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Tom Crean thinks Sean Woods took too much criticism

Morehead State coach Sean Woods received massive amounts of criticism for the way he berated one of his players last week. The school suspended him a game for his behavior, and he apologized for his actions, which he called “inappropriate and unacceptable” in a statement.

Woods received support this week from an unlikely source — Indiana coach Tom Crean.

“I think too many people took shots at him,” Crean said of Woods on “Jim Rome on Showtime.” “As a coach, I’m not trying to defend what happened, but I wasn’t there. Really, outside of the team and that assistant coach that was in the mix with Sean, they’re the only ones that really know what was said and what transpired and what happened in practice.

“Does that condone it? No, but I think it’s so easy to verbally beat people up when we don’t understand what happened,” Crean continued.

“Has he apologized? Was he suspended and disciplined? Absolutely. Does that condone it? No, but I think people just have to let that stuff play out and know that mistakes are going to be made, let apologies be made, and let’s move on.”

People have moved on since Woods’ actions last week, but Crean’s defense is still surprising. He comes across as a man of high integrity, so even though he says he doesn’t condone it, a defense is shocking. True, we don’t know all the circumstances surrounding the verbal beatdown, but is there anything that justifies Woods’ outburst on his player? I don’t think so.

Morehead State coach Sean Woods rips into player, nearly makes him cry (Video)

Morehead State coach Sean Woods absolutely lit into one of his players during Wednesday’s 81-70 loss to Kentucky in a horrifying display.

Woods, who played college ball at Kentucky, was so harsh on Devon Atkinson for fouling out of the game, that the senior point guard nearly began crying.

Atkinson fouled out with his team down 69-61 and just under six minutes left in the game. Woods could be seen yelling, “Are you kidding me?” at Atkinson. He then shoved the senior in the back, and got in his face and began yelling.

After being separated from Atkinson by an assistant, Woods stalked the guard to the bench and continued to berate him before finally letting up.

“We’re still learning how to be basketball players,” said Woods after the game.

Woods told the media that his message to Atkinson was “calm down and figure out a way to cheer your teammates on.”

I’m not sure who’s buying that. Woods’ display was reminiscent of a no-nonsense coach like Bobby Knight, who used to berate his players and once slapped one. That sort of behavior is excessive, unprofessional, and completely unnecessary.

“It doesn’t bother us,” said forward Milton Chavis of Woods’ sideline demeanor, per KansasCity.com. “It’s coaching. You have to accept coaching as a player.”

“It doesn’t make us uncomfortable,” Drew Kelly said. “We can handle it and it makes us better.”

Who knows if the players actually believe that. It’s quite possible they’re just speaking out of fear because they believe they don’t have a choice.

Woods is a first-year coach and putting his mark on the program. We’ll see how well he does in recruiting after that display. I know that’s not the kind of style that would attract me as a player.