ATHENS — Georgia basketball action started on Friday night with an Anthony “Antman” Edwards dunk.
Sure, it was only an intra-squad scrimmage, but it was exactly the sort of presage the 6,234 Bulldogs’ fans in attendance were expecting.
Edwards isn’t just one of 10 new players on the Georgia men’s basketball team, he’s THE ONE.
Already projected as an 2020 NBA Draft lottery pick, Coach Tom Crean is hoping the 6-foot-5 guard from Atlanta can be a catalyst for an NCAA Tournament run.
“I don’t really care about my personal accomplishments,” Edwards said after his 4-of-6 shooting performance in the team’s 12-minute scrimmage at Stegeman Coliseum.
“As a team, I want us to make it to the (NCAA) Tournament and go deep in it, and bring Georgia basketball back and have the most fun I can.”
The Bulldogs haven’t made the NCAA Tournament since the 2014-15 season.
Crean has brought enough hope netting a Top 5 signing class the UGA has already sold out its season ticket allotment.
“I don’t know if we’re the youngest team in the country, but we’re one of them,” Crean said. “We have to make up for that with hustle, we have to make up for it with grit, with spirit and with energy, and we have to have a crowd that’s second to none.”
Friday’s turnout was impressive considering Georgia is coming off an 11-21 season that included a 2-16 mark in league games.
Former WCW champ and Georgia All-SEC defensive lineman Bill Goldberg did his best to energize the crowd during introductions for the men’s and women’s team.
“I bleed red and black, just like all of you,” Goldberg said leading into the teams’ spotlight introductions, steam blasting as they took the court after individual introductions.
A 3-point competition, a fan interactive 3-point competition and a T-shirt toss followed, leading into Blanco Brown’s abbreviated mid-court concert.
But Edwards was the main attraction, and he said he’s prepared to handle the pressures of being the focal point this season.
“I’m always ready, I feel like I was born for it,” Edwards said. “The seniors prepared me for it, they told me there’s going to be a lot of media and stuff.”
Edwards said Crean has already helped him in many ways.
“Just learning how to play without the ball, cutting, learning to be a better point guard, watching film more, talking more and watching the game more,” Edwards said.
The Bulldogs will open the exhibition season at 7 p.m. next Friday against defending Gulf South Conference champs Valdosta State at Stegeman Coliseum. Admission is free.
The regular season begins with a Tuesday night (7 p.m.) game against Western Carolina on Nov. 5 in Athens.
Georgia’s Anthony “Antman” Edwards
Blanco Brown is lighting up Stegmania … pic.twitter.com/82HNmFkgwB
— Mike Griffith (@MikeGriffith32) October 11, 2019