Piedmont’s Sloan Garner and Anniston’s Lasheddrick Edmondson will participate in the contest which pits the state’s best incoming seniors from each half of the state against one another.
The game tips off at 8 p.m. at Alabama State University’s Acadome. It’ll be preceded by the girls game which is set to start at 6 p.m.
For Garner, a 6-foot-6 forward/center, and Edmondson, a 5-10 guard, being two of just 24 players in the state tabbed to play in the game has done what sheer proximity couldn’t.
Despite, living in the same county, (there school’s campuses sit just 25 miles from each other) the two had never met.
“I didn’t know him at all,” Edmondson said. “I thought he was a quiet guy but he’s not, at all. I’m looking forward to playing against them (the guys from the South squad) and playing with all these goofy guys. All of these guys are funny.”
The two roomed together throughout the week of press and practices and have played together during scrimmages.
Combining Edmondson’s prowess on the perimeter and Garner’s potency in the paint and beyond would be any coach’s dream.
Edmondson had a breakout junior season. He averaged 20 points, was named Northeast Regional MVP and led his team to the Class 4A state title game where they were defeated by Butler, led by two-time Mr. Basketball award-winner Trevor Lacey.
He was a first-team selection to the Class 4A all-state squad. He was also named The Star’s Class 4A-6A Player of the Year and selected to the Fab 5, comprised of the top five players in the paper’s coverage area regardless of classification.
“I thought I was known,” Edmondson said, who added he’ll use the all-star game as a chance to showcase his skills before college coaches. “But I guess I’ve got to introduce myself to people again and get my name out there.”
Garner averaged nearly a double-double a night at 12 points and nine rebounds a game to help Piedmont advance to the Class 3A state semifinals for the second season in a row.
Coaches for the North haven’t decided on starters yet but they have assured players they’ll make wholesale substitutions every two to five minutes while playing an up-tempo offense and pressure defense.
“Every one here is equally good,” Garner said. “If you come in (the game) and don’t work hard or don’t play tough defense, you’re coming out.”
Both players should be their team’s main attractions come next season and have been working to iron out the kinks in their games as they prepare for their senior seasons.
Edmondson has been playing on the Amateur Athletic Union circuit with the Huntsville Terriers.
He’s already played in tournaments in Birmingham, Mississippi and Tennessee and will head to Florida for a national tournament later this month. Garner has been hitting the gym during play dates as well as individual workouts, all the while getting in shape for the upcoming football season when he’ll start at wide receiver.
“Basketball’s a team sport,” Garner said.
“The other four guys around (at Piedmont) are good players as well and they’ll step up and do their jobs. I’m sure I’ll get a little more pressure. I’ve just got to handle it the right way and hopefully we’ll make it back to the (Birmingham Jefferson Convention Complex).
Nick Birdsong covers prep sports for The Star. He can be reached at 256-235-3575. Follow him on Twitter @birds_word.