Anthony Edwards Braces for Decision Day on Monday

February 9, 2019
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ATLANTA - Anthony Edwards‍ is preparing for what happens after games. 

Not questions from the media or attention from adoring fans or college coaches. But for how he will get home without the shoes he wears on the basketball court.

For some time now, Edwards has been asked for and has given away the shoes he’s competed in to young fans who come see him play. The first time came in November. 

“Some little kids came up to him and asked him for his shoes, and so he took off his shoes and gave them right to them,” says Edwards’ confidant David Kim, who met Edwards at the start of his high school journey. "Some other kid came up to him and asked him for the other pair, so he gave the other pair away. Same shoes. Two pairs of shoes.”

“He gives his shoes out all of the time,”  Holy Sprit Prep coach and former Georgia Tech player Tysor Anderson. “Kids were just flocking to him. It could be ten minutes. It could be three hours. People want to take pictures with him.”

Seventy-two hours and another pair of shoes later, after Holy Sprit Prep’s 80-79 overtime loss in the region championship game, the question is whose shoes will Edwards be wearing this time a year form now: Florida State, Kentucky or suddenly-surging Georgia?

Dawg Post
A pair of shoes worn by 5-star Holy Sprit Prep G Anthony Edwards on February 8, 2019. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

“I am pretty sure I know what is going to happen Monday,” Edwards said of making his mind before his announcement that morning. “I haven’t told a coach, but me and my family know what is going to happen.” 

A major NBA prospect from Atlanta hasn’t picked the Bulldogs since James Banks in 1980. Edwards is expected to pick the Bulldogs in what could be a program-changing moment for UGA coach Tom Crean. 

“I can’t wait,” Edwards of his decision between the Bulldogs, Wildcats and Seminoles. “It will be a dream come true. I have been thinking about committing to a school since probably freshman year when I got my first offer. It will take a lot of pressure off of me. I’ve got too much to worry about. I can focus back on back on school.”

Considered the top prospect for the 2020 NBA Draft, Edwards has the explosiveness in the ballpark of Duke phenom Zion Williamson, but he perhaps has a more developed perimeter game. Edwards can create his own shot and get to the bucket with little effort. 

He describes driving for a bucket “like taking ice cream from a baby.”

His exciting brand of basketball hasn’t been seen in Athens since earlier this century - or even last century - when Jumaine Jones exploded onto the scene for two years at Georgia before being selected in the first round of the 1999 NBA Draft. 

“It will be a dream come true. I have been thinking about committing to a school since probably freshman year when I got my first offer.”
- Anthony Edwards

Edwards is the highest-ranked basketball recruit to come out of Georgia since No. 1 overall prospect Derrick Favors signed with Georgia Tech a decade ago. Favors played one season at Tech before being taken No. 3 overall by the New Jersey Nets.

That is likely the path for Edwards as well. 

No one would say it on the record, but the plan for Edwards is to play one season of college basketball and depart for the NBA. Professional scouts and college coaches agree that Edwards is the real deal. 

The sky is the limit for the Atlanta native. 

“He is ‘the’ surest thing,” one college coach told Dawg Post on the condition of not using his name for fear of violating NCAA bylaws. 

“Edwards a top 5 NBA Draft talent on offense,” one NBA scout told Dawg Post. “But he has never won. He doesn’t defend, but he’s a great kid.”

“You are asking me if I will have another kid like Anthony in the next 10-15 years? Look, will the world have another kid like him in the next 10-15 years?” Anderson asked. “Yeah, I think he is that good.”

Dawg Post
5-star Holy Sprit Prep G Anthony Edwards on January 25, 2019. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

That’s probably why the post-game rush to get near and be around Edwards has grown this winter. 

“Everywhere we go people ask for pictures,” Kim said of the prospects’ fame. “They know who he is.”

The learning curve of accepting or dealing with this much attention for a teenager, needless to say, is abnormal. Edwards is spending his formative years of high school with the tremendous spotlight that goes along with being projected as a future superstar.

“No, he doesn’t understand what he’s going through right now. He is going to understand, but by the time he understands it will have gone by too fast. Everything is going really fast for him,”  said Kim, who has known Edwards since he was 15. “Coming up nobody talked about it. No one said he was going to be a No. 1 prospect, but he knew he was going to be great.”

In 2014, Edwards took the bold step of writing: “Future McDonald’s All-American” on the wall at his home. He accomplished that goal in January and will play in the well-recognized high school all-star game this March at State Farm Arena in Atlanta. 

“People are going to find out after the McDonald’s game,” Kim said with emphasis. “He’s got to show out.”

That wouldn’t be anything new for Edwards, who is considered by ESPN as the No. 5 overall prospect in the 2019 class. Rivals and 247 consider him the No. 2 overall prospect in this class. Keep in mind that Edwards skipped his junior year in order to graduate early. He should play in college in 2020-21 and leave for the NBA in 2021. 

But with a resume like that the attention isn’t going anywhere. 

“He loves it,” Anderson said. “But its not egotistical thing with him. His favorite player - Anthony would tell you - is LeBron James. But not because of the way he plays on the court. It is because of what LeBron does off the court. If it were on the court it would be, like, Victor Oladipo. He likes LeBron because of what he does for the community. But he doesn’t make that specification. He wants to be like LeBron. He wants to change the world - absolutely. Anthony is extraordinary.”

The question that remains is how Edwards will take his shot changing the world. It will likely be one shoe at a time.

Dawg Post
5-star Holy Sprit Prep G Anthony Edwards on February 8, 2019. (Dean Legge/Dawg Post)

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