By: JJ Lanier
TheSouthernSportsEdition.com news services
Writing about sports, and really just writing in general, can be a fickle endeavor.
Originally, I sat down to write about what is sure to be Anthony Edwards’ single season in Athens, and whether or not it should be deemed a success or failure.
I thought it would be pretty simple since in most cases, when a highly recruited player spurns one of the more well-known programs for one with not as much caché behind it, the answer is usually fairly cut and dry.
Most of the time both the player and team underperform, leaving behind a season that is unforgettable to almost everyone involved. However, Edwards and Georgia is that rare case where the success of one has not translated into success for the other.
For all intents and purposes, Edwards has lived up to being the number one ranked player in his class. He’s basically a guarantee for SEC Freshman is the Year and there’s a good possibility he’ll receive that same recognition on the national level.
I’d be shocked if he isn’t a 1st team All-SEC player (possibly SEC Player of the Year) and is currently projected as a Top 3 pick in this year’s draft. When you look at what he’s accomplished this season, from his perspective, it’s really hard to look at his short-lived tenure in Athens as a bust.
Of course, the key phrase there is “from his perspective” because as good as he’s been- especially these last few weeks- Georgia’s season has been the exact opposite. If Edwards individual season has been “Parasite”, Georgia’s has been “CATS”.
No one with realistic expectations thought this was a Final Four team, but when you have arguably the second most talented player in your program’s history on campus, you at least hope to capitalize on their time there.
Normally, that includes some mixture of national exposure, either from upsets, an overachieving season, or at the very least an appearance in the NCAA Tournament.
This way you’re not only proving to recruits that you can help propel them to the next level, but that people will actually know who they are when they get there.
Besides Edwards’ game against Michigan State back in November, where his highlights were all over the internet, has anyone outside of the SEC even watched him play?
Imagine the narrative surrounding the basketball team if instead of battling with Vanderbilt not to finish in last place, they were somewhere in the middle of the conference, battling for a tournament bid, with one or two upsets under the belt.
I also don’t think it’s too farfetched to say that Edwards would be getting some National Player of the Year whispers as well in this scenario, something that always plays well to future recruits.
Now, please don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying Edwards is perfect and this season’s disappointment falls on Tom Crean and the rest of the roster- neither of those statements are true. That just happens to be a different column for another day.