Tom Crean's new batch of Bulldogs hits road

Georgia basketball player Anthony Edwards (5) during an exhibition game against Valdosta State in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (Photo by Tony Walsh)
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Georgia basketball player Anthony Edwards (5) during an exhibition game against Valdosta State in Stegeman Coliseum in Athens, Ga., on Friday, Oct. 18, 2019. (Photo by Tony Walsh)

Credit: Anthony Walsh

Credit: Anthony Walsh

The Georgia basketball team heads to Charlotte Friday night to play the 49ers in a charity exhibition. Afterward, coach Tom Crean hopes he’ll be able to sleep in a little.

Sleep has been hard to come by for the Bulldogs’ second-year coach as he tries to blend 10 newcomers with five returning lettermen. Crean said the overwhelming challenge of it wakes him up every morning.

“Is it invigorating? Yes,” Crean said last week. “In all honestly, I probably wake up earlier in the morning by about an hour to an hour-and-a-half, two hours sometimes. I’m not kidding. Things are just racing in your head. It’s nerve-wracking.”

Crean is hopeful that a Friday’s exhibition at Halton Arena will at least give him and the Georgia staff an idea how they’re doing.

"Playing a true road game and the challenges that come with that are a valuable experience for any team, but even more so for us this season because we have so many newcomers,” Crean said. “While it's a charity event, I hope we face a true road environment at Charlotte.”

The 49ers are in their second season under Ron Sanchez, a former Virginia assistant. They return three starters and six letterwinners from last season’s team.

Proceeds from Friday’s game will go to the April 30th Remembrance Fund, which is managed by the UNC Charlotte Foundation. The fund supports a memorial and other efforts in response to the tragic shooting at UNC Charlotte on April 30th of this year. Two students lost their lives and four others were injured in the incident.

This will be the Bulldogs’ second exhibition game. They defeated Valdosta State 93-81 last Friday in Athens. Freshman Anthony Edwards, a preseason All-America selection, led Georgia with 18 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals.

Edwards, ranked the No. 2 prospect in the country, is one of six signees in the Bulldogs’ 2019 freshman class, plus a graduate transfer.

“Rebuilding a program, refurbishing it, whatever you want to call it, that’s a huge challenge,” Crean said. “But we have to take it as an opportunity. That’s how I feel. So it’s an opportunity to grow a lot of guys.

“I’m enjoying it. I think they are, too. But every day is a learning experience.”

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