PEMBROKE — Last week, Austin Edwards took a visit to St. Andrews University for a basketball workout, hoping for a chance to continue his basketball career.
On Thursday, the Purnell Swett senior saw that hope become a reality as he signed to continue playing hoops in Laurinburg with the Knights.
“It all happened quick,” Edwards said. “Last Thursday (the St. Andrews coaching staff) asked me to come up for a workout. I guess they liked what they saw. I went back three days later and got offered. It’s been a real quick process.”
Randy Hernandez, who is in his second season as head coach of the Knights, said Edwards’ 6-foot-7 frame was something the team needed heading into this season.
“We needed another big guy,” said Hernandez, whose team currently has only one player taller than 6-5. “His footwork is pretty good. We need someone to get those rebounds and open up the floor more.”
It also didn’t hurt that Edwards is a local guy, playing his prep years a short ride down U.S. 74.
“We got the opportunity to see him a year ago at Lumberton, but we thought we’d lose him to (The University of North Carolina at Pembroke),” Hernandez said. “(UNCP) Coach (Ben) Miller has a great program so it’s kind of hard to get good local guys.
“We wanted that local guy coming to the program and we got lucky.”
Edwards, who played at Lumberton before transferring to Purnell Swett this past season, only played 13 games for the Rams, but Jeremy Sampson is confident his game will transition well at the college level.
“He can really pass well and is a good shooter,” said Sampson, Purnell Swett’s boys basketball coach. “I think he has a good future ahead of him.”
It’s been a hectic year for Edwards, but he’s happy to have it behind him as he focuses on the next step of the journey.
“It was a weird transition, but everything has worked out pretty good for me,” he said. “I just want to continue my basketball career because it’s something I really enjoy. I want to stay around the game and eventually make it my job one day.”
Rodd Baxley can be reached at 910-416-5182. Follow him on Twitter @RoddBaxley.