Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean stressed the importance of remaining flexible and taking care of family amid the coronavirus.
The SEC tournament was canceled on Thursday morning shortly before a Bulldogs’ team meeting in preparation for a game scheduled against Florida in the afternoon at Bridgestone Arena.
“The bottom line for the team is this is such an incredible and tumultuous time for everybody,” Crean said on a Thursday teleconference.
“The most important thing they can learn from all of this is that when they are responsible for their families someday, that they will always put their safety, their health, and their well-being in front of everything.
“That’s what we’re doing throughout the world.”
SEC commissioner Greg Sankey held a press conference earlier in the day, explaining the cancellation of the tournament and the suspension of spring sports competition across the league.
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Crean said Georgia would return to Athens via airplane on Thursday night.
“The most important thing we can have right now is flexibility, and understand the fluidity that things are constantly changing,” Crean said. “And be thankful for our health, and keep trying to take care of ourselves and those around us as much as we can.”
Crean said the players were likely “stunned” at the time of the announcement, but they were all aware of the NBA players who reportedly tested positive for the virus.
“We just try to treat it for what it is, that none of us really know, things are happening so fast, they are seeing things coming up every couple of minutes,” Crean said.
“The bottom line is they have to have time to process it, but I want them to process it from the place of being flexible. We’re not bringing closure to anything right now. We don’t know what’s next in basketball, just like we don’t know what’s next in the world.
“Let’s make sure we understand that these decisions are made for not only for our short-term health, but our long-term health, and the potential of that for so many other people.”
Crean acknowledged that Georgia is eligible for the NIT tournament with a .500 record after its 81-63 win over Ole Miss on Wednesday.
But he stressed the open and fluid nature of the team’s season and future.
Indeed, hours after his teleconference all NCAA championship events through spring semester were cancelled and UGA suspended classes for two weeks.
“There’s no way we can bring closure to this right now, it’s all happening too fast,” Crean said. “Right now, things are changing so rapidly, that the only thing you can do is be flexible, open-minded and trust, and that’s what we have to do.”
Crean said he’s not sure of the Georgia basketball plans for next week.
“I think any situation right now, it would be a mistake to get anywhere past the rest of the day,” Crean said. ” ….. There’s all kinds of things coming out right now changing recruiting, and things of that nature, we just have to stay fluid as coaches.
“As a leader, I have to make sure I’m getting the best information I can get and bring it in to them. It would be too hypothetical for me to look past where we’re at today.”
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