Under the hot, unyielding sun of Bimini, 8-year-old V.J. Edgecombe grew his love for the game. Sitting inside our studio at SLAM HQ, the nations’ No. 4-ranked player reminisces on those pick-up games in the yard with a grin that’s shining just as much as his diamond earrings.

“I was just out there having fun, I didn’t really care about talent. We just wanted to play to have fun,” Edgecombe says.

But talent is something the now-18-year-old has always possessed. It was just a matter of time before those outside of the islands came to know his name. After going toe to toe with juniors and seniors as a 13-year-old at Buddy Hield’s basketball camp in the Bahamas, V.J. decided to capitalize on his powers and potential by heading to the States to chase his dual dream: make the NBA and support his family.

The transition was smooth, Edgecombe says, but the reality of spending your teenage years in an entirely new country hasn’t been without its challenges. “I know it’s all for the best,” he says, “so I can sacrifice that for sure.” 

Ahead of his freshman year, V.J. headed to Florida, where he was initially unable to hoop due to the pandemic. His sophomore campaign was spent on the local AAU circuit with the South Florida Kings before he caught the attention of the Southeast Elite squad in the adidas 3SSB circuit.

“I was playing with a sprained wrist so I couldn’t shoot or anything. [I was] just on the court to play defense, go to the rim and make plays,” V.J. says of the summer going into his junior year. “I left those last two sessions with no offers. I was just hooping. I was just having fun, that’s all that mattered to me.”

Despite not being able to demolish defenses with a barrage of pull-up jumpers and spot-up threes, Edgecombe’s dominance quickly garnered traction at the grassroots level. Chase-down blocks and help-side pins off the backboard were a constant occurrence, alongside emphatic tomahawk dunks.

Imbued with lessons of determination grit and from his childhood in the Bahamas, V.J. brought an unrelenting hunger to Long Island (NY) Lutheran the following season. In his junior year, he exploded with the sheer force of a supernova.

“I came to America to play basketball, knowing I’ve got to feed my family and all of that. That’s definitely helped me and the person that I am right now. Just work harder than everybody else,” Edgecombe says. “I don’t want to be in that [percentage] that don’t make it out. I want to be in the part that makes it out and sets the standard high and sets a path for all the younger kids behind me.”

In his first year playing against the nation’s top prospects in the National Interscholastic Basketball Conference (NIBC), a new league for elite prep teams, Edgecombe earned Gatorade New York State Player of the Year honors while also securing the League’s Player of the Year and scoring titles by pouring in 17.3 ppg. The offers started flooding in. In mid-January, Edgecombe announced his collegiate decision, becoming Baylor’s highest-ranked commit in over a decade.

Edgecombe has cemented himself as one of the most physically imposing players in his class. The athleticism is just unfair. And that J is smoother than the threads of his LuHi uniform. Trust that we’ve put you on game, because the Bimini native is holistically locked in to the next chapter of his journey.

“I feel like it’s going to separate me, to be honest,” V.J. says of his defense. “You have a bunch of prolific scorers in the country. I’m gonna be honest—everyone can score. I just need to do something that’s going to set me apart from everyone else. I’m not trying to be the same, I’m trying to be different.”  

Portraits by Erick Sasso.


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