Lehigh's Edwards has become a complete player

Lehigh's Edwards has become a complete player

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Lehigh's Edwards has become a complete player

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Bernard “BJ” Edwards, Jr. has been a prolific scorer during his time at Lehigh Senior High.

There was a knock on his game, however, that he couldn’t bring the other numbers to complement the scoring.

Then the 5-foot-11 point guard has added 10 pounds of muscle and some variety to his stat sheet this season.

As a sophomore last year, his stat line read 21.7 points, 3.1 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game.

Through 12 games and 11 wins this season, Edwards’ scoring average has dropped to 17.5 points per game, while his assists are up to just under 5.0, he’s grabbing 5.9 rebounds and steals are up to 2.6.

“I think if you would ask BJ, he wouldn’t have a problem with that at all, as do none of us,” Lehigh coach Dawn McNew. “We put a lot of pressure on BJ last year. He pretty much had to do everything for us. Now there isn’t that pressure on him to have to be the big-time scorer for us.”

His improved stats have come with more wins for the Lightning (11-1), first in District 5A-14 entering today’s matchup with Community School of Naples (10-1) at the Lehigh Regional Medical Center Holiday Madness.

Last week, both teams lost for the first time this season.

“It’s going to tough. We know a couple of players on their team,” Edwards said. “We’re just going to go in there and keep doing the same things we’ve been doing and try to keep it rolling.”

Edwards has received interest from FAU, FGCU, Louisville, Southern Miss, Fairfield, Oral Roberts and Ohio State, his father’s alma mater.

“It would be great if he went there. I’ve talked with their coaches they like him,” said Edwards, Sr. “I think this season and this off-season will be a big step for him. I don’t care where he goes. I pray for him that he does get a scholarship and he can play college ball and get a degree.”

Edwards, Sr., who led the Buckeyes in receptions in 1991, has seen his son’s growth on what he described as a quarterly basis.

Playing on the Florida Future AAU squad, the younger Edwards led the team to wins over teams from Arkansas, Tennessee and New York this summer.

But Edwards, Jr. nearly followed his father’s footsteps in football, serving as the quarterback of the Pop Warner Riverdale Wildcats until he was 12, his third year in pads.

He said he wasn’t wearing a knee pad in practice and a teammate hit his knee, causing him to miss six months, which would be the last time he laced up his cleats.

His dad didn’t have a problem with his son solely focused on basketball, referring to it as a moment of maturity for a kid in junior high school at the time.

“A lot of people try to live through their kids. I tried not to do it with him. I let him do what he wanted,” Edwards, Sr. said. “If he wanted to play piano, it would be a piano. Our relationship is not based on basketball. It’s based on life, love and family.”

“I wasn’t upset at all. Gained a new respect for him. I try to teach him how to make decisions for himself. He made a decision and I supported it. I was pleased with the maturity level he showed.”

Edwards, Jr., is 34 points away from 1,000 in his career and could leave Lehigh as its all-time leading scorer if he eclipses the 1,700 mark.

“It’s great. I just want to get it. But I’m going to keep doing what I have to do. Nothing is going to change,” he said.

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