Maybe Anthony Edwards was always like this, or maybe it is an effect of the two closest people in his life, his mother and grandmother, each of whom died of cancer five years ago when they was 14.
« I’m the type that a lot of people have to put my trust in, » Edwards said. « I’m not just an easy access guy. ”
“My most important quality that I am looking for is loyalty. I’m a very loyal person… ”said Edwards, the 19-year-old Georgia security guard, chose no. 1 overall from the Timberwolves in Wednesday’s NBA Draft. « If you show me that you are loyal, we can build a relationship. ”
When the Wolves met Edwards a few weeks ago, they had about 24 hours, dinner, and training to prove that Edward thought they could rise to that level. Total confidence cannot be achieved in 24 hours, but Edwards can at least see if there is potential during that time.
Since last week, when Edwards described his meeting with the Wolves as « excellent, » and through the euphoria after the draft, when Edwards’ tone flared as he discussed the meeting, Wolves President Gersson Rosas and trainer Ryan Saunders began to mingle to hit past these walls.
« I have a feeling I will trust these guys when I meet them . . . « said Edwards. « They are just cool and relaxed. Coach has energy. Gersson got energy. ”
With that energy, Edwards said the Wolves made me feel like the best player to ever play basketball. ”
The wolves have started to unlock the path to Edward’s trust. Can you now unleash its potential on the ground?
One of the biggest worries Edwards’ Georgia college coach Tom Crean had was that Edwards would end up in an organization that would not promote him as a person.
Given that Edwards went through it all, Crean wanted Edwards to end up in a place that would treat him as more than a bucket machine. He was relieved when the wolves took him.
« I think it worked out remarkably well, » said Crean. « Ryan is a practical guy and I think that’s exactly what he needs. He needs someone who is much more invested in the relationship than just touching and walking. What happens so often is that you see a player, give them a few things, and go on your way. Anthony needs more than that. ”
Edwards grew up in Atlanta and visited Georgia to stay close to home. But throughout the design process, he said he felt the need to move when he entered adulthood and that he had no problem moving to the Twin Cities. He’s still learning a lot about his new home.
On a Zoom call with reporters about the draft, he had an important question about one of our twin cities that he asked in a lovable way.
He was also advised on the matter by a former Georgia teammate, Donnell Gresham, an alumnus of Cretin-Derham Hall.
« He tells me the best is the mall, » Edwards said. « Is it the Mall of America? »
There will be enough time to get to know your new home. Crean said when Edwards meets his new home, Minnesotans will only like what they see.
« He has an infectious personality, » said Crean. “People want to be around him. Does he have to grow up? Absolutely. Does he have to work through mistakes? Absolutely. Does he have a lot to learn? No question. But he’s 19 with a big heart and tremendous empathy. ”
The scar tissue from the Andrew Wiggins experience is still fresh to the Wolves fan base. Fair or not, one of the criticisms fans praised Wiggins was how committed some nights he would like to be somewhere else than others.
When I entered the draft, it was one of the reasons for Edwards. It didn’t help combat that perception when some quotes he gave on a long ESPN profile surfaced on the internet.
Then this: « I’m still not really excited, » he said. “I love basketball, yes. I’ll do it. ”
Crean provided context from his time at Edwards – and if anyone doubted Edward’s passion for the game, he said they were wrong. Crean said no player he ever had would spend more time in the gym after the games than Edwards, and Crean’s list of former players includes Victor Oladipo and Dwyane Wade.
« If he loves to sit for three or four hours straight, probably not, » said Crean. « I think you’d be surprised how few kids really do it. Do you play it for three or four hours now? That’s for sure. I would much rather have a man who wants to work in the gym. ”
In that way, Edwards is Gen Z, someone who grew up with the quick satisfaction that social media brings through easily digestible, short-lived content.
Before drafting the design, Rosas said the most important quality he wanted in young players was passion for the game. Was he afraid of whispering to Edwards?
« Absolutely not, » said Rosas. « It’s design season so there are some narratives out there, but what he’s overcome in life at his age and his motivation to be great through it all. « . . . . his toughness, his grit, what he overcame in life – those were great positive things. ”
Edwards is well aware of these blows against him. He promised to be more involved on the ground. He said he would eat less chicken and fries from his beloved raising cane. But one minor thing he makes an exception to is the idea that he’s a weak defender.
« A lot of people don’t think I play defense, but I feel like a really good defensive player, » said Edwards.
Edwards is 6-5, 225 pounds and has a background in youth football. His body is NBA capable at 19 and scouts believe he can grow into a very good defender. At this end of the floor, Edwards follows an old friend of the wolves.
« I like the way Jimmy Butler plays defense, » Edwards said. « He’s a dog. He just reminds me of myself. He doesn’t care who you are or what you got started, he will attack you. ”
Edwards didn’t want to reveal too much about what the Wolves told him during their meeting, but said he was stunned by the amount of information they gave him about his career.
« The only thing I can say about what you brought with you is shocking to how you see me for years to come, » Edwards said. “I think that was the most important thing. It was like college recruitment you know Where you are trying to recruit a player. That made me a lot more confident because they were actually doing college recruiting. ”
« The attention to detail gave it something he had never seen, » said Rosas. “You name it, we’ve got it covered. He left this meeting like nobody had done that to me before. … Our staff have done an incredible job in explaining not only who they are as players, but how we’ve seen them fit into our organization on and off the pitch. That really overwhelmed and impressed him. ”
During training, Edwards surprised Rosas when at one point his trainer asked him to shoot long two-pointers. Knowing that the wolves didn’t like to shoot them, he told his trainer that they wouldn’t shoot them that day.
After the Wolves Edwards at No.. 1, the ESPN cameras showed him between two portraits, one of his mother, one of his grandmother. It was his mother and grandmother who helped and encouraged him as he rose to become a top athlete, and his family who helped him overcome the tragic losses.
« I can’t tell exactly when I’ve got to a point where I can only smile, » Edwards said. « I know that I am here now. I never want to go back to the point where I just keep getting angry and frustrated. I just have a smile on my face no matter what, and I just try to be happy for her. ”
There was great joy on Wednesday night when the Wolves and Edwards officially teamed up – and there was still a lot to learn.
« He is extremely intelligent and . . . there’s a deep process for him, « said Crean. « He’s been through a lot in his life and when he builds trust and faith, it comes out. ”
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LevelMagazine – CA – Top Pick Anthony Edwards Developed Early Confidence in the Wolves Organization
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