When I first met 6'-8" 220 lb WF Jonathan Edwards of Living Faith Christian Academy in Cherry Hills NJ. I was like man this guy is put together and it looks like he put some extra muscle and be very physical…
So I asked Jonathan what position he played in high school and he said, "A little bit of everything, I handle the ball pretty well, mostly small and power forward plus guard. I'm an all around player."
Okay. Okay… So like a 6'8" guard? What are your strengths as a player? "My length and ball handling ability. All parts of my game are strong except my defense I really need to work on that," said Edwards.
So I asked his the man that brought him out to UNM for the Elite Camp… Coach Lawrence Mc Gugins what kind of player Jonathan Edwards is and he said, "Jonathan is a smooth smooth player. Reminds me of a Tayshaun Prince. He can play in the post as well as perimeter and poses a lot of threats. He is also a great mid range shooter."
I asked both Edwards and Coach Mc Gugins what Jonathan had to do to become a better basketball player and both of them said the exact same thing which tells me immediately that Jonathan Edwards is a very coachable player.
"Defense and being more aggressive," said Edwards. "Those are the two things I'm working on this summer." Meanwhile, Coach Lawrence said, "He can put the ball on the floor but he needs to be a little bit more aggressive for 40 minutes a game. It isn't like he can't do it, because he can, he just needs to do it more and that will come with more experience as he is an '08 graduate."
When you watch these guys it is so hard to remember that they are going to be juniors in high school this upcoming season and that as good as they are, they still need more experience and seasoning.
Watching Edwards play on the court showed me that he could do exactly what he said he could do. One minute he is bringing the ball up court, the next he is moving baseline to baseline waiting for an entry pass. Defensively he would go out vs. a swing player or drop down in the post and try to contain Christian Morris.
Jonathan Edwards in black tries to keep The Beast out of the paint!
Now I may have been somewhat predisposed to seeing this as they both said it, but I also noticed what both Edwards and McGugins said about "being more aggressive" as there were times that he didn't seem to be all the way in that game situation. Now that may have been more the fact that the people with the ball didn't recognize the wide open Edwards roving the baseline and possibly frustration, or it could have been Edwards just lulling his defender to sleep… I say that because Edward's best play of the day came off a Mickey Mc Connell pass from the top of the key down low and Edward's exploded to the hoop for an easy dunk.
I spoke with Jonathan about being he recruited and he said right now
I asked if he had any favorites at this point and Edwards said, "New Mexico is one of my favorites as well as South Carolina…"
Before I let him go I was curious what Jonathan thought of going up against current collegiate players and he said, "JR Giddens is really really… I mean really good. I knew he was good when I saw him when he played Kansas, but he and these other guys are really good. Makes me want to work harder because this is where I've got to get to."
So you can hang with these guys Jonathan? "Yeah of course! You just have to work hard and believe."