INDIANAPOLIS -- Hyron Edwards takes no chances. His rib pads showcase that.
Edwards is a 4-star point guard from the Class of 2015 with a world of basketball potential -- which is why Indiana, Purdue and Illinois have offered scholarships; why Michigan State, Notre Dame, Kansas and Michigan are looking hard -- and a slender frame suited for slashing and not crashing.
Thus, the rib pads.
“I stay protected at all times,” he says.
Edwards is listed at 5-10 and 160 pounds. He does not wow with power and strength. He does not smash through defenses like a fullback. When he attacks the rim, and he does with authority, he absorbs contact and tries to minimize the consequences.
Thus, the rib pads.
“Injuries are bad for me,” he says.
So here is Edwards after an Indiana Elite 2015 game. His uniform is off, his rib pads are exposed. This is not, by the way, a rare thing.
“I wear them every game.”
Edwards can score from the perimeter and take it to the rim. He can pass, drive and defend -- in short, he does what you want a point guard to do. He projects as the state's next Yogi Ferrell, who thrived as an IU freshman this past season.
Of course, Edwards has to do it better. He's an impressive sophomore for East Chicago Central High School and Indiana Elite 2015, but he is far from a finished product. He works on his own. He works with his trainer, Chris Woods. He works with his high school and travel ball coaches.
“I'm working on everything,” he says. “I'm in the weight room. Chris Woods and I work out together -- on shooting, dribbling, ballhandling, defense, everything. He's a great guy to get me to the college level.”
Edwards burst on the national recruiting scene last spring, and IU and Purdue were quick to offer scholarships. They remain hot on his trail -- attending nearly every game. They were very much around during last weekend's adidas Spring Classic in Indianapolis.
You bet he appreciates it.
“It's a blessing to have them here. I wouldn't have my talents, or these coaches here, without God being there every day and night.”
Edwards has no college favorites. He's enjoying the recruiting process and plans to let it play out, recognizing that what might seem to be the best school as a sophomore might change when he's a senior.
“Whoever is looking at me, I'm looking at them heavy,” he says. “All the schools have been great to me.”
Edwards doesn't wait for coaches to contact him. He initiates things.
“I keep in contact with all of them. Every week I'll call to see how they're doing. I want to make sure I'm still with them and they're still with me. We connect pretty well.”
The connections to Purdue and Indiana are strong. He's from the same city that produced former Boiler basketball standout E'Twaun Moore and football standout Kawann Short, who was just drafted in the second round by the NFL's Carolina Panthers.
“Indiana is a great school,” Edwards says. “They've got Yogi Ferrell and Jeremy Hollowell. They went pretty far in the NCAA tourney (IU lost in the Sweet 16 for the second straight season).
“E'Twaun and Kawann are from East Chicago, so that's pretty neat.
“My relationship with the Purdue coaches is pretty funny. We're always joking around about school, girl wise, anything.”
As far as what Edwards looks for in a school, he says he wants one that will, “Get me over the hump to the next level. One that works hard. It needs to be an academic school. A great school.”
Edwards plays on the same travel ball team as Carroll's Chandler White and Indianapolis Cathedral's Jalen Coleman. Coleman joined Indiana Elite 2015 this season. White and Coleman also are generating heavy recruiting attention.
“If the defense is on me heavy,” Edwards says, “I can give it to Jalen or Chandler. We can all bring the ball up. It's great to have other point guards on the team. We all have court vision to shoot and pass. It's been great.”
Edwards is more of a scorer in high school, more of a facilitator in travel ball.
“I don't shoot that much on the AAU circuit,' he says. “I mostly pass, get to the hole and try to make the right decision.”
After four spring tournaments, Indiana Elite 2015 still seeks its first championship. Those losses, and the ones from last year, fuel its drive, Edwards says.
“Winning these tournaments is very important. We've got a chip on our backs now. We've got to play every game hard. The chip came from last year to this year. Every team wants to beat us. We've got to give them a run.”