Kansas State’s latest high school recruit brings more than gladiator name to Wildcats

Kellis Robinett
·3 min read

Here’s the first thing you need to know about Maximus Edwards before he joins the Kansas State men’s basketball team as a freshman wing in June: Don’t call him Max.

Tempting as it may be for him to go by an abbreviated nickname, Edwards has a good reason to stick with the three-syllable name his parents gave him.

“Maximus makes me sound like a gladiator,” Edwards said in a phone interview. “That’s one of the reasons my dad doesn’t like it when people call me Max. I tell my friends they can call me whatever, but I definitely prefer Maximus.”

Well, there’s no arguing with that. Who among us doesn’t want to feel like a gladiator?

His full name is also fitting for the expectations K-State coaches have for Edwards as a college player. Even though the major recruiting websites didn’t bother to give him a three-star ranking until a few months ago and the majority of his other scholarship offers came from mid-major programs in the Northeast, the Wildcats think they found an overlooked 6-foot-5 prospect from Stratford, Connecticut.

“Maximus really gives us something we have been lacking, an athletic wing,” K-State coach Bruce Weber said. “(He is) much like we had with Xavier (Sneed) from a few years back and had great success with. His athleticism is off the charts, just look at the video of him winning the Slam Dunk contest at The Grind Session in March. That’s just dunking, but that gives you an idea of what he can do. He’s also extremely versatile.”

“He is good in catch-and-shoot situations, but also can put the ball on the floor and go make a play,” added K-State assistant Shane Southwell. “He gives us that athleticism from the wing spot that we haven’t had for the past year, which is really important when you think of how teams play in the Big 12. He fills that void, fills that need. He is one of the most explosive recruits in terms of athleticism that we had here under Coach Weber.”

Southwell has long been a fan of Edwards. He began recruiting him two years ago when he was an assistant at Robert Morris “even though I knew were weren’t going to get him.” And he began recruiting him a lot harder when he was hired as a K-State assistant last offseason.

Time will tell if he was worth that pursuit, but Edwards appears capable of helping the Wildcats off the bench as a small forward next season.

Edwards proved himself by playing for a high school team in The Bronx, New York last season that took him all across the country for games. He says he even played in bubble-style tournaments in Arizona during the coronavirus pandemic.

Things went well for him. He made three-pointers, threw down dunks and even hit a buzzer-beater. But he discovered some bad news afterward when he discovered the bruised shin he thought he had been playing on all season was actually a fractured tibia.

He is now on the mend, though. Edwards expects to be ready to show off his athleticism like a basketball gladiator by mid July after he receives some physical therapy at K-State.

“I think I will be able to help them put the ball in the basket and help them defensively,” Edwards said. “With all the players they have coming back and all the older transfers they have coming in I just feel like it is going to be a whole different team from last year. I want to help them have a much better year and go in there hungry.”