MACON — University of Georgia men’s basketball coach Mark Fox is cracking down on his players’ use of Twitter.
Fox said Wednesday night that he wants his players -– several of whom had become prolific tweeters -– to focus on improving the team and to avoid the “distraction” of communicating minutiae about themselves to the world in 140-character snippets.
“I want our players to focus on our team,” Fox said. “I told them, ‘Right now, I don’t want to hear a bunch of Twitter tweets and stuff like that.’ . . . The off-season is about getting better. We need to get better.”
Fox said no particular tweets triggered his Twitter crackdown, which he decreed to the team on Tuesday.
“It’s just that it’s just another distraction,” he said. “It’s just another thing. We’ve got to focus on going to school, going to work, getting better and earning the respect back for Georgia basketball. And I want more focus on that.”
Fox made his comments in an interview before speaking to a Bulldog Club meeting in Macon Wednesday night.
Asked how his players accepted the Twitter restriction, Fox said: “I don’t know if they accepted it or not, [but] that’s how it is. I haven’t completely outlawed it, but I want them to understand the importance of — see, it’s one thing when you don’t expect to be any good and I’m just trying to build confidence in you. A year ago, I was just trying to get them some confidence and pick them up off the ground. Hey, you’re off the ground now, and I expect more. And this is just part of it.”
Fox himself embraced Twitter last year as a way of communicating with Georgia fans, but his tweets became less frequent as the season — his first at UGA — progressed.
“I did it to get interest back in our program, and I will still do it some,” he said. “But I’m not going to tweet about whether I got up and shaved in the morning or what time I went to bed. It’s just too much information.
“I do think it can be an effective tool if used right, but it still comes back to: Are you working hard enough to do what’s necessary to win? And are you focused enough to do that? And that’s what I want our young people to understand.”
Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie, Georgia’s two leading scorers this past season, were among the players who posted frequently on Twitter.
After Fox informed the team of the new policy Tuesday, Thompkins tweeted: “Twitter World, don’t expect anymore interesting tweets from me and @TLeslie… Don’t ask why but there will be NONE ANYMORE!!!!”