ON AIR NOW

LISTEN NOW

Weather

cloudy-day
72°
Partly Cloudy
H 69° L 45°
  • cloudy-day
    72°
    Current Conditions
    Partly Cloudy. H 69° L 45°
  • cloudy-day
    46°
    Morning
    Partly Cloudy. H 69° L 45°
  • cloudy-day
    52°
    Afternoon
    Cloudy. H 56° L 42°
National Govt & Politics
As Trump denies wrongdoing, pace of Russia probe quickens
Close

As Trump denies wrongdoing, pace of Russia probe quickens

As Trump denies wrongdoing, pace of Russia probe quickens
Photo Credit: Jamie Dupree

As Trump denies wrongdoing, pace of Russia probe quickens

Even as President Donald Trump again denounced the investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 elections and any ties to his campaign as a 'witch hunt,' federal prosecutors on Monday reached a plea bargain agreement with a Russian woman accused of illegal political activity in the U.S., and the Special Counsel's office prepared to reveal details of alleged lies by former Trump campaign manager Paul Manafort.

The federal judge overseeing Manafort's case suddenly scheduled a status hearing for Tuesday afternoon, as Robert Mueller's office is expected to publicly file a redacted version of a report on what lies the government claims that Manafort told investigators, even after agreeing to cooperate with the Russia investigation.

As he did with earlier procedural actions in a Washington federal courtroom, Manafort waived his right to be at the Tuesday hearing, again saying the time involved in being transported from prison to the D.C. courthouse was not worth the effort.

While Manafort suddenly had a Tuesday court hearing scheduled, there were new developments on Monday in the case of 29 year old Maria Butina, who has been jailed since July, charged with illegal political activity in the United States, amid questions related to her ties to the National Rifle Association and the GOP.

It was not immediately apparent what was involved in Butina's change of heart, as a federal judge set a plea hearing for Wednesday afternoon, several hours after the scheduled sentencing in New York for former Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen.

Democrats continued Monday to raise questions about Butina and the NRA, as well as the broader issue of whether Russian money was funneled through the NRA and into the 2016 campaign for President.

"Maria Butina is set to plead guilty based on her efforts to influence American politics through the NRA," said Rep. Ted Deutch (D-FL). "There is still a lot we don’t know about the NRA’s campaign spending and connections to the Kremlin."

"Another bad day for Individual-1 and his inner circle," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT).

Back in 2015, Butina happened to appear at a Q&A session with then candidate Donald Trump, and asked him a question about U.S. relations with Russia.

The Butina case was not brought by Mueller, but instead by the U.S. Attorney for Washington, D.C. - but it still could have an overall impact on the investigation into Russian influence in the 2016 campaign.

Meanwhile, a still secret court case - which observers believe involves the Special Counsel's office - continues to push its way through a federal appeals court in Washington.

Known officially as "In re: Grand Jury Subpoena," the case is one of two which has attracted attention from those interested in the Mueller investigation.

Read More

Local News

  • There is a chance of rain and thunderstorms for Athens and northeast Georgia. The threat of severe weather, apparently diminishing overnight, nonetheless leads several school districts in south Georgia—Albany among them—to cancel classes for the day.  From Channel 2 Action News… There are several metro Atlanta counties under a Tornado Watch early Friday morning as a line of storms and rain move into the area. Severe Weather Team 2 has been tracking the system all week as it moved through the country. The Tornado Watch has been issued for Troup, Meriwether, Pike and Upson counties.
  • The University of Georgia gymnastics team begins competition in the NCAA Finals: the Gym Dogs are taking part in the tournament set for this weekend in Fort Worth Texas.  “We’re peaking at the right time,” says Georgia coach Courtney Kupets Carter. Oklahoma is ranked first going into the tournament. UGA is eighth.
  • A Newton County fine arts teacher faces two felonies for allegedly sexually assaulting students last month, authorities said. Christopher Ehren Matyas, born in 1980, of Covington, was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of sexual assault by persons with supervisory or disciplinary authority, according to a sheriff’s office arrest report. He was a teacher at Alcovy High School, and both school employees and students reported the alleged sexual assaults on March 22, according to the police report obtained by Channel 2 Action News. Newton County School District spokeswoman Sherri Davis sent the news station a statement that said, in part:  “School officials launched an investigation and immediately reported the allegations to local law enforcement. Mr. Matyas was removed from the classroom setting and placed on leave during the course of the investigation. He will not return to the classroom.” He’s out of jail on a $16,700 bond, records show.
  • A White County judge denies bond for Mitch Simpson. The former Cleveland car dealer closed his auto lot earlier this year; he was arrested in March on theft charges.From WSB TV…   A north Georgia car dealer was denied bond Thursday in what’s now being described as a more than $2 million fraud and theft case, prompted by a Channel 2 investigation. Mitch Simpson was arrested and charged with three counts of felony theft by conversion late last month. They were tied to unpaid state vehicle taxes in which nearly 60 buyers say they paid Mitch Simpson Motors for their purchases, but their TAVT taxes were left unpaid and their titles were never delivered. Those purchases spanned a time period between late 2018 and early 2019, right before the Cleveland dealership shut its doors, and the buyers came to Channel 2 after unsuccessful attempts to contact Simpson. Soon the Georgia Department of Revenue began working with the White County Sheriff’s Office and state Attorney General’s Office to investigate the case. On Thursday, the Georgia DOR filed two additional theft charges in the case and argued against bond in Simpson’s case. A prosecutor revealed a much larger, complex case while highlighting Simpson’s 2011 federal conviction in a car loan scam. He served probation in the case, while several other co-defendants went to federal prison. In addition to $385,000 in unpaid vehicle taxes that were collected, prosecutors say Simpson failed to pay multiple floor planning companies $780,000 for vehicles they financed. Those companies essentially act as a bank for car dealerships, lending them the money to provide inventory on car lots. In a third tier of the ongoing investigation, prosecutors allege Simpson double and sometimes triple-financed the same vehicle through the lenders, pocketing about $1.3 million. Simpson’s attorney hit back at those allegations after a state investigator told the court Simpson’s personal bank records had been subpoenaed but not yet analyzed. Search warrants netted titles and documents from Simpson’s Habersham County home, as investigators say evidence was taken out of the car dealership building. “He has a compelling story, and there are certainly issues with the state’s case,” defense attorney Jeff Wolff told Channel 2 investigative reporter Nicole Carr. Wolff highlighted in court that Simpson simply managed the namesake lot and that it was owned by his former in-laws.  No one else has been charged in the case, and employees of McGregor Financial, the dealership’s in-house financing company, have cooperated with investigators. They’ve maintained their role was financing and Simpson had access to accounts and paid the bills, according to investigators’ testimony. “It was an underfunded business,” Wolff said. “And that’s a large gap between an underfunded business and criminal enterprise.” About a half-dozen friends and family members served as character witnesses for Simpson, arguing against a notion that he’d serve as a flight risk in this case. Perhaps his strongest supporter was his 86-year-old mother, Elsie Hogan, who said Simpson never had a desire to leave his north Georgia roots, even when he faced trouble in his earlier federal case. “He says he’ll never fly until he gets his wings and goes to heaven,” Hogan said. Hogan also revealed she’d used yard sale money to pay for Simpson’s heart medication while he was in jail. She pushed back against any suggestion that he’d profited from stolen car lot funds. “He has no money at all. He has nothing. He has nothing, sir,” Hogan said, answering Wolff’s questions. Nonetheless, Superior Court Judge Joy Parks ruled against bond in the case, citing the complexity and seriousness of the newly-revealed allegations. A grand jury is set to convene in June. The good news for Simpson’s car buyers is that they are receiving their titles. Fifty-three of the car buyers affected are from Georgia, and the state says it worked with those floor planning companies to get the missing titles. “We've been able to obtain 52 (titles) with the help of the Attorney General's Office. It's been a great win for us,” said Josh Waites, director of special investigations for the Georgia Department of Revenue. The department says it continues to receive complaints tied to purchases from Simpson. Outside of court, car buyers Paul Cleiman and Justin Mathis thanked Channel 2 for exposing the case. Both men have either received titles or expect them any day after four months of uncertainty. “It’s been a long battle,” said Mathis. “We appreciate you, Nicole. We wouldn’t be here today without you.” 'I don’t think it was getting any attention until you stepped in and got the Department of Revenue involved,” Cleiman said. “We need justice, and I think that’s been served today for now.”

Bulldog News

  • ATHENS — Georgia football coach Kirby Smart has made it clear there are plenty of questions to be answered this spring. The Bulldogs’ annual G-Day Game will provide an opportunity for the viewing public to have a look for themselves and come to their own opinions. RELATED: G-Day Game, Time, TV, Radio information “I think we’ve got a really good football team coming back,” Smart said. “I think we’ve got an exciting team.” Georgia brings back one of the deepest, most talented teams in the nation and is among the favorites to contend for the SEC Championship in addition to a national championship. Here are 5 things to watch for in the G-Day Scrimmage on Saturday at Sanford Stadium The quarterbacks Football is a game that demands we follow the ball, and it all starts in the quarterbacks’ hands, hence their place as the most visible player on the team. Georgia’s situation is clear-cut with Jake Fromm returning as a third-year starter and Heisman Trophy contender. Fromm has been mentoring early enrollee D’Wan Mathis, a 6-foot-6, athlete who has run a 10.8-second time in the 100 meters and can throw a football 70 yards, by Fromm’s account. UGA also has Stetson Bennett, a former walk-on in the program who knows the offense, went away from college for a year, and has returned as a signee intent on winning the backup job. The offense Like most spring scrimmages, G-Day is set up for the offense to win with no-contact jerseys on the quarterbacks, and defenders taking extra care not tackle as aggressively as they might in regular-season games. Still, the personality of a team can show through, and many will be tuned in just to see how the offense looks under new coordinator James Coley. The run-pass balance shouldn’t be scrutinized as much as new formations, the amount of tempo UGA players with and how different players are used. Georgia’s not going to give away the 2019 game plan, by any means, but there could be some new base plays introduced. The newcomers Georgia has 14 early enrollees, most of whom will be playing in the G-Day Game. The outside linebacker position is filled with competition after the additions of Nolan Smith and Jermaine Johnson. Smith was the No. 1 overall recruit in the 2019 signing class, while Johnson was the No. 1 junior college recruit. Both are explosive playmakers, to the extent that Smart made a “superman” reference to their ability to stand out. There are other rising stars to look for, such as inside linebacker Nakobe Dean and defensive backs Tyrique Stevenson, D.J. Daniel and Lewis Cine. The receivers Again, Georgia is not going to reveal the game plan, but there’s a good chance Fromm will look for some of his favorite targets early in the scrimmage. The Bulldogs lost four of their top five pass catchers from a season ago, and work is in progress to ensure there’s no drop-off. Receiver J.J. Holloman is the leading returning receiver on the team and has made spectacular catches in earlier scrimmages as shown on released UGA highlight footage. Fellow receivers Tyler Simmons and Demetris Robertson will factor in heavily, and Smart has been impressed with Matt Landers. It wouldn’t be surprising to see tight ends Charlie Woerner and John FitzPatrick targeted often, as UGA looks to replace Isaac Nauta and transfer Luke Ford. The crowd Georgia fans could be challenged by the threat of weather, but most don’t need much of an excuse to make a trip to Athens. One of the top college towns in the nation, The Classic City has several great places to eat and visit. Thus, even with the possibility of rain, the Bulldogs should draw the largest spring   game crowd among the SEC schools this season. Alabama currently has drawn the most, with 62,000 at its “A-Day Game.” The post 5 Georgia football things to watch at G-Day Game appeared first on DawgNation.
  • In case you missed it, the Bulldogs signed the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect in the class of 2019. Georgia native Nolan Smith enrolled in January with 13 other members of the #NewBreed19 and #K19 class. The 6-foot-3, 225-pound OLB turned 18 that month, too. He is set to suit up for Georgia for the first time this Saturday in front of a welcoming Sanford Stadium crowd for G-Day. There have been a lot of impressive things said about Smith this spring. There was what coach Kirby Smart said early on in spring drills, what promising sophomore OL Jamaree Salyer said at the median of those workouts and even what Smart said last week. “Nolan plays hard all the time,” Smart said this week. “He doesn’t always play smart but he plays with great effort and does a good job.” Nolan Smith has never been seen as the strong and silent type coming up as a high school prospect. He’s always a ball of energy. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) When Smart said just that, he said a lot. Those words, when filtered through years of listening to coaches cut block the hype train for promising young players, did mean something. The “Georgia Way” means not too much. Not too soon. Earn it first. Especially for highly-regarded players who have yet to do anything at all in the Southeastern Conference. Smith is not going to leap tall buildings in single bound or take down The Night King in Week 1 at Vanderbilt, but he is going to help Georgia in 2019. Of that, it seems fairly certain. Getting to know this Nolan Smith fella from Savannah  To mark his first game (ahem: scrimmage) week, we thought it would be a good time to share a sliver of the reporting that will be part of a larger profile DawgNation is planning for a large number of the 2019 signees this spring. The former 5-star recruit from IMG Academy ( by way of his native Savannah) certainly does leave an impression on anyone who comes into contact with him. That’s been true since this reporter first came into contact with him in his sophomore year. Here’s the simple premise: We asked 12 people who have grown to know Smith fairly well to come up with the five best words they would use to describe him. They all fit somewhere into the Smith story. Most were able to come up with five words to describe the former 5-star recruit. Some needed a few more. They stuck to five words or five phrases. It was fun, but it also fits the time span. Those few seconds it takes to describe Smith in one of those five words will very likely mirror the amount of time he will make his mark snap-by-snap at Georgia. RELATED: Check out the DawgNation conversation with 5-star UGA signee Nolan Smith Getting to know Nolan Smith: The 5-words (mostly) edition Nolan Smith grew up in the state of Georgia. He feels that the state of Georgia helped make him what he is today. The Georgia boy suits up and plays inside Sanford Stadium for the first time in front of DawgNation on Saturday. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation) Let’s say this just once: Smith inspires very clear opinions in those who meet him for the first time. Not to mention those who have been a big part of their life and seen him become a supporting character in their own lives. Former IMG Academy teammate (and Penn State freshman) Noah Cain: “ Energetic. Worker. Pusher. Physical. Bright bright future.”   Former IMG Academy teammate and rising senior Lejond Cavazos: “Crazy. Loud. Atrocious. Beast. Superhuman. Different.”   IMG Academy Media Relations Manager Johnny Esfeller: “Determined. Observant. Discerning. Ambitious. Intelligent.”   Auburn freshman OL Keiondre Jones: “ Outgoing. Different. Well-spoken. Freak. Wow. Special.”   IMG Academy defensive line coach Ernie Logan: “Competitor. Compassionate. ‘Dawg. Intense. Opinionated.”    Former IMG teammate (and FSU freshman) Jaleel McRae: “Brother for life. Leader on and off a field. Different. First rounder or first overall pick. Joker. Character.”   Former IMG teammate (and Alabama freshman) Evan Neal: “Annoying. Aggravating. Little brother. Joker. My guy. Cool people.”   Auburn freshman LB Owen Pappoe: “Animal. Athletic. Huge playmaker. Goofy. Good dude.”   4-star former IMG teammate Michael Redding III: “Crazy. Very crazy. Energetic. Cocky. Loud.”   His mother Chakeima Thompson:  “Lovable. Caring. Leader. Smart. Talkative.”   5-star UGA signee Travon Walker: “ Charismatic. Gregarious. Upbeat. Outgoing. Positive.”   IMG Academy football coach Kevin Wright: “Competitive. Charismatic. Talented. Intelligent. Bursting with opinions on everything.”   Check all of those qualities? See anything repetitive? It sure seems like Smith has always had that ‘Dawg in him. The post Who is this Nolan Smith? Those who know him best break him down in five words appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Nakobe Dean is looking forward to Saturday’s G-Day Game. The freshman linebacker from Mississippi always looks forward to football. It’s the most relaxed and stress-free part of his existence. Academics are a different story. It’s not that he struggles academically. Dean quite famously is an honors student who had his pick of college destinations whether or not he was rated the No. 1 inside linebacker in America. It’s that Dean is an academic perfectionist. That can be problematic when one graduates from high school early and chooses to major in engineering while also earning snaps with the No. 1 defense for a Top 5 football team. The combination therein tends drive up the stress factor just a bit. “The biggest issue he’s got right now is he is stressed beyond all measure with the academics,” said Brad Boyette, Dean’s coach at Horn Lake High School in Mississippi. “He’s got a B in a class and he’s never made a B before.” Well, that last statement is not entirely true. Dean has, in fact, made a B before. It came in a seventh-grade typing class. Otherwise, it’s been straight A’s all the way through. Dean came to Georgia with the same intention, to make all A’s all the way through college. But this goal-oriented student-athlete already is experiencing some push-back on that front. First of all, he chose arguably the most rigorous major available at UGA, or any university, for that matter. Secondly, this would-be high school senior is transitioning through that while also experiencing his first college spring practice with a what’s expected to be a Top 5 team. Meanwhile, Dean’s doing all that while also trying figure out how quickest to get from Ag Hill to Driftmier Hall with 10 minutes to spare between classes. But Dean is not one one to shrug off challenges. That, Boyette said, is what that B grade represents to his former pupil. And that’s something Dean simply doesn’t shy away from. This has created some more than a little uneasiness for Georgia’s young linebacker. For Dean, there is but a thin red line between challenge and obsession. Boyette said one of UGA’s academic advisers recently met with Georgia linebackers coach Glenn Schumann to discuss the situation. “They said they had a professor who was getting two or three emails a week from (Dean), sometimes at 3 o’clock in the morning,” Boyette said with a laugh. “He’s asking if he can do this and wondering about doing that, worrying the guy to death. They told the professor, ‘Ah, that’s just Nakobe. He just wants to do good work.'” Dean definitely is doing good work on the football field. For him, Georgia football has been a relative crip course. Though the Bulldogs already are well represented at the inside linebacker position, Dean has managed to show enough and earn enough trust to get occasional reps with the No. 1 defense. Not that’s not an insignificant development considering Georgia effectively has returning starters back in Tae Crowder and Monty Rice and experienced backups in Channing Tindall, Quay Walker and several others. But between Dean’s quickness, which has been compared to Roquan Smith, and his ability to absorb the playbook, the coaches have wanted to give Dean some looks with the 1s for comparison’s sake. According to Boyette, they’ve liked what they have seen. It’s to the point now that any notion of a redshirt, a stretch though it might’ve been anyway, has all but been eliminated even before G-Day. Dean’s reaction to competition is another one of the interesting traits of his psyche. Boyette spoke of a conversation he had with Dean during the height of his recruitment back in Horn Lake, Miss., last year. He said Dean asked him why so many of the coaches coming through kept telling him they didn’t have any depth at linebacker. “I said, ‘well, they’re telling you that you’d have the opportunity to come in and play right away without a lot of competition,” Boyette recounted. “He said, ‘Coach, that’s the opposite of what I’m looking for. I want to go to a place where there’s an All-American at my position. I want to learn from that guy and practice every day until I can beat him out.” Kirby Smart must’ve thought he’d died and gone to heaven. Fun watching @KobeDean2 repping with the 1s today !!!! Keep grinding ! pic.twitter.com/vI2jht3NXF — Brad Boyette (@BradBoyette1) April 13, 2019 Boyette made the 7-hour drive from Horn Lake to Athens last Saturday and brought along with his wife Lee and teen-aged children Asa and Gabi. They came so they could watch Dean practice and spend a little time with him afterward. They hoped to ease Dean’s anxiety to whatever extent possible. “We just wanted to show him a little love and support from home,” Boyette said. “Despite all the expectations, his and other people’s, he’s still a kid away from home. He’s always trying to be just short of Superman, but being away from home and all that transition he’s going through, I know that’s tough on him.” After watching the Bulldogs scrimmage at Sanford Stadium last Saturday, the Boyettes took Dean downtown for dinner at Five Bar. Then they went back to his dorm room and just hung out and talked for a good long while. “It was nice,” Boyette said. “My wife told him, ‘Nakobe, sometimes in college you’re going to run into professors who just aren’t going to give an A to anybody, no matter how hard they work and how much they know. Just relax and do your best. And B’s are OK sometimes.'” Dean is having to make adjustments on the football field as well. Boyette said the most eye-catching thing about what he witnessed at Georgia’s scrimmage last Saturday was the size of the offensive line and “the physicality” they played with. “That just jumped out at me, how talented they are there,” Boyette said. “The SEC is a physical league, but it looks to me like they can out-physical anybody.” Dean can vouch for that. Listed at 6-foot, 220 pounds on Georgia’s roster, he often has to tangle with the Bulldogs’ offensive linemen, who average 6-5, 330. Like Smith did so well, Dean utilizes his quickness and agility to avoid locking up with the behemoths as much as possible. Sometimes, though, hand-to-hand combat is inevitable. “He had two real good collisions Saturday where he had to fit up on an offensive lineman,” Boyette said. “One, he got the better end of the deal; the other one didn’t work out so well for him. Out there with Georgia, he looks like a runt sometimes. But he plays with such leverage and he’s so explosive, I don’t think it’ll be an issue.” Boyette said he expects Dean to similarly overcome his academic challenges, such as they are. So serious did Dean take his academics as a recruiting prospect that he refused to take official visits in the fall because it would disrupt his academic routine. As soon as he can establish somewhat of a regimen on that front, Boyette believes things should smooth out considerably. In the meantime, Dean can get away from it all on the football field. The hope is that might benefit both him and the Bulldogs. “His escape right now is when he’s on the practice field,” Boyette said. “The rest of his day is just so spoken for, as far as time and assignments and studying and treatment. … He said practice is the only time during the day he feels relaxed and is not worried about three other things he ought to be doing.” Once Dean gets it all figured out, look out. The post Football remains the great escape for Georgia’s serious-minded linebacker Nakobe Dean appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia baseball clamped down on Missouri on Thursday night a Foley Field, scoring a 3-0 victory. The Bulldogs, apparently, had plenty of energy left after Tuesday night’s record-setting 3-2 win over Clemson in 20 innings. RELATED: Slap-happy Bulldogs outlast Clemson in marathon game Not that sophomore pitching ace Emerson Hancock (7-2) needed a tremendous amount of help. Hancock, who throws a 96 mph fastball, fanned 11 batters in eight inning, allowing three hits and walking none as the No. 5-ranked Bulldogs (31-8, 11-5 SEC) topped the Tiger. Zac Kristofak pitched a scoreless ninth to get the save. Georgia plays host to No. 21-ranked Missouri (26-13-1, 7-8-1) at 7 p.m. on Friday before closing the three-game set at noon on Saturday. “(Hancock) was awfully good, he threw eight innings, faced one over the minimum,” UGA coach Scott Stricklin said in a release. “ Three baserunners got on, and we got two guys off, picked one off, and threw one out stealing.” Stricklin said it was only natural his team did have some carryover fatigue from the Clemson game. “A lot of these guys had some heavy legs,” Stricken said. “We were really light on them yesterday, and we were lighter today pregame than we normally are, trying to get some of those legs back.” The Bulldogs got their bats going in the sixth inning when Tucker Maxwell led off with a bunt single, breaking up Jacob Cantelberry’s bid for a no-hitter. Riley King followed with a double to left, scoring Maxwell. LJ Talley hit an RBI sac fly and John Cable delivered a pinch-hit RBI double that made it 3-0. “Having Tucker Maxwell get that leadoff base hit was really the push we needed,” King said. “Seeing hits makes it contagious for the dugout and really got us all going.” Missouri coach Steve Bieser gave proper credit to Hancock. “Georgia’s Emerson Hancock took control and threw the ball really well all the way through the game,” Bieser said. “He kept us off-balance.” Georgia baseball notes • Hancock matched his career high with the eight shutout innings pitched and 11 strikes. His ERA dropped to a gaudy 1.04 on the season. • Kristofak has 10 career saves along with 10 career wins after working the ninth on Thursday night. Georgia baseball stats The post No. 5 Georgia baseball bats awaken in sixth, Emerson Hancock shuts down Missouri appeared first on DawgNation.
  • ATHENS — Georgia coach Tom Crean gave an assist to the Bulldogs’ fans after landing the No. 7-ranked signing group in the 2019 class. McDonald’s All-American Anthony “Antman” Edwards, the nation’s No 1-ranked shooting guard coming out of Holy Spirit Prep School in Atlanta, chose UGA in part to stay close to his loved ones. RELATED: Georgia lands Fab Four in Top 100 class, Crean says ‘we’re not done’ But Edwards was also inspired by the Bulldogs’ 98-88 upset over eventual NIT champion Texas in the SEC-Big 12 Challenge, Crean revealed. Many viewed it as Crean getting Sugar Bowl revenge on the Longhorns’ program. But Edwards also attended the game that day, and the energy that the capacity crowd brought to Stegeman Coliseum played into the elite prospect’s decision making. RELATED: Georgia basketball rips Texas 98-88 amid electric environment “I think win or lose in that game, the atmosphere was incredible, and there was a lot of passion and juice,” Crean said at his spring signing day press conference on Thursday. “The fact we did win and score those kinds of points against a team like that was helpful. “But the atmosphere in this situation was probably one of the biggest determining things.” Georgia basketball set a single season attendance record despite an 11-21 finish, and the Texas game was one of seven sellouts. The Bulldogs’ top recruits, like the fans, took note of the grit and resiliency Crean was building in close losses to NCAA teams like Auburn (78-75), Ole Miss (72-71), LSU (83-79) and Mississippi State (68-67). “Building that level of resiliency, and building that level of toughness, and that level of belief and care, that’s the same thing you’re trying to get across to recruits,” Crean said. “The fact that people could see the way we were competing and coming back time and time again, when it didn’t go as well, they see this is a team that’s improving. “We try to get across to them that we’re not recruiting to try to get in the hunt — we’re not trying to recruit to get a little bit better — we’re recruiting to be all the way in.” The Georgia basketball fans did their part as Crean and his staff was doing theirs on the recruiting trail, and it helped lead to the highest ranked recruiting class in program history. Georgia basketball coach Tom Crean The post WATCH: Tom Crean credits Georgia basketball fans with assist for Top 10 class appeared first on DawgNation.