Georgia basketball: Anthony Edwards named finalist for Jerry West Award

The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame named Georgia basketball star Anthony Edwards as one of the finalists for the Jerry West Award.

Just a day after the SEC named Georgia basketball star Anthony Edwards as its Freshman of the Week, the future NBA lottery pick earned another honor. This honor is of the national variety.

Edwards is one of five finalists for the Jerry West Award which is awarded by the the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. The award goes to the best shooting guard in the nation. The winner of the Jerry West Award is chosen by fan votes and the hall of fame selection committee. Voting for the award begins on March 6 on hoophallawards.com.

Edwards earned his spot as a finalist on the merits of one outstanding freshman season. With still two regular season games and possibly multiple tournament games to go, Edwards already has 573 points and is averaging 19.6 points per game. He is shooting .417 from the field and .774 from the free throw line. Edwards also contributes as a rebounder and is second on the Georgia basketball team with 5.4 boards per game.

The star freshman faces stiff competition from around the nation. The other finalists for the Jerry West Award are:

•Kamar Baldwin – Butler
•Ty-Shon Alexander – Creighton
•Mason Jones – Arkansas
•Myles Powell – Seton Hall.

Of the other finalists, only Jones and Powell average more points per game than Edwards. Powell scores 21.5 each night and Jones leads the SEC with 21.3 points per game. With 593 points, Jones has scored the most out of the five finalists. Like Edwards, Jones and Alexander are important rebounders for their teams, each averaging over five boards per game.

The Jerry West Award is a fairly new award. The Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame started the award in 2015 after the success of the Bob Cousy Award (point guard of the year), which the hall introduced in 2004. The Jerry West Award debuted alongside other awards named after hall of famers. The other awards include the Julius Erving Award (small forwards), Karl Malone Award (power forwards) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Award (centers).

The first Jerry West Award winner was Ohio State’s D’Angelo Russell in 2015. Oklahoma’s Buddy Heild won the award in 2016; Kentucky’s Malik Monk won it in 2017; Purdue’s Carsen Edwards won in 2018; and Duke’s R.J. Barrett won the award last year.

To prove the award’s prestige, four of the five winners are currently on NBA rosters. The inaugural winner Russell has started 264 games in five seasons and is averaging 17.4 points per game throughout his career. He currently plays for the Minnesota Timberwolves. Heild has 193 starts in four seasons with 15.9 career points per game, though he’s currently averaging 19.9 this season with the Sacramento Kings. Barrett, a rookie with the New York Knicks, has started 50 games this season and is scoring 14.1 points per game.