ATHENS — Recently crowned Georgia basketball SEC Freshman of the Year Anthony Edwards isn’t ready for his season to end.
Edwards indicated on Tuesday he would play beyond the SEC tournament should the Bulldogs do enough in Nashville to qualify for any other postseason tourney.
“Yeah, definitely, we’re definitely looking forward to extending the season no matter what it is,” Edwards said when DawgNation asked if he would want to play in the NIT. “We’re coming in here with a fresh start, 0-0 mindset.”
Georgia (15-16) plays in the opening game of the SEC tournament against Ole Miss (15-16) at 7 p.m. on Wednesday in Bridgestone Arena. (TV: SEC Network).
Edwards has been projected as an NBA lottery pick. All indications are that several million dollars await him following the draft on June 25, 2020.
Edwards, however, maintains he has not made a decision on his basketball future beyond this season.
“I know you see the projections and what everyone says, but me, personally. I don’t know what I’m doing yet,” Edwards said. “I’m still an 18-year-old kid, I haven’t thought about anything like that.”
The only way the Bulldogs can make the NCAA tournament is if they were to win the SEC tournament with five wins in five days.
To have a chance at the NIT, UGA would need to beat the Rebels and then top No. 5-seed Florida on Thursday (approximately 3:30 p.m. tip), at a minimum.
With the recent trend of college football players sitting out bowl games — two of UGA’s four permanent captains skipped the Sugar Bowl — some wondered if Edwards would stay for an NIT run should the team be selected.
NBA Hall of Fame member and former Atlanta Hawks star Dominique Wilkins, regarded by many as the greatest player in Georgia history, led the Bulldogs to the NIT Finals his freshman year of 1981.
Edwards, of course, is only 18 1/2 years old, so the accomplishments of Wilkins are lost on him.
But the Georgia freshman does have an appreciation for his head coach and teammates.
“I’ve never had a season like this, but like I said, it’s a great group of guys,” Edwards said. “I love my teammates, they are like my big brothers. W e have a real mutual respect and relationships on and off the court.
“I feel like I’ve developed because of my ups and downs, bad games and good games, bad shooting games good shooting games.”
Edwards is the nation’s top scoring freshman with 19.5 points per game, scoring in double figures in 27 of 31 games.
This, even though Edwards has come to realize defenses are keying on him more than ever.
“When I got here, I thought I was going to score 20 or 30 every night, you know, just kill it every time,” Edwards said. “But I had to realize, I’m the key to everyone’s scouting report.”
That’s not likely to change in Nashville.
Coach Tom Crean indicated again on Tuesday that the Bulldogs will be playing without senior Tyree Crump.
Crump, the Bulldogs’ 3-point specialist, was diagnosed with mono last week. Crump had hit more than 46 percent of his 3-point shots from Feb. 5 until the final game he played on March 4.
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