Edison proves his points while carrying heavy load Deaths don't stop Edmondson guard

January 14, 1993|By Derek Toney | Derek Toney,Contributing Writer

Sitting in his office last week, Edmondson basketball coach James James reminisced about the first time he met Randolph Edison.

"He said to me that he wanted to start," he said. "I said I couldn't promise him that because there were players already here with experience and I couldn't bring him in and start over them. He said he didn't want to play.

"Maybe about a week or so later, he came back to me and wanted to be on the team. He sat on the bench for the first three games, then I put him the third game, and I think he scored 25 points."

Since then, Edmondson has made consecutive appearances in the Maryland Scholastic Association B Conference championship game, winning the title last season.

This season, Edison has taken his game as well as his intensity level up a notch, averaging 25.3 points and 4.2 assists for the No. 12 Redskins (6-4).

But this season is different for him, not because it's his senior year, but because of what he has dealt with during the past six months.

The deaths of two friends and the loss of a key starter to this year's team has turned his season into a bittersweet one, but he has handled the losses with a quiet demeanor.

"I keep those things out of my mind," said Edison, a 5-foot-7 senior point guard. "Before each game, I say a prayer for them. They might cross my mind during the game, but I used it as an inspiration of their spirit."

In October, Toneeka Mosley, a member of the volleyball team and a starter on the girls basketball team, collapsed during a volleyball match against Western. She died en route to Johns Hopkins Hospital from an aneurysm.

Before the start of the basketball season, Maurice Blanding, the team's leading scorer from last season, was declared academically ineligible.

But the loss that has hurt Edison the most is that of his best friend, Eddie Rivers, a member of last year's squad, who died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in July. Edison said Rivers was his biggest fan and harshest critic, always pushing him to do his best.

One of Edison's fondest memories of him was the time that he took him to the gymnasium court 90 minutes before a game against Douglass last season and made him shoot jumpers.

After Edison was told of Rivers' death, he immediately took his basketball and played for five hours in 95-plus-degree heat. With sweat pouring off him, he returned home. He said his mother told him that he had to face the reality of Rivers being gone. He broke down and cried.

"I still can't believe that he's gone," Edison said. "Not being to see him smile or shoot the ball and just be around him. When you're close with someone like brothers, you tend to fuss a little and that's how we were, but those were good times and they remained with me."

James said he thought that early in the season Edison was trying to take on the burden of filling the void left by Blanding and Rivers, who combined for an average of more than 32 points last season. And while his numbers were increasing, his attitude was going in the other direction. He was getting frustrated with every mistake made.

Although junior Antonio Sullivan (17.6 ppg, 3.4 apg) has aided Edison in scoring, opponents are aware that Edison is the Redskins' go-to guy, but they haven't been able to contain him. He has scored in double figures in eight of Edmondson's 10 games, including a career-high of 44 against Patterson on Dec. 22.

"His ability to play this game is in essence what makes him one of the best players in the city," said James. "He handles the ball well, he passes well and he shoots well. He has all the characteristics of a good guard, but his size is the thing that bothers me. But that kid can play Division I basketball."

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