Dre’una Edwards hasn’t forgotten the long days and nights spent at the park with her older brothers growing up in Los Angeles.
Putting up shots, facing each other one-on-one and emulating the family’s hardwood hero, Kobe Bryant, became a ritual near Dorsey High School.
“My brothers always taught me to be aggressive like them,” said Edwards, who has eight siblings. “We used to go to the park and (play) at the gym and all that. They would always tell me, ‘You got to call for the ball. You got to do this, you got to do that.’ That’s why I think I’m so tough now.”
The 6-foot-2-inch forward, a junior at Liberty High, attributes those moments on the concrete to her becoming one of the top girls basketball players in Southern Nevada.
“By far, the best player (in the state) is Dre’una Edwards,” Liberty coach Chad Kapanui said. “She should be in the top two or (win outright) the Player of the Year.”
Edwards has led the Patriots to a 22-1 record, averaging 16.4 points, 14.0 rebounds, 7.0 steals, 6.0 assists and 3.0 blocks. This from a player who had to get accustomed to a new group of teammates for the third time in high school.
As a freshman, Edwards studied law in Canyon Springs’ magnet program and played one varsity season before moving to Barstow, California. There, the California Interscholastic Federation forced her to play junior varsity because of the transfer, which might have slowed her college recruitment.
But that setback didn’t derail Edwards’ future. Now that she is back in Southern Nevada and has found a permanent home at Liberty, college coaches haven’t been shy about reaching out.
“She fit in so well here,” Kapanui said. “She raises the energy a little bit higher for our team. To see a post player running down (the court), it kind of pushes the guards more. Because if a post player is beating you down, that’s not a good sign.”
Edwards, however, isn’t your traditional post player. As much as she can take on double and triple teams in the paint, she easily will step out and knock down jumpers.
“She’s well rounded and can play every position,” Kapanui said. “Very athletic. You don’t see people like that — a big that can run, shoot, grab rebounds and pass the ball. She’s everything in one person’s body.”
Edwards, who hopes one day to play in the WNBA, is looking to lead the Patriots to their first state title. Many would consider her goal unlikely, as a matchup against heavy favorite Centennial — the fourth-ranked team in the country and two-time defending state champion — seems imminent.
But Edwards isn’t backing down.
“I’m just ready for everything,” she said. “I’m ready to win state. I’m ready to go to college. I wonder how life in college is and everything. I wish I could see the future to see where I sign and who gives me scholarships.”
Edwards has scholarship offers from Cal State Bakersfield, Fresno State and UNLV, and is receiving interest from several Pacific-12 Conference schools.
As many believe, the recruiting game for her is just getting started.
“She has a bright future,” Kapanui said. “She’s been pretty humble about it. She doesn’t really talk about the colleges much. But she’s just enjoying the process right now.”
Contact reporter Ashton Ferguson at email@example.com or 702-383-0430. Follow @af_ferguson on Twitter.