The Georgia men’s basketball team continued to face growing pains in head coach Tom Crean’s second year.
Due to the abrupt ending that COVID-19 brought to the SEC tournament, the Bulldogs ended on a high note, defeating Ole Miss in their last game of the 2019-20 season. The Bulldogs finished with an overall record of 16-16 but struggled to a 5-13 record in conference play.
Here are The Red & Black’s postseason takeaways from Georgia men’s basketball’s 2019-20 season.
The youth factor
Georgia took on this season with a roster that included nine freshmen, one sophomore, one junior, two seniors and one graduate transfer. From the beginning, it was no secret that Georgia was going to continue to be a young team.
Seniors Jordan Harris and Tyree Crump, along with graduate transfer Donnell Gresham Jr. and junior Rayshaun Hammonds, played integral upperclassmen roles for Georgia. They were accompanied by a band of freshmen — Toumani Camara, Sahvir Wheeler and Anthony Edwards — who stepped up to become fundamental pieces of Georgia men’s basketball in their first year.
Camara, Wheeler and Edwards played in nearly every game this season, aside from Wheeler sitting out of the game at Missouri on Jan. 28 due to injury.
Anthony Edwards’ impact
Edwards committed to Georgia on Feb. 11, 2019, and quickly brought excitement to Georgia men’s basketball. He was a five-star shooting guard and the No. 2 player in the nation coming out of high school, per the 247Sports Composite.
Over the 2019-20 season, Edwards quickly became the face of Georgia men’s basketball and an important component in gelling the mostly-new team together. Crean and the rest of the Bulldogs bragged on Edwards regularly, saying that he brought more than just basketball talent to the team.
Edwards was the nation’s leading freshman scorer, averaging 19.1 points per game. Just as important to his team, though, was the sense of joy, confidence and “swag,” as Crump put it, that he brought. Crean summed up Edwards’ effect after a win over Delaware State on Jan. 15.
“Anthony’s got something to do with that [joy] now,” Crean said. “With all the hoopla and hype that he has when people look at him, the way he plays and the kind of teammate that he is, that says volumes about him as an 18-year-old.”
The Bulldogs were 10-3 over the first 13 games of their 2019-20 season, but these were all non-conference games. Once conference play started, the Bulldogs began to let their season slip.
They found victory in only five regular-season SEC matchups: at home against Tennessee, Texas A&M, Auburn and Arkansas and on the road against Vanderbilt. They picked up a sixth conference victory against Ole Miss in the tournament.
There were a few factors that continually proved to be themes throughout the season for the Bulldogs. They routinely struggled by committing too many turnovers, getting out-rebounded by their opponent and a lack of communication on the floor.
In all of their losses, at least one of these factors was evidenced as an issue. Moving into the 2020-21 season, it is likely that these will continue to be points of emphasis for the Bulldogs.