ATHENS — Georgia basketball is officially a Top 10 team — in recruiting — and Tom Crean’s vision is to translate that to the court next season.
The Bulldogs, coming off an 11-21 campaign in Crean’s first year at the helm, have four top 100-ranked players in the 2019 class, including the two signees on Wednesday.
The class ranks No. 7 overall in the nation according to the 247Sports composite, and it’s third in the SEC behind Kentucky (No. 2) and Florida (No. 6).
It’s a “Fab Four” to be sure, like nothing Georgia basketball has seen before, and Crean made clear it’s not done yet.
“We don’t have a set number right now, we know we’d like to add some size and add someone else in the backcourt, we have to make sure we’re not a guard short,” said Crean, who has three scholarships left available.
“There’s so many different ways to look at recruiting. It’s not only the available seniors, the (transfer) portal changes every 15 minutes,” He said. “But to be at this point with these four is a great feeling.”
Georgia basketball guard Anthony “Antman” Edwards, the top-ranked shooting guard in the 2019 class, officially signed on Tuesday out of Holy Spirit Prep School in Atlanta.
“I became interested in Georgia the minute Tom Crean was hired,” Edwards told DawgNation. “I like Coach’s energy, and you look at the players he has produced.”
The 6-foot-4 Edwards is rated the No. 1 recruit in the nation by 247Sports, and he’s ranked No. 2 by the USA Today and rivals.com.
Edwards scored 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting with three assists, two rebounds and a blocked shot in the McDonald’s All-American Game in Atlanta’s State Farm Arena last month.
Christian Brown, a 6-foot-6 small forward out of basketball powerhouse Oak Hill Academy, also signed with Georgia on the first day of the spring signing period.
Brown is ranked No. 61, No. 62 and No. 63 by ESPN.com, rivals.com and the 247Sports composite, respectively.
Georgia already had two Top 100 signees on board from the early signing period.
Jaykwon Walton, out of Montgomery, Ala., and 6-6 forward Toumani Camara out of Hollywood, Fla., round out the highest ranked UGA basketball recruiting class in modern history.
“You have to keep making sure you are getting skill players in recruiting, as in any league, but the level of athleticism and guys that can get their own shots in the SEC is so impressive,” Crean said, “and I’ve never been a league that rebounds like this from top to bottom.”
Georgia has had some of the offseason attrition one might expect during a program makeover.
Guard Teshaun Hightower, Ignas Sargiunas and JoJo Toppin have announced their intentions to transfer.
There was plenty of natural attrition, as well. Seniors William “Turtle” Jackson (guard), Derek Ogbeide (forward), Mike Edwards (forward), Connor O’Neill (forward), E’Torrion Wilridge (forward) and Christian Harrison (guard) exhausting their eligibility.
“The biggest message to the staff was we are not going to rush anything in recruiting,” Crean said earlier this spring. “We have to get people who will impact the program and establish it with the guys who are here.”
The Bulldogs are also looking for a new assistant coach after Amir Abdur-Rahim left the staff to become the head coach at Kennesaw State.
“He has done a fantastic job …. working with him on a day to day basis, someone that impacted not only the staff, but our current players and recruiting, was huge,” Crean said. “The only thing that will be constant in college basketball is change. I and we are so proud of him and happy for him.
“It’s a loss for us, but it’s a gain for his professional career and we’re excited for him.”