ATHENS — Coach Tom Crean liked what he saw from Anthony Edwards during Georgia’s walk-through Monday morning.
But the Bulldogs’ fans and Crean liked Edwards’ performance the final four minutes in Monday night’s game with Georgia Southern even more in a 73-64 victory.
Edwards had 23 points on 10-of-20 shooting, hitting his final five shots in the game’s final four minutes as Georgia pulled away.
“I told him, that’s because his approach today, he had probably the best walkthrough he has had,” Crean said. “And he hasn’t been bad at all, but there’s certain days that there’s just more of a locked-in motor and he was really locked in and he was flying around this afternoon.
“In the second half when it was winning time, he was fantastic.”
Edwards is the leading freshman scorer in the nation and a projected Top 5 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Edwards, however, has maintained a playful nature and refreshing level of humility.
Monday night, the 18-year-old from Atlanta brushed aside the notion he took over the game and credited coaches and teammates.
“I can’t really say I took over the game, (because) I’ve got players like Toumani (Camara), Sahvir [Wheeler] and coaches like Coach [Chad] Dollar, who scouted the team and gave us the plan to beat them,” Edwards said.
“He did very well in that. My teammates, my brothers, did great finding me. We did great finding them. We just had fun and got a team win.”
Edwards was asked about the lower body injury Crean mentioned earlier this week that he has been dealing with.
The injury, Edwards said, is his hip.
“You can’t be great if you do not play through injuries,” Edwards said. “Ever since you start playing sports, you are going to be injured, you are not going to be 100%.
“I have to push through it and my team needs me. I need my team. We need each other, so I have to fight for them.”
Crean said the team will return to practice on Dec. 27 in preparation for its next game, next Monday at home against Austin Peay.
The NCAA mandates the players get three days off.
Edwards explained he’ll use the holiday break to see his family and get back in the gym after his 2-of-8 shooting performance beyond the arc on Monday.
“Me, definitely I am going to get in the gym, I mean, I will be in the gym tomorrow (Tuesday) morning working,” Edwards said. “You can always get better. I am going to enjoy this time off with my family because I do not get to go home a lot because we practice all day long. I am going to enjoy this time with my family and my dog.
“(Christmas) I might go in the morning, early morning.”
It’s that sort of work ethic that has enabled Edwards to maximize his notable skills and athleticism.
Anthony Edwards & Toumani Camara