PROVO Scott Edwards stood at the line with an opportunity to sink two critical free throws for Provo High late in its basketball game against Timpview last week.
Edwards managed to drain both shots, helping to secure the Bulldogs' 65-56 victory over the Thunderbirds.
On the outside, it wasn't much. Just a couple of free throws. As a matter of fact, it was the only two points Edwards would contribute to the team's victory. Edwards ended up playing just 10 minutes total in the game.
For many basketball players, success is determined by how many minutes played and how many points scored. If Edwards was one of those players, he would have thought his game was unproductive and a let-down. But Edwards isn't that type of player. Right now, Edwards is just happy to be able to contribute at all.
Edwards, a starter and key contributor to last year's 4A state championship winning Bulldogs' team, has seen minimal playing time much of this season because of frequent injuries and illnesses. At one point, he injured his shoulder. Then, he injured his ankle. And whenever he's not injured, he's fighting constant fatigue problems.
"He's tired all the time," said his coach, Craig Drury. "The kid never sleeps. He'll go to bed at three in the morning and get up at six. He's got restless leg syndrome. Three weeks ago, he was starting to sleep, and he played a couple games where he played just awesome. Then he hurt his shoulder. Then he gets sick again."
Playing through injuries and illnesses would be a tough challenge for any athlete. But for Edwards, it's a responsibility. It's that sense of desire to contribute no matter what happens that has endeared Edwards to his coach. Drury says that it's players like Edwards who have made Provo the team that it is.
"Provo basketball was taken to the top by great young men like Scott," Drury said. "Scott is representative of the great young men who have come through Provo."
Edwards' ability to fight through personal problems to play basketball has also inspired his other coaches.
Assistant coach Jim McEvoy expressed gratitude for Edwards but also added he isn't very surprised.
"Seniors provide the leadership, and he's just filling his role," McEvoy said. "His role is he's going to do whatever he can do. He says, 'OK, what do you need?' What we need, he gives to us."
But no matter how much others may be impressed with his ability to fight through problems, Edwards insists he is just doing what needs to be done.
"It's tough but you just got to go with the mind-set that this is fun," Edwards said. "It's my last season so I got to play. I just look at it as a challenge to do my best do play a better game with my injuries."
Edwards comes from an athletic family and has been playing basketball his entire life. His father played high school basketball, and his three brothers played baseball. Edwards enjoys basketball because of the competitive nature.
"It runs in the family," Edwards said. "We're a very competitive family in everything we do. We don't like to lose at anything. Even at a foot race. We play a lot of board games, and it gets pretty intense."
Edwards is also a very confident person, according to Drury.
"Scott has a wonderful image of himself," Drury said. "He's not an arrogant kid. But he knows who he is. Basketball is what he does, but it's not who he is. It's frustrating to him I'm sure (to not play as much as he wants) but it's not who he is. He's a fine young man who would be a fine young man if he never played another minute of basketball."
Edwards still isn't sure what he is going to do after he graduates in terms of where he is going to go to college. Right now, he's just trying to focus on helping his team win another state championship.
Drury believes, however, that Edwards has all the skills necessary to play at the next level.
"He'll probably have to walk on somewhere because his numbers haven't been that great this year because of his injuries," Drury said. "But I think he'll make a good basketball player for somebody. What an athlete. He can jump and bite the rim. He's very quick. Fast. When he's healthy, he's explosive. It's not how high he gets up, it's how quick he gets up. I think he could play at the next level."