the 2008-09 season when they lost 11 in a row and finished 3-15 in the league game. The Bulldogs had 20 turnovers in the game, were bounced both offensively and defensively and gave away an excessive number of second chance points and turnovers.
"We had a team meeting and we all got together, coaches too," forward Nicolas Claxton said. "Coach Crean told us that what was shown on Twitter and social media was not what he wanted to say, and he believes in us and has confidence in us." He said he still has the same confidence in us and that we're going to finish the season as hard as we can. "
Georgia will look for its first road win of the season on Tuesday against a Texas A & M team that is in the same situation. The Aggies (9-13, 2-8) have just won their first road game of the season 68-59 over Missouri. But before that they had lost six conference games in a row. That has increased the heat in eight-year coach Billy Kennedy.
While the Bulldogs spoke and are very aware of all the things that A & M does well and not so well, it is clear that this is a team that is looking inward decisively. Georgia now knows that 2018-19 is not going to be a memorable season from a winning point of view, but the Bulldogs are eager to show progress and perhaps point to a low point of the season that represents a crossover in their first season under Crean. .
"The Everbody mentality is just getting a W, of course," said guard Jordan Harris. "We are getting closer and we are already close and we just want to go tighter as the season progresses".
Said Crean: "We have to play with a level of spirit, passion and toughness. That is a great demand every day. When that did not happen the way I like it to happen, I think I let that affect me that day. I can not do that. That is not a reflection on how I feel about them; That is not a reflection of what I feel for us. It's not about blaming anyone and I should never have let that happen through my mind. "
The irony is that Crean made his apologies on the eve of getting the best qualified recruiting prospect in the history of Georgia's basketball program. Anthony "Antman" Edwards gave the Bulldogs and Create their promise at a ceremony at Atlanta's Holy Spirit High School at 9 a.m. Monday morning.
As Edwards, a 6-foot-5, 215-pound combo, has not yet signed a national letter of intent, Crean could not comment on it specifically. But he acknowledged that it was a good day and he believes that the future of Georgia's basketball is brilliant.
"Generally speaking, it does not exist, if you're in the state of Georgia, what you need to go anywhere else," Crean said. "It's all here, it starts not only with the beauty of the campus and extends to the unreal quality of education, I do not have a degree here, but you find enough people who do it and work with people who have been here for a while. time and you see how people feel about this place and you realize that the spirit and energy are here, it translates to the athletic side and now we are seeing it on the basketball side … If you want to better in the game and in education, everything is fine here. "