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Top prep hoop recruit evolves into versatility

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For more on prep basketball, follow The News-Sentinel.com crew via Twitter at PrepHoops_ns.

Ohio's Edwards has Purdue near top of his recruiting list

Thursday, May 9, 2013 - 6:54 am

It was a big advantage early in Vince Edwards childhood to be tall on the basketball court. Hitting his growth spurt before his peers set him up to become a dominant inside force.

But while being inches taller than the other players on the court may have helped Edwards early in his career, eventually those same players he towered over caught up to him he said after a game at the Bill Hensley Memorial Run-n-Slam All Star Classic.

“When I was younger, I wasn't much of a versatile guy,” Edwards said. “I was more of a big man because I was bigger than everybody, but when I got to my whole younger school team we had a lot of guys me height so I really had to take it to another level to develop my game more.”

That level came over time as Edwards worked on his ball-handling skills. His focus on doing more allowed him to become an all-around player with the ability to take his defender off the dribble, have a deft passing touch, strong rebounding skills and as a 6-foot-6 wing player, still use his former post-up moves against smaller players at the position.

He turned his biggest weakness, being an inside specialist, into his biggest strength, being able to do it all.

These abilities have landed Edwards as the No. 62 recruit in the class of 2014 according to Rivals. It has also gotten him plenty of attention from schools like Purdue, Michigan, Indiana, Butler and more. Edwards said the Boilermakers being the “first really big offer” has helped their cause on the recruitment trail.

“I mean it's definitely Michigan and Purdue at the top right now because you know, those are the two hardest on me (recruiting) right now,” Edwards said. “It's hard to choose one or another because like (Purdue) Coach (Matt) Painter and (Michigan) Coach (John) Beilein said, they're both the same two people. They recruit the same guys so it's hard to give one the edge over the other.”

While Purdue and Michigan may have the early edge in the recruiting process, that doesn't mean Edwards has completely narrowed down his list.

He is hoping turn impress a few more schools during the AAU circuit. That plan certainly got off to a strong start as he was one of the leaders for the All-Ohio Red squad that took home the title.

“Really, in the spring, I'm down to two schools right now (Purdue and Michigan), but I'm really trying to attract more,” Edwards said. “That's the whole point of my pushing my (college) decision back. I'm trying to lay it out this spring to see how it goes.

“Just because Michigan and Purdue are the top two right now doesn't mean I'm done looking.”

With the plan to announce a decision before his senior basketball season, Edwards still has plenty of time to see what other schools might jump into the recruiting mix. He said he hopes to take some unofficial visits later this spring, with plans to take multiple official visits before coming to a decision.

“I mean, I don't really write anybody off,” Edwards said. “Sometimes, coaches get caught up in situations with guys who are there, so I don't take that to offense. I don't get offended by that.”

The extra time to attract more schools also means time to continue to develop his all-around game. Edwards said he has been working out nearly every morning before school, with hopes to become quicker and stronger and continue to develop his basketball skills.

“I've been working on attacking the glass more, crashing offensive rebounds, you know, trying to do the little things,” Edwards said. “Not everybody doesn't want to go after the ball every play, so what are you going to do to separate yourself?”