When factoring in the record-breaking and historic success of the Edison boys basketball team this season, it began and ended with the man in the middle.
It is that reason among many others that Chargers senior Chris Baldwin was selected as the Fandy.com Magazine Boys Basketball Player of the Year.
“He meant an awful lot to us this year,” Edison coach Chris Ceccoli said of Baldwin. “He averaged a double-double, led the conference in rebounding and was a kid that when teams started preparing for us, he was at the top of their list in trying to come up with ways to contain him.”
The 6-foot-8 senior averaged 9.2 points and 7.3 rebounds per game as a junior, but saw those categories’ numbers spike to 13.6 points and 10.5 rebounds this season in helping lead Edison High School to its first-ever conference championship in the sport.
Edison finished 17-5, including 11-3 in the SBC. The program also won its first sectional championship in nine seasons before falling late to Bucyrus Wynford, 49-43 in a Division III district semifinal.
In two tournament games that also included a 54-45 sectional title win against Woodmore, Baldwin totaled 28 points and 20 rebounds.
“It was something our senior class wasn’t used to, but we stuck with it,” Baldwin said of the Chargers’ new-found success this season. “We came a long way to become winners, and through hard work as a group of friends we were able to accomplish a lot this year.”
Baldwin admitted a lot of work was necessary in the offseason to improve on his junior season.
“As a junior I wasn’t as focused on what I wanted to do or become,” he said. “It took a lot of work in the weight room and just working on my game during the summer, and it just all came together after that.”
Ceccoli attributed all of Baldwin’s success to the summer months.
“Any success he had this year was from his work ethic in the offseason,” he said. “What he did to put himself in position to succeed he did through the time he put in the weight room and improving his game.”
Had Baldwin lacked the skills to go up and down the floor, the Chargers may not have had the success they did this season, according to Ceccoli.
“What makes Chris so unique is he’s 6-foot-8 but he’s athletic and is capable of getting up and down the floor in a hurry, which led to a lot of transition points for us,” he said. “I don’t think we could have gone up-tempo if he wasn’t as athletic as he was in filling the lane, scoring on the block and creating fast break opportunities for us.
“He was capable of 15-foot jump shots and typically in high school, a post that big is a back to the basket true post, but he had a lot of versatility. And defensively it’s awfully nice to have a great eraser behind you to block or alter shots.”
While Baldwin hasn’t decided where to play college basketball, he said he is waiting to hear back from Findlay, Cleveland State, Morehead State, Indiana State and Austin Peay.
Note: Perkins senior Shon Alexander and Plymouth junior Brook Turson also were considered for