Perhaps the biggest influence on Edwards growing up was the close relationship he shared with his older brother Jai. If you are wondering where the relatively small guard's well-known grit and toughness come from, this is it.
Growing up, the two found themselves challenging each other athletically in any way possible. The two played on the same football team for some time, even though Carsen was two years younger than his brother. Out there, they were teammates who looked out for each no matter what. It was off the field that the pair went head to head a lot more often.
At home, Carsen and Jai would have heated battles. The two would work on their tackling skills together along with their rebounding, both of which resulted in a lot of bumps and bruises. However, the most physical thing the duo did often was their intense games of one on one at the gym which they started after Carsen began playing basketball. The competition between the two got to such a high level that eventually a new rule was instilled by their parents that the two could no longer play against one another in anything, only on the same team.
Despite all of this, Carsen and Jai were and remain to be extremely close. And as a result of their relationship and heated battles, Carsen now has an immense amount of grit and toughness to go along with his cold-blooded killer mentality, all of which have become such important elements of his playing style and are personality traits that we cannot assume would be there without the back and forth with his brother Jai.
Carsen Edwards (right) and his older brother Jai (left). Photo via Jai Edwards on his Twitter @jaiedwards_4
A Young Football Career
An athlete his entire life, Edwards started playing football at the age of just four years old as mentioned before with his brother Jai. Combined with the toughness his brother instilled in him, football played a larger role in the physic and body type of Carsen Edwards than many may realize.
At 6'1", 201 pounds Edwards certainly has the size and frame of a speedy running back, so much so in fact that his brother who now plays football for Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas has the exact same height and weight as Carsen.
Edwards' last time playing football was in his sophomore year of high school, in which he only decided to play because it would be his last opportunity to play on the same team as Jai who was a senior. He tried out, made the varsity team, and as a result ended up enacting the chain of events that would ignite the fire in his basketball career moving forward.
Playing With a Chip on his Shoulder
When Carsen came back for his sophomore outing after making the varsity basketball team in his freshman year, there were some concerns from his coach David Martinez. Knowing Edwards was coming off of a varsity football season that was his first in quite some time, Martinez thought it would be a good idea to have Carsen spend a few days with the JV team in order to get into the swing of things before they got deep into the season. Carsen, on the other hand, did not.
Edwards was both infuriated and embarrassed by Martinez' decision to the point where he almost considered quitting. What the teenage Edwards didn't understand at the time was that the decision was not made with any malicious intent and as far as we know Martinez fully intended on bringing him back up as soon as possible. But that did not matter to Carsen. He felt slighted and eventually decided that rather than quit, he would let everyone know that a mistake was made.
Carsen Edwards playing in high school for the Atascocita Eagles. Photo via Andrew Buckley
From there on out, Edwards spent every single morning at the gym working on his physicality and his game. This work ethic appeared to be well worth the time and effort, as in his junior and senior seasons of high school Carsen had a huge jump in his scoring as well as his overall play. In his final season of high school basketball, Edwards averaging almost 27 points per game could score from anywhere on the court and was the star player on the nations #1 ranked team.
Unfortunately, his then-undefeated team lost the championship game due to missing players and foul trouble. However, Edwards' impressive play, work ethic, and his resume were already good enough for him to become a top prospect in the country as he made his way to NCAA ball.
In his final year at Purdue, he was a standout. He averaged 24 points on the season and lead the team to a number 3 seeding in the annual March Madness tournament. It was there that Edwards would shine in the spotlight and truly make a name for himself as a three-point dagger.
Purdue was knocked out in the Elite 8, but that was at no fault of Edwards. Throughout the duration of the tournament, Carsen averaged almost 35 points per game. In addition to this, he also averaged 7 threes a game, breaking the previous record of 5.75 which was held by both Steph Curry and Jeff Fryer.
One of the biggest highlights of his career thus far, however, came later in March Madness play. In what ended up being their final game of the tournament against number one seen Virginia, Edwards almost single handily carried the Boilermakers to the final four. In a game that finished in overtime, he hit ten threes and scored an amazing 42 points out of Purdue's total of 75 as a team.
Without a doubt, Edwards' time at Purdue had an immense effect towards not only making a name for himself as an NBA prospect but also in elevating his game to the next level and strengthening his competitive nature.
Carsen Edwards is a Boston Celtic
On June 20th, 2019 Carsen Edwards was drafted into the NBA after three seasons playing for Purdue University. In a pick swap with the Philadelphia 76ers, Edwards was chosen by the Boston Celtics with the 33rd pick of the night in the second round.
After his impressive junior season in the NCAA, a lot of people had Edwards being taken late in the first round of their 2019 NBA mock drafts. However, that ended up not being the case. After the night had concluded many of those same people had a lot to say about Edwards being taken so late and believed that he might have been the steal of the entire 2019 draft class.
Long story short, Edwards easily could have and probably should have been snatched up way earlier than he was. Now knowing what type of player he is, I'm sure Carsen is very much aware of this and if his hot start in the NBA summer league is any indication he is yet again out to prove himself.
Playing for the Boston Celtics' summer league team in Las Vegas, Edwards was a massive stand out. He averaged 19 points leading the team in scoring and was the most notable snub on the All-NBA summer league team that came out weeks later.
Regardless, Edwards once again made an extremely strong impression and as a result, is expected to have an immediate role on the team in some capacity moving forward on his 4 year, $4.5 million contract with the Celtics.
Carla and James Edwards
Now I know this is out of order, but there is a reason I saved this influence for last. One element of Westerholm's article that I purposely chose to leave out thus far is the effects and decision made by Carsen's parents Carla and James Edwards.
Looking at the timeline of this article and of Westerholm's original for MassLive, it is obvious and clear how much of an effect Carsen's parents had on him and his career. They were the ones who initially pushed Carsen towards football in order to make him tougher and stronger and to build the relationship between him and Jai. When Carsen wanted to play basketball, they helped him train and improve his work ethic in order to become better and better as time went on. And most importantly, when Carsen wanted to quit basketball due to the decision made by his coach to demote him his parents talked him into sticking out and not giving up.
The couple was constantly there for all of their kids, and if not for them Edwards not only wouldn't be the extremely talented and hard-working NBA rookie we now know and love, but he might not even be playing basketball to begin with.
So for these reasons, his parents played an immense role in making Carsen who he is today and I'm sure they will continue to support him as he continues on with the enormous amount of potential he has ahead.
Carsen Edwards and his mother Carla Edwards. Photo via Bill Ray
After all of this, Edwards has quickly become one of my personal favorite Celtic prospects in the last few years and that's a group containing players like Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Grant Williams III.
There is just something different about the 21-year-old Texas guard that I don't believe we have seen in a while.
He's a player who constantly has a chip on his shoulder. He is nothing but motivated. He doesn't seem to care about the fame and the big-name status as he as always been kind of an underdog. Literally, all he cares about is going out, playing as hard as he can and proving the doubters wrong and that is the exact type of personality the majority of great Celtics' players have had.
Right now, we don't really know what Edwards' ceiling is, but we do know that his potential is extremely high. All we can do is hope that he develops like he is meant to and finds a comfortable home in Boston in the process. Hopefully, under Brad Stevens Carsen will find his place within this extremely young and talented Celtics core that should be set for success in the not too distant future.
If you are interested in getting a more in-depth look into Edwards' life and career, I highly suggest reading Tom Westerholm's article here as it truly is a good read.