UGA Basketball

Georgia players offer thoughts on Tom Crean's hiring, Mark Fox's firing

Georgia men's basketball head coach Tom Crean.
Georgia men's basketball head coach Tom Crean. Georgia Sports Communications

Tyree Crump was home in Bainbridge in mid-March when he received a call from his uncle.

“I heard about your new coach,” his uncle told him.

“What coach? I haven’t heard about a coach,” Crump responded.

“It’s all over the internet,” Crump’s uncle said.

Crump then logged online to see reports that Georgia hired Tom Crean. That set Crump on a research mission to find out everything he could about his new head coach. He learned Crean recruited and coached Dwyane Wade at Marquette. He found out Crean recruited and coached Victor Oladipo and Yogi Ferrell at Indiana.

Crump said he became excited when he learned about the kind of players Crean coached previously.

“That means a lot,” Crump said. “He put those guys in the NBA. I’m hoping he can do the same for me.”

In addition to Wade, Oladipo and Ferrell, Crean coached NBA players OG Anunoby (Toronto Raptors), Thomas Bryant (Los Angeles Lakers), Noah Vonleh (Chicago Bulls), Troy Williams (New York Knicks) and Cody Zeller (Charlotte Hornets) at Indiana. Crean also coached Wesley Matthews, who is with the Dallas Mavericks, at Marquette, as well as former NBA player Steve Novak.

Georgia forward Nicolas Claxton, who referenced a recent video clip that saw Crean working with Oladipo on free throws after a recent Pacers game, said the kind of rapport Crean has established with these past players piqued his interest.

“It shows you they know what they’re talking about,” Claxton said. “You saw it the other day on Twitter with Victor Oladipo, he was working on his free throws. Dwayne Wade is shouting him out on Twitter. It shows the love they have for each other.”

While the players were pleased to talk about their new coach, Tuesday also served as the first day to ask both Crump and Claxton their thoughts about the coaching change in general.

While excited about the new hire, Crump said he felt bad that former head coach Mark Fox’s time came to an end at Georgia.

“I think Coach Fox was a great coach,” Crump said. “His time was up and I hate that. I wish him the best. It is what it is.”

Claxton offered a practical outlook on the decision for Georgia to move on from Fox.

“We knew how the season ended and what was expected out of Coach Fox and his staff,” Claxton said. “It was a business decision that had to be done.”

Georgia went through its 12th workout of the offseason Tuesday. Crean said he has been trying to get his players up to speed on his brand of basketball. That involves a lot of new techniques to learn, which he admitted has an adjustment period.

But Crean, who held court with reporters for a little over 24 minutes and then stayed a bit longer to chat some more, said he likes what he sees from his new team thus far.

“I’m really excited about the way they’re working,” Crean said. “I’m really excited about their attitudes. We’re making improvement. I’m very patient with it because I know we’re trying to do different things.”