Crean deflects questions on internal matters after loss at Texas A&M

Bulldogs coach Tom Crean didn't have much to say to the media Tuesday after his team's loss at Texas A&M. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

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Bulldogs coach Tom Crean didn't have much to say to the media Tuesday after his team's loss at Texas A&M. (Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com)

Credit: Curtis Compton/ccompton@ajc.com

Tom Crean’s news conferences used to be lengthy and filled with detailed analysis. Tuesday’s video meeting with press after Georgia’s 91-77 loss at Texas A&M was neither long nor informative.

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Crean appeared frustrated as he met with the media after the 14-point loss, UGA’s eighth straight and 22nd in 28 games this season. He deflected a number of questions surrounding the status of former assistant coach Wade Mason, who is no longer with the program in a move first reported by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution on Monday.

The first question teed up to Crean centered around the team’s turnovers and lack of defensive consistency. His comment – and the delivery of it – gave a glimpse of what was coming.

Texas A&M 91, Georgia 77

“I’m going to be kind right here and move on,” Crean said. “You said, ‘We’re going through the motions’ and I don’t really appreciate that. There’s not much I can add past that. Sorry.”

Georgia’s fourth-year head coach spoke for three minutes. He took six questions from four different media members and spoke fewer than 200 words.

Georgia (6-22, 1-14 SEC) dropped another game in which it had life in the first half but only to fall by double digits in the most crucial stretches of play. The Bulldogs shot 60% from the field in their most crisp offensive performance of the season, but the Aggies took advantage of 20 turnovers and shot 56%.

Georgia has lost 16 of its last 17 and has three regular-season games remaining. The Bulldogs likely will play in the opening round of the SEC Tournament, which begins March 9 in Tampa Bay, Florida.

“Yeah, well, the result is what it is. We shot the ball extremely well,” Crean said. “The turnovers and we didn’t get to the foul line enough. We didn’t have a complete game.”

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Sophomore guard Kario Oquendo had a career-high 33 points. He was part of a first-half infusion where Georgia had life and took a seven-point lead by way of 3-point makes on three consecutive possessions. Texas A&M’s Quenton Jackson, however, scored 31 points and didn’t miss a shot from the field. Crean didn’t have much to offer on his star guard, either.

“Kario did a good job tonight,” Crean said. “He was extremely aggressive.”

Crean’s frustrations could stem from the news around Mason, who was suspended after last week’s game at LSU due to a physical incident with director of player development Brian Fish. A person with knowledge of the situation told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Mason grew tired of Fish’s conduct toward players on numerous occasions and shoved a member of the Bulldogs’ support staff.

After Saturday’s loss to Ole Miss, Crean was overheard discussing the leak of information in the press conference room after the Zoom was left on. Those attending the conference could hear his remarks, which also included a comment targeted at point guard Aaron Cook.

Crean refused to mention his comments on Cook and bluntly referenced the recent departure of Mason.

“Wade Mason is not with us right now,” Crean said. “Our complete focus is on our team. Thank you.”

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During Tuesday’s game, assistant coach Steve McClain had the first seat next to Crean. Fish sat next to McClain, and he often plays a role in on-court coaching despite his title as director of player development. John Linehan is the other assistant coach on Georgia’s staff. Crean did not expand on whether Fish’s role was promoted or expanded during Mason’s absence.

“We continue to coach as a staff the best way that we can,” Crean said. “Thank you, though.”

After Crean’s remarks were finished, so was the Zoom call. This time, only two seconds passed before the meeting ended.