Reactions to Edwards

Well, it’s nice to see that even with PSU’s best basketball season ever, the recruiting coverage is still non-existant. Out of left field came Bill Edwards’ commitment to play for Penn State yesterday. He decided to uphold the PSU tradition of being the completely unknown, spring signing this program has couped the last 5 years. However, those guys we landed have generally been unknown JuCos (David Jackson I, Travis Parker, Sky King, Pringle). Bill was a 2009 target for a while and now he’ll be on campus in two months with 4 years of eligibility.

Wait, what? 2009? I thought you said we were finished with 2009 recruiting? Yeah, that’s what everybody thought. But we’re the Tweener Factory. So when a 6’6″ guy with no true position wants to play basketball here, Ed DeChellis brings him. I know we’ve been looking at Bill for a long time, but I thought it wasn’t meant to be when Sasa Borovnjak committed. However, DeChellis thought it was more important to keep to our roots and bring in undersized forwards (or perhaps in Bill’s case, an oversized PG). While trying to follow Bill’s career at Middletown HS in Ohio, I couldn’t help but get the feeling that he was the kind of kid DeChellis has had success with. Zakee Wadood. Travis Parker. Geary Claxton. Jamelle Cornley. Edwards’ profile is very much like those guys, which makes me very excited.

*Photo courtesy of Rivals.com

Hometown: Middletown, OH
High School: Middletown High School
Height: 6’6″
Weight: 225 lbs.

Recruiting Profiles:

ESPN’s Evaluation

Edwards had a great tournament (2008 Adidas Take Five), playing with consistent effort throughout the event. He demonstrated a willingness to help his team win and did whatever it took to be successful. This lefty has a nice set of skills beginning with his ballhandling. Edwards can take bigger, slower defenders off the dribble and get to the basket. He utilized his pull-up jumper in the lane as he attacked the basket. What really stood out is that he shot the ball well from the beyond the arc — he also knocked down a few 3s in transition. If he sees a smaller defender on him, he will post him up and score. He is not afraid to go to the offensive glass and rebound. He also gets to the free-throw line for some of his points. Defensively, he has an understanding of help-side defense and will step in and take the charge. Edwards has great basketball genes; his dad Bill Edwards, Sr. was a great player at Wright State University. Edwards always needs to be aggressive on the court and play with intensity every possession. If he does that, he will reach his potential.

This evaluation falls in line with everything else I’ve read about him. Great shooter, amazing ball-handler for a guy his size, great court awareness, versatile, team player, and a great kid. I believe he’ll play primarily the 3 for us, IMO.  With how little production we’ve gotten from that spot since Geary’s injury, I think Bill’s a great pickup.  That opinion apparently is contrary to popular belief, however.

See, Bill’s commitment has filled all our available scholarships for the 2010-2011 roster (since there are no seniors on next year’s roster). As of now, we are looking a little thin in the frontcourt for the 2011-2012 season (nevermind the fact that that season’s THREE years away). It seemed to everyone that Bill’s scholarship was going to go to a 6’11” C prospect in the class of 2010. I thought that was our thinking, too. But how quick we forget who we are. 6’10″+ prospects don’t grow on trees. There’s quite a select few of them, and we aren’t in any position as a program to be at the front of the pecking order for their services. A lot of names have been thrown around for 2010 prospects by me and other fans. Quite frankly, though, I have yet to find any big man prospect in that class that was ever seriously considering us.

But fans still think we’re going to bring a C prospect in the program next year (which means to them, somebody’s leaving). I’m certainly not ruling that out as a possibility. There’s such a fluxuation among basketball rosters from year to year that it wouldn’t surprise me if a kid currently on scholarship will not finish his eligibility with the team. But for crying out loud, shut up with the speculation. It’s obviously a private decision for the player and their family. As fans, we speculate all the time about who, when, or how the team plays basketball. But personal decisions should remain personal. I just couldn’t imagine being a dedicated player who has put in so much time and effort into the program, then getting online and reading how the fans think I’m just going to leave because I’m scheduled to graduate early. Or I don’t get enough playing time. Or what have you. It would be a slap in the face to me. If we didn’t have such high character and classy guys in our program right now, maybe I wouldn’t be so upset about this. But I enjoy watching every single one of these players and would love for all of them to stay. That includes Andrew Ott.

And for what it’s worth, I think we can be just fine without a 6’10” C. We did end a 33 game home winning streak with a frontline of Travis Parker, Geary Claxton, Jamelle Cornley. I don’t think people will question Bill’s scholarship offer when they see him play for us for the first time.

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Some other 2009 prospect news.

  • Tim Frazier won Houston POY over McD’s All-American Tommy Mason-Griffin, who’s going to Oklahoma
  • JoeCleezy posted a Jermaine Marshall tribute tape.
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