Georgia Basketball: Freshmen Beginning to Mature Fast
The Georgia Bulldogs improved to 6-2 on the season after routing North Carolina Central, 95-59. Outside of the regular performers like Rayshaun Hammonds, Tyree Crump, and Donnell Gresham Jr., the game was controlled by Georgia's talented freshmen group.
First, lets address the elephant in the room in Anthony Edwards. As expected, Edwards is continuing to ball-out beyond expectations, scoring 21 points and assisting 4 times in just 26 minutes of action.
While it should be a given that a Top-3 NBA Draft prospect dominates the game against a mid-major program, the take away here is that Edwards is beginning to find his rhythm, which shows his game is maturing.
All while being “banged up” according to Tom Crean.
Against Georgia Tech, Edwards shot just 33.3% from the field, and he followed that up with a 20% field goal percentage against Dayton in Maui. As some started to lose faith in Edwards' game, his shooting percentages drastically increased over the last three-game stand:
#3 Michigan State: 11-26, 42.3 FG%
Chaminade: 8-17, 47.1 FG%
NC Central: 8-15, 53.3 FG%
While his efficiency isn't draw-dropping, it's clear to see Edwards has more confidence in his shooting. Georgia will certainly need his recent scoring surges as the team's next two games are against potential resume-builders in Arizona State and SMU.
It wasn't just "Ant-Man" getting it done for the Bulldogs either.
Due to Amanze Ngumezi serving a suspension, true freshman, Rodney Howard got his first career start. Howard saw 15 minutes of action, and put up 4 points as well as 4 boards on the night. With Howard being the biggest player on the team, it's important that Tom Crean gives him valuable experience for when Georgia faces longer teams.
Freshman point guard, Sahvir Wheeler has been active for the Bulldogs since game one, and he kept his momentum going on Wednesday night. While he only came up with 4 points, he did his part as the floor general, leading the team with 6 assists. Wheeler's ability to change the pace of the game has made him a weapon off of the bench for Georgia.
With the lack of size in the post at the moment, Georgia turned to freshmen, Toumani Camara and Mike Peake to step-up and provide depth off of the bench, as the two combined for 13 points and 9 rebounds. Camara and Peake bring intensity and aggression to the floor, which fits Crean's scheme of pushing the ball up the court.
The surprise performance of the night came from freshman, Christian Brown, who nearly posted a double-double. Brown, one of the coveted gets in the 2019 class, posted 11 points and 8 rebounds in just 15 minutes of action. Brown is just scratching the surface of his potential, as his role in the game seems to grow each time out. Eventually, Brown will become one of the key players on this Georgia basketball team, but for now enjoy watching him get better game-in and game-out.
It takes time to make the switch from high school to college basketball because of the difference in game speed. What matters is how fast the players can mature to make the switch. Georgia has only played eight games this season, but with the big minutes the freshmen are seeing, their maturity levels are steadily rising.