It has been a long road for Calvin Edwards, but all the hard work he has put into basketball paid off last season at Clarion University.

It has been a long road for Calvin Edwards, but all the hard work he has put into basketball paid off last season at Clarion University.

Edwards, a 2008 graduate of Delaware Hayes High School, was honorable mention all-district in Division I as a senior when he averaged 13.1 points for the Pacers.

He was the third-leading scorer at Clarion last season, as the Golden Eagles went 15-13 overall and 11-11 in the Pennsylvania State Athletic Conference-West Division. Clarion competes in NCAA Division II.

"Calvin shot out of a cannon early for us and just had a terrific first half of the season because of his steady shooting, especially from 3-point range," Clarion coach Ron Righter said. "In the second half of the season, he wasn't a secret to a lot of our opponents and he usually drew the best perimeter defender. But we're excited because we're expecting him to have a big season next year (as a senior)."

Edwards attended Owens Community College in the Toledo area for three years; he was redshirted in 2008-09.

"I went from being redshirted and not knowing what to expect to being a starter," said Edwards, a 6-foot-3 shooting guard who was a two-time academic All-American at Owens. "I really busted my butt to improve. The jump from high school to college is a tough one and there are so many great athletes at junior colleges."

Hayes coach Jordan Blackburn, who was an assistant during Edwards' years with the Pacers, had a feeling Edwards would make it.

"He went from playing j.v. as a junior to first-team all-league as a senior," Blackburn said. "He believes in himself and is a great example of the things you can do when you put in the work and you have faith in yourself. I think others may have always placed limitations on him, but he has never doubted himself."

Edwards averaged 13.1 points for the Golden Eagles and started 25 games last season. He shot 38 percent from the field and averaged 3.2 rebounds and 2.6 assists.

"We have a shooting machine in the gym and my office is close enough to hear it," Righter said. "I don't even have to peak out and see who is in there working. I know 90 percent of the time it's Calvin. He is such a hard worker. Plus he's smart, bright and just a wonderful kid. All the kids really like him. What I like most about him is that all we have to do is point him in the right direction and he'll get there."

This summer, Edwards said the coaching staff has pointed him toward working on creating his own shot.

"I definitely am working on that hard because it is my weakness," he said. "They want me to develop a quick first step to elude defenders and hit the mid-range jumper. If I can do that, I'll get more open looks at my 3s. So I want to get faster and stronger."

Righter, who has coached 24 years at Clarion and 26 overall, said Edwards adding about 10 pounds of muscle would go a long way.

"We play in a physical league and it's a long season," Righter said. "I would be very happy if he could add 10 or 12 pounds of muscle. I think that would help him tremendously. I think he hit a bit of a wall last year because of the physical play, length of the season and because he was drawing great defenders."

Edwards helped Righter win his 400th career game, as he made two free throws with 2.2 seconds remaining to beat East Stroudsburg 65-63 on Nov. 20. Edwards also scored the winning points with two free throws in a 74-73 victory over Mansfield on Jan. 6.

"He has a great shot, so we just need him to be able to take more shots," Righter said. "We're not saying he has to drive to the basket all the time, we just want him to take one or two quick dribbles and take the medium-range jumper. He only needs a little room. That would go a long way in his development. We know he's working on it, because he's the hardest worker we have."

Edwards, a business and finance major, is hoping to continue playing basketball after leaving Clarion.

"I want to play as long as I can because I love the game," he said. "I think I should be able to play overseas at least. That's my goal anyway."