DESTIN, Fla. — The Georgia basketball team might want to make sure to enjoy the weekend.
New basketball coach Tom Crean says things are about to get tough for the Bulldogs in Athens.
“We’ll learn a lot over the next eight weeks starting Monday,” Crean said at the SEC Spring Meetings. “We have to put these guys under some adverse situations.
“We have to learn what type of toughness we potentially have. I know it’s summer, but we have to get that gauge.”
The Bulldogs have made just one NCAA Tournament appearance in the past seven years, most recently in 2015. The last time Georgia advanced to the Sweet 16 was 1996.
Last season ended in the SEC Tournament, Kentucky dishing the Bulldogs a 62-49 defeat, leaving Georgia 18-15 and leading to Mark Fox’s dismissal.
Crean has opened eyes by saying he plans to recruit head-to-head with Kentucky coach John Calipari, but no amount of talent will change his philosophy on the importance of mental toughness.
“No matter where the talent is, it’s only going to be as good as its ability to play under pressure,” Crean said. “The ability to get better and play through fatigue, and overcome difficulties, all those things that coaches talk about.”
Crean, who previously coached at Indiana and Marquette, said he likes what he has seen so far.
“They are very hungry to learn, there’s no question about that,” Crean said. “Mark [Fox] did a great job of bringing in young people that care and are hard workers, and that’s been really good.
“ It’s been exciting to watch how much they are around. Being in the office late at night, we’re seeing guys going in and out of the practice gym.”