Anthony Edwards committed to Georgia on Monday morning at Holy Spirit Academy in Atlanta, marking the first major victory of Tom Crean’s tenure at Georgia and the highest-profile commitment in the history of the program. A consensus top-five recruit, Edwards was recently named a McDonald’s All-American and is one of the prospects in the early mix to be selected No. 1 in the 2020 NBA draft. While his stay at Georgia will almost surely not be a long one, the ripple effect of his commitment, in a best-case scenario, could be long-lasting.
For all the talent the Atlanta area has produced in recent years, Georgia basketball—about 90 minutes down the road in Athens—has not had it easy on the recruiting trail. Even in a region rich with basketball talent, the Bulldogs under Mark Fox rarely struck it big locally, with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope the only McDonald’s All-American to commit over the course of nine seasons, and Georgia made the tournament just twice. In recent years, the likes of Jaylen Brown and Collin Sexton (to name a couple) got away. And when Georgia brought in Crean to run the show last spring, his lack of personal ties to the area were, on some level, a concern.
Enter Edwards, who Crean and his staff will hope generates a wave of recruiting momentum that extends beyond the year he’ll spend in Athens. After canceling a weekend visit to Florida State—which had been considered the favorite for Edwards’s commitment—signs began pointing to Georgia, with Kentucky also on the final list. Edwards reclassified up from 2020 to 2019 back in November, with every blueblood on his trail. Naturally, it’s a massive victory for the Bulldogs.
Listed at 6'5" and 215 pounds, Edwards possesses a rare blend of strength, speed and body control. He’s at his best with the ball in his hands and can be expected to shoulder a heavy load of shots right off the bat next season. It’s likely Georgia will place the ball in his hands and let him effectively play point guard, where he creates an immediate matchup problem for most opponents. He’s a capable playmaker and a terrific finisher around the rim, and he has flashed promise shooting from the perimeter as well. Edwards grew up playing more football than basketball and still needs some polish when it comes to decision-making, but his sheer physical ability is rare and will make him an instant-impact player. From an NBA standpoint, it’s still early in his development, but it’s evident he has all the talent to be great.
Georgia had two four-star recruits already in the fold in Jaykwon Walton and Toumani Camara. With sophomore big man Nic Claxton expected to return, it will be positioned as a potential tournament team in 2020. Landing Edwards is a colossal coup for the program, and if more elite talent begins to follow suit, the Bulldogs will be firmly on the map from a national perspective.