Did Georgia Do Enough with Anthony Edwards?

Did Georgia basketball do enough with Anthony Edwards in his one year of college basketball?
May 19, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) reacts in the
May 19, 2024; Denver, Colorado, USA; Minnesota Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (5) reacts in the / Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
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Did Georgia basketball do enough with Anthony Edwards in his one year of college basketball?

The University of Georgia is predominantly known for producing professional talent on the football field from an athletics standpoint, but the Bulldogs have a star in the NBA right now. Former Georgia basketball player Anthony Edwards is now four wins away from playing in the NBA Finals and is taking the league by storm. He spent just one season at Georgia, as do most high-profile college basketball players, but did the Bulldogs make the most of his time in Athens?

Let's set the stage for the 2019-2020 college basketball season for Georgia. Tom Crean was entering his second season as head coach following Mark Fox's lengthy reign at the helm. The program was coming off of an 11-21 season with Crean, but things were looking up. Tyree Crump, Rayshaun Hammonds and Jordan Harris were some notable veteran returnees that season but the big story was the recruiting class. Crean finished with the 11th-best class in the nation which included Anthony Edwards, the number one player in the country. Georgia also signed three other four-stars in that class. It was by far the best recruiting class Georgia fans had seen in quite some time.

Crean was managing a team that was young but was nothing short of a complete roster. He had a facilitator in freshman point guard Sahvir Wheeler, Edwards carried the scoring load, Crump was a great spot-up shooter to rely on to create space, Hammonds was a modern-day stretch-four and Toumani Camara was a two-way player with a lengthy presence around the rim. The only true shortcoming of the roster was depth but a core unit of those five players should be enough to create success in the SEC.

That season, Georgia would go on to finish with a record of 16-16 and win just five games in the conference. Ten of the losses were by ten points or less so the lack of success wasn't due to a lack of talent, it more boiled down to coaching. Edwards that season averaged 19 points, 5.2 rebounds and 2.8 assists per game while shooting 40.2% from the field. He scored 20 or points 13 different times that season and the Bulldogs were 8-5 in those games.

It is fair to mention that while there wasn't much of a reason to believe it, Georgia and every other college basketball program's seasons were cut short that year due to COVID-19. If the Bulldogs were to have pulled off a historic run in the SEC tournament then we very well could be talking about Edwards' singular college season differently, and with a player like him on the roster, it very well could have happened. But the reality of the situation was Edwards did his part by committing to the G and Crean did his part of building a good enough roster around him, he just didn't execute on the court as a head coach.

Edwards is now in his fourth season in the NBA and it didn't take even a full season for fans to recognize just how special of a player he was. In fact, many were quick to compare his play style to Michale Jordan's, which Edwards quickly shot down. He's currently in the midst of a playoff run with the Minnesota Timberwolves and is a series away from competing for an NBA championship. And while it's fun for Georgia fans to watch one of their former players have a great amount of success in the league while also giving a shoutout to the Dawgs whenever he can, it's hard not to watch him and wonder what could've been during the 2019 season at the University of Georgia.

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Jonathan Williams