What has not happened for a long time – for a long time you're skeptical of what's going to happen – tomorrow morning at the gymnasium on Northside Drive. The best high school basketball player in Georgia told the world, "I'm going to Georgia."
And wait. If you are a bulldog, it becomes even better. Anthony Edwards, known as Ant-Man, is not only the highest player in this state. He studied No 1 from the sea to the shining sea. He's probably not going to be in Athens long – NBAdraft.net projects him as NBA's No. 1 general pick arrives 2020 – but even if he is on campus for only six months, the six months will change the dynamics of a program long an abject afterthought.
Tom Crean was his first time coach of Georgia, and was worse than expected. His Bulldogs are 1
"It changes everything," says Winfred Jordan, who teaches Edwards for AAU Atlanta Xpress. "It puts Georgia (ie the Bulldogs) on the map again."
Said D.A. Layne, the Georgia alum who played Wheeler High: "This is the game-changer. Even for only a year, floodgate will open after that."
Not to reverse the time of Mark Fox, but Georgia's former coach runs like the Atlanta AAU is under her. Not coincidentally, the state flagship has little luck signing on the state's leading prospects. When asked how Fox's relationship had become, Jordan struck his hands and pressed them. "Just like that," she said.
Crean is long enough to understand that the great work attraction in Georgia is not – no offense to Classic City – Athens or UGA itself. It is the proximity to one of the country's most fertile crescent of college talent. The reason why his first team was horrible was that Fox, working for nine years, was left small. Anthony Edwards, a 6-foot-4 guard, is remarkable.
Jordan says: "He's probably the best player we have in Georgia."
One person mentioned Dwight Howard and Kwame Brown, No. 1 pick in their draft: They played in Georgia. Similarly, Bill Spivey and Walt Frazier and Dale Ellis and James Banks (the UGA one, not the current Tech) and Kenny Walker and Terry Fair and Jeff Malone and Cedric Henderson and Pervis Ellison and Brian Oliver and Eric Manuel and Jeff Sheppard and Shareef Abdur-Rahim and Josh Smith and Lou Williams and Javaris Crittenton and Al-Farouq Aminu and Derrick Favors and Jaylen Brown. Wendell Carter of Pace Academy and Collin Sexton of Pebblebrook are pick pickers in June. Ashton Hagans of Newton High is the starting point guard for Kentucky, the team's No. 5 of the countries.
Jordan, a Peach State basketball storyteller said: "Anthony is at the top five."
Edwards can shoot it and hold it. He plays in a small private school, compared to a Wheeler or a Norcross – and he has not been part of the registration class of 2019 until November, when he has been categorized from junior to senior – but he leads his competition on the road you would expect. "He visited Kentucky and Duke and Kansas," Jordan says. "He could go to a bleeding, but he needed it (his year in Athens) as a development."
Is the perception, the longstanding fact – that Georgia is not among the top crust to give Edwards pause? "I want to be my own person," he said.
Suppose he sets his promise – he can not sign a letter-of-goal until April – Edwards is more than that. He will be a trailblazer. He will take the person asking for longstanding truth to play less sport in UGA, and his presence alone will make Georgia basketball related in a way that has not been since Jim Harrick. (Who to say, has their own issues.) The final game at the NCAA tournament was the Bulldogs won in March 2002, when Edwards was about to be his first birthday.
"She is enough enough she wants to leave her mark wherever she goes," says Anderson. "He is enough to leave his mark on the sport."
You know, Anderson is Lefty Driesell's new minted Hall of Famer who took Georgia State to the Big Dance and brought Mike Maloy to Davidson and Tom McMillen and Len Elmore and Len Bias to Maryland. (Almost Moses Malone, too.) Anderson is not some wild-eyed ones that have come a long way over the best players he has taught. He sees the whole floor, what, and what he says is nothing more than most scout and recruiting analysts say: Ant-Man – Edwards prefer "Ant," FYI – the real deal .
Maybe you have a problem with Georgia getting a player who would not be in town long. If you do, you can also follow the next team of Mark Fox. Crean has created that he is on the market for top-end talent, and if the top-end talent goes on a one-and-a-half way … well, that's a time when people will have speaks about Georgia basketball, about no one was speaking at all for 15 years. If the fact that Edwards was so big both as a collegian and in the draft, he would stand as a beacon of big-timers from the state that would come after him.
"It's BIG for Georgia," says Anderson, an alumni of Georgia Tech. (He played as a walk-in under Paul Hewitt.) And then: "One of the reasons Anthony's defeat to coach Crean was because he was teaching two of his favorite players" – meaning that he Dwyane Wade, led by Crean-coach Marquette the Final Four of 2003, and Victor Oladipo, who helped Indiana Hoosiers of Crean reach Sweet 16 in 2012 and 2013.
That's the way to do it. If players are thinking you can get them in the NBA, they will come for you, and big-timers will attract more time, and big time will make you a serial winner. (There's John Calipari's Writing Method.) For Tom Crean, this is just a start, but it's the best start.
The latest record of the Crean record, should say, is more delicious than Sweet 16 or even the Final Four. Asked for a prediction on Georgia basketball next season, Edwards said: "National championship."