Pepperdine Men's Basketball Program lands local recruit Kameron Edwards

November 12, 2014

Pepperdine men’s basketball coach Marty Wilson will add another talented player to his youth-oriented program next season, as he announced the signing of 6-foot-6 forward Kameron Edwards of Etiwanda High School to a national letter-of-intent.

Pepperdine's 2014-2015 team will feature zero seniors this season, as the Waves’ 16-man roster includes 12 freshmen or sophomores.  Edwards nevertheless committed despite the potential lack of openings in the starting lineup when he eventually does land on campus for the 2015-2016 season.

“Kameron has the ability to be a very good player here at Pepperdine,” Wilson said. “He takes great pride on both ends of the floor. He can score, finish on the break, post up and defend multiple positions. He also has a physical and mental toughness that we love.”

As a junior at Etiwanda High (located in Rancho Cucamonga, Calif.), Edwards averaged 13.6 points and a team-best 7.2 rebounds in his first year as a varsity starter. He was named to the All-CIF Southern Section Open Division second team and to the All-Baseline League first team while also being selected All-Inland Valley.

"Kameron’s got really nice size where he can play inside and out," said Dave Kleckner, head coach at Etiwanda.  "He’s shooting a lot better from three-point range. He can put the ball on the floor and attack the basket. He can get inside and finish right or left-handed. He can defend all of those spots too and can play either the 3 or the 4 at the next level. He’s strong and a quick leaper. The way he gets off the floor, he’s an excellent rebounder as well.”

Edwards helped the Eagles to the CIF State Open Division semifinals, where Etiwanda lost in double overtime to nationally #1-ranked and eventual state champion Mater Dei. One of his teammates, Jordan McLaughlin, is now at USC. Edwards was set to be a member of the varsity rotation as a sophomore but suffered a severely sprained ankle before the season.

At the time of his commitment, Edwards talked to the Inland Valley Daily Bulletin about Pepperdine: “The scenery is just beautiful. I really enjoyed the people I met and I like the direction the program is headed.” Recruiting gave Edwards a score of 75 and rated him as one of the top 25 prep seniors in the state of California. Its scouting report says: “Edwards has the frame, bounce and skill set to be a difficult match-up at the next level. He has long arms, broad shoulders and budding skills to be 4 or a 3 at the next level. He has great instincts in the paint area, can nail elbow jump shots and his ball handling is on the come. He handles the ball well in the open court and his crossover is pretty tight.”

Edwards also plays with the Prodigy Elite basketball club.

“Pepperdine got a steal," said Brandon Lee, one of Edwards’ coaches with Prodigy.  "He’s a matchup nightmare because with smaller defenders, he can post them up, and with bigger defenders, he can take them to the perimeter and go around them. The skill set that he possesses is going to benefit Pepperdine tremendously. He single-handedly took over several games for us, scoring in bunches, getting 10-12 straight points. Kameron is a great kid.”

Unfortunately, coach Wilson cannot pencil Edwards into the starting lineup this week, as Pepperdine opens the 2014-15 season on Friday night (Nov. 15) at home against Fresno State at 7 p.m.

Wilson knows that things could be more difficult this year for the team defensively after the graduation of former UCLA transfer and WCC Defensive Player of the Year, Brendan Lane.

“It’ll be difficult not having Brendan anymore,” Wilson said. “I considered him a ‘super-senior’ because he knew what we were doing on the both ends of the floor, he knew what our opponents were doing on both ends of the floor, and he covered a lot of our mistakes.”

Among this year's newcomers are three freshmen big men who will all be hoping to claim some of the minutes that Lane left behind. The freshmen are 6-foot-10 center Nate Gehring (Waukee, Iowa/Waukee HS), 6-foot-8 forward A.J. John (Santa Rosa, Calif./Maria Carrillo HS), and 6-foot-10 center Ryan Keenan (Woodbury, Minn./East Ridge HS).

“If Nate played three years of high school in Southern California, he’d have been recruited at the Pac-12 level,” Wilson said. “And I think the same thing about some of our other guys. Nate can run and jump and dunk and he can be a special player. He knows he’s a center, he’s not trying to be anything else. A.J. has no idea how good he can be yet. All this is new for him, but we keep giving him things and he keeps responding. The sky’s the limit for him.  Ryan gets better every day. He might be the strongest human being I’ve ever coached. He’s still learning how to be big and strong, but he can be a physical force. And for a guy that big, you wouldn’t expect him to run as well as he does.”

In the backcourt this season, the Waves welcome redshirt freshman A.J. Lapray (Salem, Ore./Sprague HS/Oregon) and freshman Shawn Olden (Tulsa, Okla./Union HS).

“We tried to get A.J. the first time around because we thought he would be a great fit,” Wilson said. “The second time around, I think he realized Pepperdine was the right fit for him. He’s got to get healthy, but he’s a good basketball player. He shoots it, handles it, passes it, can post up and has a great feel for the game. Shawn is going to cause some problems for other teams because he can score in a variety of ways. He can shoot the three and get to the basket and dunk on guys. He’s an unselfish scorer and takes pride in his defense.”

Of course, if things don't pan out so well this year, Wilson can take comfort knowing help is on the way next year with Edwards.

By Staff of and news services

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