Anthony Edwards (5) pushes passed Jordan Harris (2) during the event’s scrimmage. The University of Georgia basketball programs hosted their second Stegmania event ahead of the season to come on Oct. 11, 2019, in Athens, Georgia. (Photo/ Kathryn Skeean, kskeean@randb.com)

Despite the differences in their age and experience, Tyree Crump and Anthony Edwards have already formed a strong bond before Georgia has even begun its regular season.

“Tyree Crump [is] like my big brother,” Edwards said. “Tyree, Jordan Harris, they [are] like my big brothers. I mean, all of them look out for me. All of them look out for all the young freshmen on the team.”

The pair of “brothers” were two of the three leading scorers for Georgia in its Friday night exhibition win, 93-81, over Valdosta State. Crump matched teammate Rayshaun Hammonds with 16 points each while Edwards led the team with 18 points in his first exhibition as a Bulldog.

Edwards said that the transition from high school to college was a difficult one. Head coach Tom Crean is only in his second year at Georgia, but has already had a large hand in molding the culture of Georgia basketball and creating standards for the program. Edwards noticed Crean’s energy and intensity right away, and said that it took some getting used to.

“I had to instill in my head, ‘You [have] got to go hard every time. You can’t take plays off,’ and stuff like that,” Edwards said.

Crump knew the first time that he met Edwards that the two would be fast friends. He recalled knowing he and Edwards would click as soon as they first spoke. Crump had one word to sum up his first, and lasting, impression of Edwards.

“I could just tell — his swag — he had a swag about him,” Crump said.

Crump said he tries to connect with all of the freshman, but that sharing a similar background with Edwards gave the two a deeper level of friendship.

“I took him under my wing,” Crump said. “‘Okay, this [is] my little brother right here.”

While Crump and Edwards may have formed an early bond on and off the court, Crean said that one of his main concerns for his team right now is to get roles established, and that chemistry among the team will follow.

“It’s like the chicken or the egg, right,” Crean said. “Which comes first the chemistry or the roles… What we’ve got to start to do is really get roles established.”

For Crean, the players needs to learn how to earn roles on the team and then expand those roles through extra work and pushing teammates to be better. The roles include people to rebound the ball, move and cut without the ball, good positional defenders, as well as “so many” others. He said that once the team is settled into their roles, chemistry, similar to that of Crump and Edwards, would come organically to the rest of the team.

“That’s part of youth. They’ve got to keep getting a rhythm of playing together,” Crean said. “It’ll come. It’ll come. It just takes time, but it’ll come.”

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