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Georgia Basketball

Tom Crean's Blank Canvas

April 10, 2018
1,342

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ATHENS - Now that Jonas Hayes has departed for Xavier, Tom Crean is starting pretty much fresh with UGA’s basketball program. 

That’s not the end of the world. 

The truth is that its going to be up to Crean to get the program where it needs to be. That Hayes probably would have made things easier in the world of recruiting is true, but Hayes has to run his own race. He's done a ton for the program over the years. It can’t be surprising that the Atlanta native would want to get out on his own - away from the institution he’s spent most of his time at since graduating from high school. 

Now Crean gets to focus on the Class of 2019. As usual, Crean will have a target-rich environment to recruit in now that he’s in Georgia. Former UGA commit Ashton Hagans, who committed to Kentucky Tuesday morning, will likely reclassify to the class of 2018. 

That leaves six consensus top 100 prospects in the state. Five-star Lower Richland (SC) forward Christian Brown has already been visited by Crean. Brown had a ton of interest in UGA a few weeks ago, but much has changed, so there is some work to do there. 

Still, the talent is there (it has always been there) for the coach at UGA to go get. Crean’s No. 1 job will be getting it. 

The biggest thing going in Crean’s favor right now is that he’s new. He’s a change agent - or at least he can sell that to the 2019 class and beyond. He’s going to have to sell players in and around Atlanta on the notion that not only can they dream about playing in the NBA, but that going to UGA under Crean can help make those dreams become reality. 

The advantage of “new” should’t be undersold in this important transition time. "New" will make a lot of folks take a new look. I'm also glad to see that Crean's first pick as assistant coach has a background in Atlanta basketball. Crean won’t coach a basketball game in Athens for months. But he’s got a tremendous opportunity to sell a vision of “new” and “different”. 

For so long the thought of basketball at UGA only meant Mark Fox, and that was flat by about 2013. Now no one knows what to think - and that’s the advantage for Crean. The first-year coach gets to form a new view of UGA. He has a blank canvas on which to paint. But he’d better go out and get the colors of paint he needs. 

Those brush strokes only look so good without the right kind of paint.

 
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