By LARRY VAUGHT
As soon as Georgia standout Anthony Edwards reclassified from the 2020 recruiting class to 2019 he vaulted ahead of James Wiseman, a long-time UK recruit who signed with Memphis, for the top spot in the class.
The 6-5 guard from Holy Spirit Prep in Atlanta has narrowed his college choices to Florida State, Georgia, Kentucky, North Carolina and Kansas. He’s made an official visit to Georgia and will take on to Kansas in a few weeks. However, last week he was in Lexington for his visit and watched UK beat Mississippi State.
Since I have not seen him play in person, I asked David Sisk — a former middle school, high school, AAU and college coach since 1993 who is now also with Rivals.com — for his opinion about Edwards.
“He is the top guard in the country and the best scorer,” said Sisk. “Corey Evans (of Rivals.com) called him one of the top five scorers he has ever covered. I’m not saying he is an Allen Iverson, but if you take a talent like that and put it at the college level, that is close to what you would have from a standpoint of scoring and simply taking a game over with his raw ability and talent. He will be a multiple time NBA All-Star.”
Sisk knows talented. During his AAU coaching career with the Travelers he worked with over 100 players who played high major college basketball. Some players he coached that you might remember were Ron Mercer, Desmond Allison and Oliver Simmons — who all played for Kentucky. Mercer was on the 1996 national championship team and went on to play in the NBA.
“Calipari doesn’t go out and look for the ‘savvy’ type players. In other words, Wisconsin didn’t have to beat out Kentucky for Brad Davison,” Sisk said. “Edwards has the tools and explosiveness to dominate opponents and that is what coach Cal wants.”
But John Calipari often says not every player is mentally and physically tough enough to embrace the Kentucky spotlight. Would Edwards be overwhelmed?
“From the toughness aspect, I would think he would relish in that role because he loves Leonard Hamilton (of Florida State) and Tom Crean (of Michigan State) and those are not coaches who are going instruct players based on their feelings,” Sisk said.
Kentucky is not the perceived leader for Edwards — a problem Calipari is having with other top recruits in the 2019 recruiting class. Sisk, like most others, believes that Florida State and Georgia are the leaders for Edwards.
“Edwards is all about relationships and both staffs have done a great job with that. I think the question about Kentucky is can they make inroads in that department,” Sisk said. “ Calipari likes to sell the business decision part of it. I don’t know if that will get the job done. Edwards will be in the NBA no matter where he chooses to go to college.”
Kentucky already has perimeter players Tyrese Maxey, Kahlil Whitney and Dontaie Allen in its 2019 recruiting class. It could have two or more perimeter players on this year’s team returning. Still, adding Edwards would help any program, including Kentucky.
“It is much easier for an explosive guard to step right in and make an impact than a big man who still has to grow into his body,” Sisk said. “Edwards has the frame and the athleticism, and has talent dripping off of him.
“The thoughts of Tyrese Maxey and Anthony Edwards coming in together should make heads spin if it works out.”
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You can follow Sisk on Twitter at @CoachDavidSisk. He comments regularly on Kentucky basketball and recruiting for both Rivals.com and Cats Illustrated.