Hood guard Edmonds leads on court, stays busy off it

February 22, 2007|By Christian Ewell | Christian Ewell,Sun Reporter

Basketball has a place in Darnell Edmonds' life six days a week at Hood College.

The senior guard has been a four-year starter at Hood, a small private school in Frederick. He's the team's best defender and the unquestioned leader on a team that unexpectedly won the regular-season Capital Athletic Conference title this season.

But as the Division III Blazers (20-6, 12-4) host St. Mary's tonight in a conference tournament semifinal at Thomas Johnson High, basketball is a mere slice of Edmonds' profile. He takes 18 credits, heads a business management club on campus, works one internship at the Jos. A. Bank clothing chain in Hampstead and another by spending Sundays in New York at the executive office of Bad Boy Records working for hip-hop mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs.

"Got to do what I got to do," said Edmonds, who is on track to graduate in May. "All the things that I'm doing are preparing me for my future. And that's why I'm here."

He seems to have done a bit of everything during his time at Hood - designing T-shirts, coordinating programs for Black History Month, participating in fashion and talent shows and a "man auction" in which the campus' men offer to do chores for women as part of a fundraiser.

"We see him as a leader on and off the floor," said Hood's dean of students, Olivia White. "His whole demeanor is one of excitement. He's gregarious, just determined in terms of the things he does."

Edmonds played point guard at Thomas Johnson and wound up being the first Hood recruit for Tom Dickman, his high school coach who left the school after 592 wins and seven state titles over 29 years to start the Blazers' program.

"He had the personality and toughness of a leader," Dickman said. "The way he play sets the tone, telling teammates that we can play with these guys."

Other than 2.5 steals per game, Edmonds doesn't have sparkling statistics for the Blazers, who can earn a berth in the national title tournament if they win the CAC tournament.

He averages 6.4 points and is shooting 34 percent from the field. But his knowledge of Dickman's system and his ability to soften the coach's occasional harshness has increased Edmonds' value.

"He's the one who gets everyone ready to go," junior center Jesse Gutekunst said. "Sometimes, Coach Dickman is yelling at you, and Darnell's always telling you something. `Don't worry about it.' "

Edmonds also played football and baseball at Thomas Johnson, but neither sport exists at Hood, and the size of the student body (1,185 undergraduates) allows for a greater opportunity to make a mark on campus.

"This is kind of overwhelming," Edmonds said, recalling his initial reaction to his first Black Student Union meeting, when as a freshman he was one of two men out of 30 students in the group.

Soon enough, however, he was in the organization's fashion show. Then, he was coordinating it.

Last summer, Edmonds landed a full-time internship at Bad Boy, well known for its relationship with the late rapper Notorious B.I.G. The internship has continued through the academic year on Sundays, when he mostly performs errands for Combs.

Pursuing degrees in communication and business management, Edmonds hopes to be able to catch on with the company.

Bad Boy had offered him a full-time job over the winter holiday. But he decided to stick around for one more semester and an improbable league championship.

"I had my chance to go, but my experience here made me not want to do that," Edmonds said. "I've had my share of fun here on campus, and I don't want to watch it end any quicker than it needs to."

christian.ewell@baltsun.com

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