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December 4, 2019

Tom Crean

Athens, Georgia

Georgia - 95, North Carolina Central - 59

TOM CREAN: This game, all games scare our coaches half to death. This one probably scared me three quarters to death because I think LeVelle can really coach. I've coached against him before at Indiana. You knew they were ripe to win because they play hard -- they come into the gym to win the game. And I know they were missing number 11 tonight in the game. But our players, for the week that we have had, for the travel that would we have had, all that, for them to bear down, especially to have the lead the way we did in the first half, even though the last two minutes as we took our foot off the gas pedal. And we were 12-19 in the first half from the, going to the paint and we didn't go in the paint almost until the last two minutes of that half. That got a 20 point lead down to 15. But we answered the bell in the second half with a lot of different combinations, a lot of different people. First start for Rodney Howard. And to hold them to nine percent shooting in the second half from three and to hold them from 24 percent shooting says a lot. And I'm proud of the way our guys played. It's tons of room for improvement. But to come from Maui, to have the practices, to try to get your body clock -- it doesn't matter if you're 19 or 79, your body clock is going to be different when you come from a trip like that, especially as long as we were over there.

So to get that win is fantastic. I thought Anthony, who was a little banged up yesterday, didn't practice much at all yesterday, and we weren't totally sure today, I thought he came out and responded. A lot of credit to our trainer, Lance Schuemann, our physical therapist, Mike Dew, for the work that they did, Dr. Palmer for the work that he did in helping to get him cleared up so that he could go. And we got a lot of good activity from a lot of people.

We had three stops 11 times tonight, which is the most we have ever had since I've been at Georgia. And you're usually going to feel pretty good about your chances to win if you get three stops in a row seven to eight times in a game. But to get it 11 says a lot. And we had 47 deflections. So this team has got to continue to take real steps defensively, with rebounding, and how efficient we have to be on the break, not just the half court offense, but the break. Tonight we took some steps but now we got to continue to take it because when we go to Arizona State it will ratchet up again big time.

Q. Anthony talked Monday about his desire to get off to a quicker start and I thought they did that tonight --
TOM CREAN: Anthony said that? That's a big step because that's something he's got to do. And we started with him taking the ball out of bounds. And we're trying to do different things with him all the time. We're trying to increase his versatility in so many different ways, put him in different spots. But the key was to come out and attack that paint. I think we were three of four in the beginning in the paint, but that's -- Anthony as young as he is, as talented as he is, there is so much room for growth. And the guy that knows it is him and that's what excites me. Because we can just push and push at what he's got to get better at and he buys into knowing that he's got to get better. And for a 18-year-old, he's very, very responsive to what has to happen for him to become a better player, a better team player, a better teammate, all those different things, just like all of them. Though the attention that he gets to come in here and have that kind of desire and, again, like I said, we didn't have him in practice yesterday other than for about 15 minutes, maybe 20 tops. So that probably what he's trying to do with it. We want to bottle that up.

Q. What did he do exactly, what was his --
TOM CREAN: His lower body. It was just a lower body.

Q. Can you address the developments of Amanze?
TOM CREAN: Sure. You guys saw the statement that we issued before. He's been suspended from all team activities. There was not one thing there were a number of factors and instances that were involved in the decision. I didn't make it lightly. I would like to think that I have -- that as I've grown older, I've grown in patience and perspective. But at the same time, that's where we're at. And I want what's best for him. I want what's best for this program too. And at the end of the day that's what was needed at this time. And that's basically what it is. It would all fall under the umbrella of attitude. And that -- so it's not an off-the-court situation, it's not training rules, none of that, not academically. It is what it is. But there's not anything clandestine about it and that's where we're at.

Q. Is there a path for him to come back?
TOM CREAN: I'm not sure. Maybe. But we'll see.

Q. I remember one game that he came, he pitched a fit coming off the court and it looked like he ripped his jersey off or something. Is this what you're talking about?
TOM CREAN: It's, like I said, I'm not going to discuss it past that. I hope you understand. It's, it's not one factor. I don't take -- I don't take decisions like that lightly. I don't make decisions like that lightly. And you certainly don't coach this game and recruit in this game to not want people with you. But I'm just going to stick with what I said, and like I said, when it falls under the umbrella of attitude and things that work into that.

Q. It looked like you guys just from where I was sitting maybe you guys did a little, maybe a little better job tonight of your cutting and guys moving around?
TOM CREAN: We work on it every day. We work on it every day. So, yes, and you go back to Georgia Tech, I think, I think Anthony, he's really buying into it, which he's never really had to do. It's really hard for players when they come to college to understand speed and intensity of the games, okay. The strength and physicality of the games. But on the offensive end it's really, really difficult for them to understand how well they have to move without the ball and how often they have to do it, because ball dominant is not how you win.

And it's the same thing defensively. We showed last night, a tape, a tape that we made -- we use it in recruiting, but I wanted my team to see it -- of how good -- my previous 18 years before we got here, how good we had defensively. How good of some defensive players and defensive teams that we had. Well, now I put it in and I show the team the same thing that we show the recruits and the same thing that I showed to NBA -- sent to NBA people when he was going out. And there's a smorgasbord of before and after with Nick. But the defensive part and the defensive versatility is unbelievable. And there's one clip in the Texas game -- and this is what I wanted to get them to understand -- Nick didn't come in here a pro, just like the majority of my guys didn't come in here a pro, they have to earn it, right, they had to earn their way up into it. But there's one clip, okay, it's a 10-point game, it's 3:47, starts it on the clock late in the second half against Texas. He's guarding guards, okay. He is in a stance for 22 seconds. They take a shot at the three-second. He gets in a stance at the 25-second mark, they take a shot at the three-second mark. He never got out of his stance. That's not common. And what you're trying to get these young guys to understand that, those are the things that make the difference. Whether it's your defensive stance, the deflections, the way you play the length, the movement without the ball, the cutting, all those things have got to be really, really good for us. And it's got to come from everybody. Because that's a big part of what we're trying to do. So there's a long answer to your question. Jeff Schultz isn't here, so I can talk long.

Q. You mentioned playing through the paint. You ended up outscoring them 52-26 in the paint. Is that a product of --
TOM CREAN: It's ball touching the paint. There's points in the paint and then there's a ball touching the paint. And the ball touching the paint, to me, is probably more important than the points in the paint. Because you are still going to shoot threes, right and points in the paint don't get counted obviously, they're three-point shots. But when you're coming through that lane, one, two, three times in a possession, you're going to get really good things. That's where the cuts come from, that's where the threes come from. So points in the paint obviously is a big deal, but how many times we touch that paint is an even bigger deal.

Q. I was going to ask, that big of a margin, is that a product of the better cutting, is it better driving or is it, kind of what leads to that?
TOM CREAN: I don't know if we have really been able to score in the paint as well with them. They did a good job -- we didn't run as many ball screens to give them what they wanted either. And they mix defenses. But they're a very good pick-and-roll defensive team of not letting you turn the corner. And we had some actions that we wanted to take advantage of and we really didn't even coach it that way. We just coached movement, cutting, get through the paint and with some ball screens, I guess, but I don't think I called as many as I would normally that were set forth the ball screen to be the derivative that gets us going. But I'm glad we scored in the paint that way but I didn't see that coming much on film.

Q. How are you planning on managing these next couple of --
TOM CREAN: I'm going recruiting tomorrow. Want to go?

Q. It's not like we're going to be sitting around doing nothing.
TOM CREAN: We're going to get better. There's no way around it. Now I mixed it up, right, I mix it up and we work around these amp sessions, but it's very much about, we got to get better in every aspect. No question we got to get better individually. So there will be a lot shooting, cutting, movement reading situations. But we also got to get better in some situations and we got to get better with full team basketball. So it's really a smorgasbord, I mean, you're in there stirring the pot, right, every day. Okay, maybe we're really going to work on rebounding here, we're going to work on baseline sideline out of bounds there, all these different facets that become part of your, they compliment each other, obviously, and so you don't talk like that to the players, but you put those things in place where they have more and more confidence in more situations and more things that come up in a game. And this is a great time of year to do this. Because what we're going to deal with next week inside of Tempe, it's going to be, it's going to be hard to deal with, it's going to ratchet right up again for us, like I said. So we have to get better between now and then.

Q. How do you think you guys did on the glass, especially down Amanze?
TOM CREAN: We were 54 and 25, that's pretty good. And we had a lot of -- I haven't studied the numbers at the rebounds -- um, but we had a lot of guys board the ball, all right. We only had one guy, Stan Turnier is the only one, and it's not fair to him because he was just in a little bit, we only had one guy that didn't rebound the ball. So it's an area we have got to continue to get better at. We're not going to win if we're not a team rebounding team. We're just not going to win. I mean it's -- it Ray is getting better, without question, and Anthony Edwards can get a lot better rebounding the ball. Donnell is doing a phenomenal job of that. We have got to be a team rebounding group as we go up the ladder of these games.

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