It is not surprising that Georgia Bulldogs head coach Tom Crean said what he said after Saturday’s home loss to the Ole Miss Rebels. It is surprising that Crean said what he said in this particular context.
Crean has been known to deflect responsibility at times in his career, citing the failings of others for suboptimal results. Viewed in that light, his Saturday comments after the loss to Ole Miss were nothing new. What was and is new — and bizarre — about Crean’s statements is that they came in Year 1 of a coaching tenure, when no coach should be particularly displeased about his situation.
Here is what Georgia’s first-year coach had to say:
“I’m embarrassed right now to be honest with you,” Crean said. “The worst loss you take is when you’ve got lettermen and former coaches in the stands. I apologize to them, I really do, because I want them to walk out of here feeling like they really see growth and progress, and at times today it didn’t look like that.”
It got worse:
What an interesting quote from Tom Crean after today’s game: pic.twitter.com/IFMBZr0FoP
— Seth Emerson (@SethWEmerson) February 9, 2019
You know that other coaches in the SEC will negatively recruit against Crean and Georgia as a result of these comments. Players will also take notice. Will it be enough to matter? Will Crean still manage to hit his recruiting targets and build the Bulldogs? We don’t know the answers to any of those questions. However, Crean has certainly introduced a new measure of uncertainty and discomfort into the Georgia men’s basketball program. He might feel the need to start fresh, but his quotes after Saturday’s loss might undercut that very attempt to reset the dial in Athens.
[bctt tweet=”Tom Crean “I’m embarrassed right now to be honest with you.” ” username=”CBBToday”]
The SEC has become a deeper conference in recent years, and Crean’s arrival in Athens was hailed by many (including me, to be perfectly candid and transparent) as an upgrade over Mark Fox. Georgia seemed to have a better chance of moving up in the college basketball world.
Now, that project has encountered an unexpectedly large amount of turbulence in Year 1. No one was expecting Georgia to do well this year, but Crean’s explosive and — one could argue — unnecessary remarks have just made his task more difficult. Crean could overcome this obstacle, but it is a self-built obstacle he didn’t have to create.
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