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Gateway point guard Edwards commits to Niagara

| Friday, July 21, 2017, 10:27 p.m.
Gateway's Jordan Edwards drives in for a layup against West Allgheny's Claire Mercurio during their first round playoff game Feb. 17, 2017, at Plum.
Louis Raggiunti | For the Tribune-Review
Gateway's Jordan Edwards drives in for a layup against West Allgheny's Claire Mercurio during their first round playoff game Feb. 17, 2017, at Plum.
Gateway's Jordan Edwards fights for control of the ball between Norwin defenders during a WPIAL Quad-A first-round playoff game Feb. 12, 2016.
Louis Raggiunti | For The Tribune-Review
Gateway's Jordan Edwards fights for control of the ball between Norwin defenders during a WPIAL Quad-A first-round playoff game Feb. 12, 2016.

Entering her senior season, Gateway's Jordan Edwards will have a lot to play for, but a Division I basketball scholarship won't be on that list.

Edwards checked that off her list recently when she announced her commitment to continue her academic and athletic career at Niagara.

The Purple Eagles compete in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

“It feels great,” Edwards said. “It is definitely a huge weight off of my back, especially since I don't have to deal with the recruiting process anymore. I am so blessed to go to school for free and still continue to do something that I love. I am glad that I made it this far and that all the hard work paid off.”

Edwards' other Division I offers included St. Francis (Pa.) and Oakland, but neither compared to how she felt when she went to visit Niagara.

“When I went up there for my unofficial visit, I just loved the vibe I got from there,” Edwards said. “It is a family environment. All the kids and coaches got along, and the head coach, Jada Pierce, treated all the kids like they were her own. They took care of me like I was their own even though I wasn't even committed there yet.”

Edwards' production went up her sophomore year when she became Gateway's starting point guard. It was also the year Curtis Williams became the Gators head coach. Last year, Edwards averaged 13 points and was named first-team all-section for the second year in a row.

“Over the last two years, I have seen a lot of growth and development on her learning how to manage a team and keep her eyes up and creating scoring opportunities for her teammates,” Williams said. “She is a true point guard. She sets her teammates up and gets them involved. I really think she is going to do well at the next level. I think her best days are ahead of her. I think she will transition well because of her work ethic. I think she is going to be a very good fit there.”

During the summer, Edwards has fine-tuned her game as a member of the Western Pennsylvania Bruins AAU team. She has been a member of the Bruins for the past six years, and the program played an important role in helping the point guard with her decision.

“They helped me tremendously,” Edwards said. “I have been with them for six years, and every step of the way, they have been right behind me and had my back. They helped me through this process and made sure I was taken care of. They push me to be the best I can be. I am so glad I had the opportunity to play as a Bruin.”

The weight has been lifted off of Edwards' shoulders entering her senior season, but she and the Gators still have some unfinished business as they look for a section championship and their first WPIAL championship.

“I want to make a deep run in the playoffs, deeper than we did this past year,” Edwards said. “I want to play hard and get my average up. I would like to average 17 points per game and maybe even 20. I want to be a good point guard for my teammates and make a nice run in the playoffs this year.”

Williams agrees Gateway basketball is trending in the right direction, and it is because of players like Edwards.

“She is one of our leaders,” Williams said. “She is the voice of the team because of the way she works. Everyone follows her lead. She is setting the precedence of how we want to work and what Gateway girls basketball is about.”

Drew Karpen is a freelance writer.

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