Three impressive varsity seasons at Calvert Hall and several standout summer sessions with Maryland 3D on the Amateur Athletic Union circuit led to many scholarship offers and a "really tough decision" for Drew Edwards.
The 6-foot-3, 175-pound combo guard had to weigh the plusses and minuses of offers from Clemson (where his twin sister, Danielle, will play basketball next year), Dayton (fresh off an Elite Eight appearance), Kansas State (whose lead recruiter, Chester Frazier, is a Baltimore native), Providence (the defending Big East champions) and Richmond (whose lead recruiter, Jamal Brunt, is a Baltimore native).
"I didn't want to turn anyone down," said Edwards, an All-Metro first-team selection. "I built such good relationships" with the coaches.
Ultimately, Edwards decided to go with a coaching staff he connected with best and a program he "loved everything about." The three-star prospect pledged to Providence on Thursday afternoon.
"It feels like I took about 20 pounds off my shoulders just doing that," Edwards said. "I'm ecstatic right now, playing in the Big East for an amazing program and an amazing coach. That was the biggest thing I was looking for. I'm really set to go right now."
Edwards said his relationship with Friars coach Ed Cooley, who grew up in Providence and came to his hometown school after five years leading Fairfield's program, was a deciding factor. Edwards sees Providence, under Cooley's direction, as a program that will continue to rise.
"Coach Cooley just signed a new contract. He's not going anywhere anytime soon," Edwards said. "He's been at Providence and turned the program around. … His heart and soul is at Providence. He grew up right around Providence. That's the spot for him."
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As a junior, Edwards averaged 15 points per game and was named first-team All-Maryland Interscholastic Athletic Association A Conference and All-Baltimore Catholic League. Thanks in large part to his play, the No. 3 Cardinals (28-6) were runners-up in the BCL tournament and invited to the prestigious Alhambra Catholic Invitational Tournament at Frostburg State just one year after finishing 13-16. The Providence coaches don't want him to change much of anything about his game.
"They run and gun," Edwards said. "They go out and they score. I fit in perfect for that. I can score in a few different ways. I just fit in perfect in the offense that they run."
Edwards, who is undecided on a major, said he loved the "at-home" feeling on Providence's campus. He enjoyed his unofficial visit there and plans on coming back this season to watch his future teammates in action.
"The sky is the limit there," he said. "We have a huge recruiting class coming in. I can be a huge playmaker for them and make even more of an impact. They have a real strong recruiting class for 2015. They're looking for one more kid to commit, then we'll be good to go. We'll see if we can compete for championships."