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Georgia's Tom Crean: Loss my fault because I 'decided to keep these guys'

USA TODAY SPORTS logo USA TODAY SPORTS 2/11/2019 Gentry Estes

a man wearing a suit and tie: Feb 6, 2019; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Tom Crean reacts to his team play during the second half against Alabama Crimson Tide at Coleman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports © Provided by Gannett Co., Inc. Feb 6, 2019; Tuscaloosa, AL, USA; Georgia Bulldogs head coach Tom Crean reacts to his team play during the second half against Alabama Crimson Tide at Coleman Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports Georgia coach Tom Crean said his team's 80-64 loss to Ole Miss was his fault — just not for the reason one might think.

After Georgia fell to Mississippi for its eighth consecutive SEC loss Saturday in Crean's first season, the Bulldogs coach spoke at his postgame news conference about his team's lack of mental toughness.

It was his fault, Crean said, "because I'm the one who decided to keep these guys" after replacing fired predecessor Mark Fox at UGA.

Say what, now?

"It doesn't mean that they are not great kids," Crean said, "but very few programs when there's a takeover, when you have guys that haven't done it at any point in time really in their career, a lot of those guys, they move on. That's what happens in a job change. And I didn't do that. So I'm not going to complain. We've just got to keep doing everything we can do to fix it and make it better."

Think about what Crean is saying here, that it is basically standard in college basketball for new coaches to run off inherited players that aren't good enough. And those players — even ones that didn't want to leave — have then, of course, been subjected to NCAA transfer restrictions and even restrictions from the school itself on where the player can go.

These comments were not a good look for Crean or the sport in general, and there was an outcry, as it came across as if he were throwing his players under the bus. 

Former Kentucky standout Antoine Walker, serving as an SEC Network analyst Saturday, said Crean will lose his team over it.

"I think you lost the players," Walker said. "I think tonight it's kind of stick a fork in them. Players are not going to want to play hard for you."

Seated next to Walker, fellow SEC Network analyst and former Ole Miss head coach Andy Kennedy was more diplomatic. But even he admitted, "I don't really understand his motivation for saying it other than just being candid."

As Kennedy noted, "Sometimes you can get in trouble by being too candid."

This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Georgia's Tom Crean: Loss my fault because I 'decided to keep these guys'

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