ATHENS — Georgia basketball signee Anthony “Antman” Edwards has yet to arrive on campus, but already, his presence is felt.
The latest ripple comes via the Sports Illustrated “Way-Too-Early 2020 NBA Draft Watch List,” where Edwards is projected as the No. 2 overall pick.
If that were to happen, Edwards would be the highest picked Georgia player in history.
Dominique Wilkins was drafted No. 3 overall by the Utah Jazz in 1982 and traded to the Atlanta Hawks.
Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, now with the Los Angeles Lakers, was No. 8 overall to the Detroit Pistons in 2013. Willie Anderson was No. 10 overall to the San Antonio Spurs in 1988, and Jarvis Hayes was No. 10 overall to the Washington Wizards in 2003.
Sports Illustrated Author Jeremy Woo wrote that the 6-foot-4, 215-pound Edwards is in the mix to be the No. 1 pick, too.
“He’s a powerfully built guard who’s sill tapping into his ability and will be a high-volume ball-handler at Georgia,” Woo penned. “He has the strength to overpower defenders off the dribble and the explosiveness to elevate in the paint or shoot over people, although his jumper is far from perfect.”
DawgNation observed Edwards score 12 points on 5-of-8 shooting at the McDonald’s All-American Game, also garnering three assists, two rebounds and two blocked shots — and that was playing half the game.
The Sports Illustrated story went on to say that Edwards’ decision-making and consistency are questions, and that he needs to prove himself at the collegiate level.
Bulldogs coach Tom Crean, who developed first-round picks Dwayne Wade (Marquette) and Victor Oladipo (Indiana) has been clear on his belief in Edwards.
“Anthony Edwards is a transformative talent and has transformative potential in the sense of what he can help bring this program,” Crean said. “There’s so many things that you see with him when it comes to his talent, explosiveness, his desire, his grit, but there’s a lot of things you don’t see, and that’s what we’re really excited about.”
Edwards made it clear he believes in Crean, too, explaining that’s when the Bulldogs captured his interest during the recruiting process.
“When Tom Crean got hired — when he got hired, I was just interested right away,” Edwards told DawgNation at the McDonald’s All-American Game in Atlanta.
Edwards is well aware of Crean’s history with Wade and Oladipo, both of whom were top-five picks.
“They’re just great players,” Edwards said. “Who wouldn’t model their game off of those two?”
From the sounds of it, Edwards has a chance to carve his own niche with the Bulldogs this season.
Georgia’s signing class ranked No. 9 in the nation, and includes three other Top 100 players along with graduate-transfer point guard Donnell Gresham Jr. from Northeastern University.
The Bulldogs are still awaiting word from All-SEC forward Nicolas Claxton, on whether he will take his 6-foot-11 frame to the NBA or return for another season.
Claxton, spotted on campus on Thursday, indicated his decision-making process is ongoing.