The ‘Next’ Point God from Queens?
Corey Edwards and other young guns shine at IS8.
Regular fall workouts have rapidly emerged into workaday madhouses for budding Christ The King point guard Corey Edwards.
A buffet-line of college coaches have been eyeing the 6-1 senior, keeping tabs on his true point guard style and show-running ability.
Coaches from Pitt, West Virginia, George Mason, Boston College, Virginia have all come in from out the woodwork, registering their presence as Edwards penetrates the teeth of defenses at will and makes his teammates beneficiaries of his distributions. C-Ed’s proclivity for drawing the defense in and kicking it to the open man has made him a tantalizing talent. He’s beginning to blossom into a national recruit with his no-panic, dish-first brand of play.
St. John’s has also been hastily chasing Edwards, who New Heights coach Adam Berkowitz describes as “a calming influence when he’s on the court.”
Edwards, who’s been outspoken about his desire to play in the guard-heavy Big East, is favoring Villanova and West Virginia.
“Nova has my top interests right now, I’d say ‘Nova and West Virginia,” explained Edwards over the phone, on his way to meet LeBron James in NYC this weekend. “I was real surprised when Virginia came all the way down.”
Folks at the bandbox IS8 gymnasium were real surprised Saturday, when New Heights’ 6-6 forward Jayvaughn Pinkston (the most highly-sought after recruit on this side of Kyrie Irving) was neutralized and Edwards stole the show.
Edwards connected on a number of timely Js, ran the floor well and peddled out assists like a neighborhood pusher peddles weed.
Everybody knows where he is at all times, tracking him down and craving his blink-quick passes.
“He runs the show,” explained Berkowitz. “Everybody knows that. When he needs to penetrate and score, he knows to do that. When he needs to distribute the ball and get the ball to our bigs, he does that.”
Berkowitz continued, “He knows what (New Heights 17U coach Kimani Young) is all about all the time, which is really setting the tone defensively. He needs to be a real stopper, and pressure guards, and get the other team out of what they want to do, for us to be successful.”
All summer, Edwards, a native of South Jamaica, NY, talked about the need to improve his paltry-or-party jump shot and better his decisions with the rock.
He showed progression before the jam-packed gym Saturday, orchestrating the show as a sea of hoop heads looked on.
The smurf-size gym in Jamaica, Queens has become a proving ground for some of the northeast area’s top-flight ballers.
The pressure is ratcheted up a notch, with standing-room only crowds flooding the gym and IS8 emcee/league commissioner Peter Edwards giving a live play-by-play for the entire block to hear.
Local product Rafer Alston was in attendance on Sunday, when Mount Vernon junior Jabari Hinds carved up defenses to the tune of 22 points and a game winning floater. A southpaw, Hinds has emerged as a scoring guard who gets to the cup at will. The bouncy 6-0 guard threw down one electrifying, rim-rattling banger on a fast break, eliciting a smile from Knights coach Bob Cimmino, watching from the stands with a click of Mount Vernon faithful.
Hinds appears to be the latest top-notch product of the perennial basketball breeding house in Westchester County, one which has produced the likes of Ben Gordon and former professionals Rodney and Scooter McCray.
Edwards knows something about perennial hoop breeding grounds and respecting tradition. Christ The King (see Odom, Lamar for more on that one) is no slouch in a city over-saturated with young talent.
“I want to go to a school for guards, a school with good coaching, and that’s probably going to be a Big East school anyway,” said Edwards.
If Edwards, who averaged 12 points and 7 dimes as a sophomore last season, continues to produce the way he did Saturday, slim’s words could very well prove prophetic.
Don’t sleep on these youngins. You’ll be hearing about them again before you know it.
Zach Smart has written for Big East Basketball Report, Hoops Addict and The East Coast Bias. Read more on his blog.