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LSU freshman pitcher Garrett Edwards (43) pitches against Air Force, Saturday, February 20, 2021, at Alex Box Stadium on the campus of LSU in Baton Rouge, La.

Approaching his final years of high school, Garrett Edwards sat with his family to discuss his future. Two options lay in front of him. He could play basketball as a 6-foot-5 guard or baseball as a right-handed pitcher. Division I scholarship offers awaited in both sports.

Edwards chose baseball and signed with LSU, where the freshman pitcher started Wednesday night against UL. He thought baseball offered a more promising future, and he decided he wouldn’t enjoy the pace of college basketball.

“I remembered back to playing AAU my 10th grade summer going into my junior year,” Edwards said. “I did not enjoy it at all, and I felt like that's what college basketball was going to be like.”

Edwards still played basketball the rest of his career at Pitkin High. Navigating constant double-teams, he scored 4,103 points, which ranked 29th all-time in the country, according to MaxPreps.

“Any coach in the state at any class would've taken him,” said Trent Myers, an assistant coach at Pitkin during Edwards’ career who's now the head coach.

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As a basketball player, Edwards was a shooter with range well beyond the 3-point line capable of driving into the lane and dunking. If defenders pressed him, he ran past them and finished at the rim. If they gave him space, he shot over their heads. Multiple times, he took one step past half court and drained a 3-pointer.

A varsity starter since eighth grade, Edwards faced double-teams every game after he grew five inches between his freshman and sophomore years. Myers, who arrived at Pitkin before Edwards’ 10th grade season, never remembered him scoring less than 20 points. He finished his high school career with 11 40-point games and three 50-point games. He scored 63 points in the parish tournament his senior year.

"Garrett never speaks about that game," Myers said, "because we lost."

Edwards’ junior year, he averaged 33 points and 11 rebounds while Pitkin reached the state quarterfinals. The Louisiana Sports Writers Association voted him Class B Outstanding Player. His senior year, he averaged 32 points, 13 rebounds and five assists per game.

“He played with kids who knew their role, who accepted that if he got the ball, he was going to score,” Myers said. “They did everything they could to get him open. When they got the basketball, they looked for him.”

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Colleges noticed Edwards’ production. He said going into his junior year, he had scholarship offers from every basketball program in Louisiana except LSU. Ole Miss and West Virginia also started talking to him.

At the same time, Edwards dominated as a pitcher, maintaining his arm with a throwing program after basketball practices. His junior year, he went 11-1 with a 0.46 ERA. He walked five batters over 74 innings. He allowed two earned runs.

“Look man, you've got a chance to be paid one day pitching,” Pitkin baseball coach J.C. Holt told him.

That summer, Holt, a former LSU infielder who reached AAA, took Edwards to Mississippi State, LSU, Northwestern and McNeese State. Edwards displayed an 88 mph fastball and commanded four pitches, including a slider.

Within 15 days, Edwards had five Division-I scholarship baseball offers. He soon committed to LSU and shut down his basketball recruitment.

“I didn't enjoy it that much,” Edwards said, “and I knew baseball was what I really wanted to do.”

Without the rigors of basketball, Edwards gained 15 pounds once he arrived at LSU, finally able to sustain his weight. He pitched one scoreless inning as a reliever last Saturday, and he recorded two strikeouts, controlled his slider and threw 10 of his 14 pitches for strikes.

If Edwards, who struck out the first batter he faced Wednesday night, can pitch deep into games, LSU will have a fourth reliable starter who could one day pitch in the weekend rotation.

Despite his prolific high school basketball career, he thinks he made the correct choice.

“My body feels so much fresher,” Edwards said. “With basketball, it was so much on my body. So much wear and tear. It was a lot. Sticking to just baseball, I feel so much healthier and feel so much stronger.”

Email Wilson Alexander at walexander@theadvocate.com