Georgia basketball: Tyree Crump benefiting the most from Tom Crean

ATHENS, GA - FEBRUARY 17: Tyree Crump #4 of the Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images)
ATHENS, GA - FEBRUARY 17: Tyree Crump #4 of the Georgia Bulldogs. (Photo by Mike Comer/Getty Images) /

Georgia basketball is 5-3 so far with new coach Tom Crean. The Dawgs have scored at least 80 points four times this year, something that only happened six times all last season.

When Tom Crean arrived in Athens, he passionately made a lot of promises and guarantees. He was going to make Georgia basketball relevant again. Recruiting was going to pick up. The brand of basketball at UGA was going to improve. Most of the promises were things that we wouldn’t see come true for a few years while he signed his players and instilled his system.

But he did make one promise that was more immediate. He told us that his Georgia basketball teams would shoot threes very well, as all of his teams have. That was certainly a welcomed promise as Mark Fox always signed good shooters, but they never shot well when they arrived in Athens.

Last year’s team shot .318 from beyond the arc, down from .325 the year before, and .368 from the 2015-16 team. Only twice did a Mark Fox coached Georgia team ever shoot above .350 outside the arc for a season. Crean’s Indiana teams regularly shot over .400. Only two of his Indiana teams shoot below .350 after his program recovered from the sanctions he inherited.

Through eight games in 2018, Georgia’s three-point shooting isn’t at the caliber Crean expects from his teams. But one player on Georgia’s roster is at that level, Tyree Crump. And Crump isn’t just shooting well this year, his numbers have climbed considerably from his first two years on campus.

Crump has appeared in all eight games, but has only started one, yet he’s taken the most three pointers with 39 attempts. He’s sunk 18 of those attempts for a solid .462 average. It’s clear that Crump is benefiting the most from Crean’s coaching. As a sophomore last year, Crump shot .331 on 133 attempts. As a freshman, his average was .328.

Crump arrived in Athens without a lot of hype because of his outside shooting. The four-star, no. 75 ranked player in the nation from Bainbridge High School shot .460 from beyond the arc as a senior. In four years of varsity play, he scored a total of 2,209 points. To say his shooting efforts as a freshman and sophomore were a disappointment is an understatement. But it also shows how valuable coaching is in college, even for something as routine as shooting.

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Three-point shooting isn’t all Crump has improved under Crean’s guidance. His overall field goal percentage is .491 right now, a .142-point increase from last season. At the free throw line, he was one of Georgia’s better shooters last season, but his average was still just .756, he’s shooting .842 at the stripe this year. As of now, Tyree Crump is the biggest success story of the early Tom Crean era.