August 10, 2009

Leeder adds to front line

By Chris Whitaker, The Americus Times-Recorder

Georgia Southwestern men's basketball coach Mike Leeder recently added to his 2009-10 recruiting class with the signing of Derrick Edwards from Northwest Mississippi Community College.

Edwards, a 6-foot-7 forward from Memphis, Tenn., gives the Hurricanes a formidable front line with returner Chris Rawls and JUCO signee Michael Tippins.

"This will be the best threesome we have had inside since we've made the transition," said Leeder, who will enter his fourth season as the Hurricanes head man. "This is as deep of a team that we will have had in terms of no dropoff when we go to the bench. We'll have options."

Northwest, a traditional power on the JUCO level, has dropped off the past couple of seasons finishing last in its conference, said Edwards. He averaged 11.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and shot close to 60 percent from the field last season as a sophomore.

"He's very skilled for a big guy," said Leeder. "He can shoot the ball, and the thing I like about him when I saw him play, he doesn't take a lot of shots he can't make. He's a very efficient player."

Edwards said he's learned how to become a better leader on the floor, and he's excited about bringing his game to GSW.

"I've learned to push my team forward and do anything I can to help my team win," he said.

Edwards said he's a better face-up player, and he can consistently make about 15-footers.

"I can play defense and be real aggressive on the offensive end," he said. "I can get other players involved.

"I really liked the atmosphere of being in Georgia, and I heard it's a nice league down there with a nice group of guys. It should be a good experience for me to come and be an impact player."