ATHENS — Anthony “Antman” Edwards is already living up to his nickname in Georgia basketball offseason workouts.
While Edwards has yet to lift 50 times his bodyweight — as ants are reputed to be capable of — he has impressed Bulldogs head coach Tom Crean.
“We vertical jump tested the other day, and with no training he jumped 42 inches,” Crean said on Thursday’s SEC coaches teleconference.
“We do a bike sprint test at the end of a full workout — how quick can you get a half mile in on a stationary bike — and he gets it in 50 seconds,” Crean said. “Our strength coaches have never seen anything like it, and he never stands up, he sits on the bike, he’s so strong and powerful.”
That’s just the beginning of why Edwards, a true freshman from Atlanta’s Holy Spirit Prep, was recently projected as the No. 1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft.
Crean, who developed two top-five NBA picks while at Marquette (Dwyane Wade) and Indiana (Victor Oladipo), made it clear there’s work to be done.
“We have to get him better every day,” Crean said. “He has so much natural talent and strength and ability, but at the same time, there’s a lot to learn, there’s a lot to improve upon, there are a lot of new habits to create.”
Crean helped Nicolas Claxton develop into an NBA draft pick in one year.
Crean helped Claxton, a UGA legacy player, learn to play more on the perimeter while improving his numbers. Claxton went from 3.9 points and 3.9 rebounds per game as a freshman to 13 points and 8.6 rebounds last season, earning All-SEC honors in the process.
Crean said Edwards is showing the same sort of work ethic that Claxton displayed en route to becoming the first pick of the second round in this year’s NBA Draft.
“(Edwards) is doing a good job,” Crean said. “He’s competitive and he works very hard. He’s in the gym on his own a lot, and he’s diligent.
“As long as he really keeps that up, we’ll stay on a good path with him.”