Dawgs, Edwards make debut
There were plenty of reasons for fans to head over to Stegeman Coliseum for the second-annual Stegemania Friday night.
WWE Hall of Fame and former Georgia football star Bill Goldberg was there; so was rapper and songwriter Blanco Brown.
But the most of the 6,234 in attendance were likely there to see Bulldog freshman Anthony Edwards, who gave fans their first glimpse of the young man Rivals.com rated as the nation’s No. 3 player in the entire country last year.
He didn’t disappoint.
Edwards scored eight points in the 12-minute scrimmage, adding a block and a steal for the Bulldogs, who shared the stage with members of head coach Joni Taylor’s Lady Bulldogs squad.
“I’m just getting my groove back. We haven’t been playing a lot, so we’re trying to catch up and play more,” said Edwards, who played point. “That’s why we scrimmaged tonight; I’m just getting the feel for my game back.”
Edwards wasn’t the only newcomer who impressed.
Freshman Mike Peake – who finished second in the slam dunk contest to winner Amanze Ngumezi – added six points, with fellow freshman Toumani Camara wowing the crowd with a 360 dunk.
Head coach Tom Crean said he didn’t take a lot away from the scrimmage, although it was great for his team to have the opportunity.
“I just wanted to sit back and enjoy it. We had practice earlier today, that’s more for us to get better,” Crean said. “We learned a few things from it but it’s not a film we’re going to study and watch. It was more for them to have fun and enjoy it.”
Bulldog fans will need a program early on.
Georgia’s 15-man roster includes nine true freshmen, and counting grad transfer Donnell Greshman Jr., has 10 players who were not on the squad last year.
“We’ve got a lot of things to get better at; we’ve got a lot of weaknesses right now that we’ve got to work through; Learning to play,” Crean said. “It’s always good to get out in this environment, play under the lights like this, so that’s good. We’ll get another chance next week with the exhibition which will be good, but we have a long way to do, we have a very young team.”
Edwards will be expected to help lead the away, but it’s a challenge he said he’s ready for.
“I’m always ready. I feel like I was born for it,” Edwards said. “The seniors have prepared me for it; they said there’s going to be a lot if media and stuff. I’m ready for it.”
Edwards already credits Crean for helping make an impact with his game.
“Oh yeah, just learning how to play without the ball, cutting, learning how to be a better point guard, watching film more, talking more; watching the game more,” he said. “I’ve already learned a ton.”
Crean say he appreciates Edwards’ willingness to learn.
“Absolutely,” he said. “He’s trying to get better every day. He’s one of the hardest workers on the team without a doubt.”
NOTE: Before the scrimmage, Crean announced that Georgia has sold out all its season tickets for the upcoming year.
“It’s good; we’re going to need them to be here and help us,” Crean said. “We can’t have a great home court, but we’re going to need them.” ... Georgia returns to action next Friday night with an exhibition against Valdosta State.