JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (WJHL) – University of Tennessee freshman guard, BJ Edwards, received plenty of support from friends and family members as he put on his first-ever basketball camp in the Tri-Cities on Saturday.
But, when he returns to Knoxville and gets back in the gym with the rest of his Volunteer teammates – he’ll be supported by some of the team’s more experienced guards. Senior Santiago Vescovi and even sophomore Zakai Zeigler have already established themselves as leaders for Rick Barnes.
Edwards has taken the first few practices to soak in as much as he can from those veteran players.
“It means a lot just learning from them – I’m gonna always listen to the older guys,” he said. “Definitely those first couple practices – I’m listening to what they’re saying because they know what Coach Barnes likes and all the other coaches.”
“Just competing with them is a great thing to do, because of what they did all the years in the SEC,” Edwards continued. “So, being able to compete against them is a blessing for me.”
Despite his freshman status on the team, Edwards believes he can play a sizable role both on the court and in the locker room.
“I talk to Coach Barnes a lot,” he said. “He called me the biggest surprise of the summer. He did not expect me to be where I am at right now. ”
And Edwards hopes his defensive prowess can lead to some early minutes in his Big Orange career.
“If you can not guard anyone then you’re not going to be on the floor – you’re not going to get playing time,” Edwards said. “So, that’s my main focus right now – just playing defense.”
Edwards and the rest of the Vols will return to practice when the fall semester begins on August 24.