UGASports - Dealing with "the noise"
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Dealing with "the noise"

WHERE: Stegeman Coliseum

WHEN: Tuesday, 6:30 p.m.

RECORDS: Georgia 5-14, 0-6; Alabama 13-6, 4-3

TV/RADIO: SEC Network (Tom Hart, Dayne Bradshaw, Alyssa Lang); Georgia Bulldog Radio Network (Scott Howard, Chuck Dowdle, Adam Gillespie)

If you’ve been on social media in recent weeks, then you know Twitter and Internet message boards have not been kind to Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean.

Losers of eight straight heading into Tuesday night’s game against visiting Alabama (6:30 p.m., SEC Network), the outside noise regarding Crean and the program is palpable.

During Monday’s Zoom session to preview the game with the Crimson Tide, Crean said he personally has not heard any of the criticism—that he stays off social media as much as he can. His only focus is to do whatever humanly possible to get his Bulldog (5-14, 0-6) a much-needed win.

“I really don’t hear it, but I’m sure it’s there, but to be completely honest with you, I don’t hear it, whether it’s social media, or those types of things,” Crean said. “It's not my first time down that road in the coaching life, and you learn from experiences. My focus is completely centered on the team and how we can get better and prepare for these games. That's the most important thing. I learned that awhile back, and I have no intention of changing it."

Junior Jaxon Etter admitted he’s heard the chatter.

However, the former Etowah standout has a bit of a different take than most. Instead of covering his ears from the noise, Etter said bring it on.

At least it shows people care.

“You know a team of our caliber, should have outside noise, it would be a bad thing if we didn’t have outside noise. That is my view on it,” Etter said. “The way Coach Crean talks about, ‘removing distractions from the game and not paying attention to social media,’ it kind of helps relieve the pressure. There is always pressure on us to win and there is obviously not as much of that going on as we would like. The pressure is there, and we just have to get the job done.”

Per Etter, it’s not for a lack of desire. Unfortunately, wanting to and doing it has been easier said than done.

That includes Saturday’s game at South Carolina when the Gamecocks put together a 24-0 run midway through the second half and Georgia lost 83-66.

“There is not a quantifiable measure for how bad this team wants to win. We play harder than any team I have ever seen, the guys compete every single day, we practice hard every single day…we want to win,” Etter said. “It’s just we have five-six stretches where it falls apart. That is what we have to get figured out. Yesterday in practice we had a little stretch of practice where we were falling apart and that is when guys had to get together and fix it, like this is what is happening in the games. Locate the issue and solve it. But I can’t quantify how much we want to win because it is high up there.”

Crean swears his confidence hasn't wavered.

When asked if he worried that keeping his team engaged might become a challenge, Georgia’s head coach said absolutely not.

“There’s still two-thirds of the conference season left. There's a lot of basketball left to be played. And the bottom line is, we are closer in a lot of areas than it may appear,” Crean said. “They have to understand that. We have to quit having ‘Groundhog Day’ as soon as something goes wrong for us. That's what we have to grow through.”