The Bulldogs (3-0) are looking to extend a four-game winning streak over the Yellow Jackets. The last time Georgia won five in a row in the 195-game series was 1939-41.
Georgia Tech (2-0) leads the overall series 103-92.
Crean was asked if he felt the outcome was particularly important to recruiting in this talent-rich state.
“We certainly want to win, but recruiting is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week situation, and it never comes down to one or two games,” he said. “It comes down to the development of your program and what you do with the players. With that being said, Georgia Tech is obviously a game we want to win.”
Ranked the No. 2 recruiting prospect in America by the 247Sports.com composite, Edwards shocked the college basketball world by choosing the Bulldogs over one of the “blue-blood” programs like Kentucky, Duke or Kansas. It doesn’t appear to have hurt his stock.
The 6-foot-5 guard has been projected as a top-5 pick in next year’s NBA draft. NBA insider Jon Rothstein of CBS Sports is reporting that 26 scouts representing 20 NBA franchises will be at Stegeman Coliseum for Wednesday’s game.
That was met with a shrug from Edwards, who is used to performing before such critical throngs.
“I just play for my teammates, play for my coaches, play for myself and do what I can while I’m out there,” said Edwards, who is averaging 19.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 4.6 assists per game.
Meanwhile, though he hails from an area of Atlanta not far from the Georgia Tech campus and his high school coach (Ty Anderson) played there, Edwards said he received very little recruiting interest from the Jackets. But he claims to be neither hurt nor motivated by that.
“It just didn’t happen,” Edwards said. “Georgia Tech is a great place. ... I chose UGA. That’s all that matters.”
As for the rivalry, Edwards said, “I’m going to be ready for it. We’re just going to try to not break the (winning) streak for the seniors.”
The Jackets are coming in with a decidedly different attitude. They desperately want to break their losing streak in the rivalry. Between NCAA probation and back-to-back losing seasons under fourth-year coach Josh Pastner, Tech wants this one badly.
Sophomore Michael Devoe, Tech’s leading scorer at 22 points per game, said the Jackets had circled the date throughout the offseason.
“For sure,” he said. “One of the top games on the ridiculous schedule that we’ve got. It’s going to be a huge game for us.”
The Jackets already have a road win over N.C. State. There's some question about the health of junior guard Jose Alvarado, who sat out the last game and several practices with an ankle injury.
The matchup of Devoe versus Edwards will be one of great focus. But Pastner said he doesn't expect any one player to be charged with containing the Bulldogs' star, who he said “could step on an NBA court right now and score double digits.”
What Edwards can do, however, is stop himself. After scoring 24 and 29 in Georgia’s first two games, Edwards had just six points in the Bulldogs’ last outing against Delaware State. But he also finished with seven assists in a game in which Georgia had 30.
That, Edwards said, was the plan.
“I told myself I was going to get my teammates more involved,” he said. “I was going to try to get as many assists as I can and just play for them and be as happy as I could. In the locker room I was real happy for my teammates. Everybody was smiling.”
Everybody but Crean.
The Georgia coach wasn’t frowning, mind you, but he didn’t recruit Edwards to Georgia to be a point guard. While he loves Edwards’ play-making ability, he’d prefer to see him be a little more selfish when it comes to scoring.
"He needs to come in every day with an attack mentality, and we talked about that the other day,” Crean said Monday. “That's so important. You’ve got to take what the defense gives you but sometimes, when you're talented like that, you have to attack a little bit more. He's got a great mindset. There was nobody happier on the floor than he was the other night; there’s no doubt about that. He has great joy playing with his teammates, but we need him to be on the attack.”