Georgia basketball player Anthony Edwards (5) during a game against North Carolina Central at Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2019. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
Photo: Anthony Walsh
Photo: Anthony Walsh

Georgia, Edwards hope to 'spread it around' vs. Arizona State 

For a minute, Edwards seemed to be scoring points at the same rate. But Georgia basketball’s star attraction has cooled off slightly since pouring in 37 points in a loss to No. 3 Michigan State in the Maui Invitational on Nov. 26. He has scored “only” 45 in the two games since.

And now it’s been a while.

It will have been 10 days, in fact, since the Bulldogs (6-2) last played when they face Arizona State (7-2) on the road in Tempe on Saturday (8 p.m., Pac-12 Network). They’ve been on break for final exams, though “break” is probably not the most applicable term.

Georgia stopped traveling and playing games, but it never stopped practicing. And those practices over the last 10 days were “intense, really intense,” senior guard Tyree Crump said.

Echoed senior Donnell Gresham: “Not long practices, because we were in exams, but very intense. Kind of getting back to fundamentals.”

There are a lot of adjustments that coach Tom Crean wants to make before the Bulldogs return. He wants Georgia to handle the ball better, rebound better and shoot the ball better overall as a team, among other things.

He also wants to see them share the wealth. As much as Crean loves what Edwards has been doing on the court (20.6 points, 5.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 2.3 steals per game), Crean wants others to do more as well.

That includes being spokesmen for the team. The last postgame and pregame interviews have been handled by others not named “Ant Man.”

“Here’s the thing,” Crean said, “(Edwards is) such a great teammate, I don’t know if any of that matters. I don’t know if anybody looks like it that way. But when you’re running a program, you’ve got to mix it up. … You want to spread it around.”

That’d be scoring as well as media opportunities.

Edwards’ meteoric performance in Hawaii showed the rest of the college basketball world that the fuss being made about him was justified. Now opponents are going to be even more focused on shutting him down.

That’s fine with Edwards.

“What a lot of people don’t realize about me is, I’m not a selfish player,” Edwards said. “I can pass the ball. I don’t really care about what I did at the end of the night as long we win, because I’m a team player.”

Indeed, Edwards had seven assists in the two games since establishing the freshman scoring record in Hawaii. He remained the high-scorer in each, though.

Now Arizona State is the next stop on the learning curve for this team of 10 newcomers. It’s the return game from last year’s hard-fought 76-74 win by the Sun Devils in Athens.

While the Bulldogs are starting over, ASU coach Bobby Hurley returns nearly his entire team, including leading scorer Remy Martin (20.0 ppg) and Atlanta native Romello White, who is averaging 12 points and 10 rebounds a game. They had 21 and 16 points, respectively, in Stegeman last year.

“They pay with such speed and relentlessness,” Crean said. “They pose a lot of problems. We’re getting ready to see a high level of intensity in a very, very tough environment. It will be good to see where we stand.”

Creating some scoring diversity is a good place to start. Edwards has been Georgia’s leading scorer in five of the eight games so far, including the last three. Rayshaun Hammonds (two) and Tye Fagan are the only others so far.

Edwards is more than happy to see a teammate get some glory. More than any of that, he wants another “W.” 

“Winning is what it’s all about,” Edwards said after Georgia’s victory over Georgia Tech. “I don’t care how long I’m going to be here. Whether it’s one, two, three years, I’m here to play basketball for however long. But I want to make sure my teammates are the best they can be.” 

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