ATHENS — Former Georgia basketball star Anthony “Antman” Edwards enjoyed a successful NBA debut on Wednesday night, concluding in his playful manner “It’s not that hard.”
Edwards, the No. 1 overall pick of the NBA draft to Minnesota, scored 15 points with four rebounds and four assists in the Timberwolves’ season-opening 111-101 win over Detroit.
— Georgia Basketball (@UGABasketball) December 24, 2020
The former Atlanta high school product, who stayed home and helped Georgia basketball set a single-season attendance record en route to a 16-16 season, put his NBA performance into perspective.
“It’s not that hard to be honest, coming out of being double-teamed in college,” Edwards told Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. “Even if it’s a lot of defensive attention, it’s still easier.
“You can’t double all game. We got too many shooters.”
Edwards: “It’s not that hard to be honest, coming out of being double-teamed in college. … Even if it’s a lot of defensive attention, it’s still easier. You can’t double all game. We got too many shooters.”
— Jon Krawczynski (@JonKrawczynski) December 24, 2020
Edwards’ early success is the sort of thing Georgia coach Tom Crean predicted for last year’s SEC Freshman of the Year.
Edwards drew praise from teammate and former first-round NBA pick D’Angelo Russell earlier in the preseason, even after a 2-of-9 shooting performance in the 25 minutes he played in the preseason opener against Memphis.
D’Angelo Russell on Anthony Edwards: “I like his game. He doesn’t force it. He’s trying to make the right play out there. He’s getting to his spots. He wasn’t making shots and that’s an adjustment but he’s got some flavor to him.”
— Chris Hine (@ChristopherHine) December 13, 2020
It might just be a case of Edwards learning to adjust his sleep schedule.
Edwards told the Minneapolis Star Tribune newspaper he’s not accustomed to getting up early for shootarounds on the day of the game.
“Normally I would sleep in until about 9:30, 10,” Edwards told the Star Tribune. “Then probably go get some shots up. Then we’ll have shootaround and … take a nap and be ready to go. But it’s not happening. We wake up at like 7:30.”
A year ago at this time, Edwards was pushing through a hip injury at Georgia and preparing for the SEC season.
While Edwards grew and learned and said he learned a great deal about watching film, moving without the ball and becoming a better teammate under Crean, he had his struggles at Georgia.
But by the end of the season, Edwards was bought in, leading the team on and off the court.
Edwards, in fact, committed to play for Georgia had the team received an NIT bid.
There was some doubt in an era where players “opt-out” of seasons early to protect draft status.
But Edwards, with a $43 million contract on the line, made it clear he was on board with his teammates until the end of last season.
Georgia fans will be happy to know that, even with the ink dry on his life-changing contract, Edwards remains as playful and fun as ever.
This Anthony Edwards interview is straight comedy 😂
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 24, 2020