Dallastown standout overcomes major knee injury, earns NCAA D-I basketball scholarship

  • D'Shantae Edwards recently signed to play women's basketball at the NCAA Division I level.
  • The Dallastown High standout will join the Bethune-Cookman program in Florida.
  • Edwards averaged 13 points and six assists per game this past season for the Wildcats.
  • Edwards overcame a major knee injury that cost her most of her junior season at Dallastown.
Dallastown's D'Shantae Edwards is seen here in a file photo. She's earned an NCAA Division I college basketball scholarship to Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Florida.

One of the top female athletes in York County is finally getting the respect she deserves and seeing her hard work pay off.

York Adams Division I Player of the Year D’Shantae Edwards recently signed a national letter of intent to play NCAA Division I basketball at Bethune-Cookman in Daytona Beach, Florida.

The Wildcats compete in the Southwestern Atlantic Conference along with other Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Bethune-Cookman is coming off a 6-21 season under first-year head coach Janell Crayton.

It has not been an easy road for Edwards, a 5-foot, 7-inch guard who tore her left anterior cruciate ligament and meniscus just five games into her junior season. She missed the rest of her junior campaign and her club season, which are considered prime recruiting periods. 

Please consider subscribing to support local journalism.

Edwards, however, returned as a force in her final season with averages of 13 points and six assists per game, helping her team to a 21-6 overall mark and a 13-1 record en route to the Y-A D-I crown. Edwards also excelled defensively, helping Dallastown limit foes to 33 points per game.

Now Edwards will look to make her mark at the Florida school. It was an easy choice for Edwards. She said the coaches made her feel comfortable and she's excited about the future.   

More:Three senior standouts earn top York-Adams girls' basketball honors for 2021-2022

More:York-Adams League 2021-22 girls basketball stats and standings

“I always wanted to go to a small school. They build off school and build off family," She said. "Talking to the coaches was just talking about basketball and life. I felt really comfortable with the coaches. They were genuinely concerned for my future and that’s what I looked at the most. They approached me and cared about what was next for me."  

Her first official visit to the school is set for Wednesday.   

A long recovery: Edwards had an 11-month recovery process after her injury.

Her loss was a big blow to her teammates and they improved markedly when she returned to the lineup. After months of physical therapy and working with doctors, the star guard was able to return to the court in November. Looking back, Edwards said she is relieved to have reached this point.   

“I was letting things come to me and I didn’t want to force it,” Edwards said. “I was playing basketball and just hoping to get back.  I knew mentally I'm always a competitor and I'm always going to try and get it done. It felt really good. I was nervous when I tore my ACL, and I just care about winning. You can pat yourself on the back — you did it. The work I did for 11 months has paid off.”  

A different mission now: Edwards said she always knew she was going to come back and that her mission was to return to the sport she loved to play. Now the mission is different for her. She is focused on getting better and preparing for the next level.   

“I'm working on my patience. Not everything is 100 miles per hour at the next level," she said. "Changing the pace of my game is what I'm trying to work on. I’m learning more about myself. I want to continue to focus on the little things. My life is going to change in college."

Earning a Division I scholarship looked doubtful after her serious knee injury. But her hard work in rehab and a strong senior season paid off in a big way.

She was a gymnast first: Edwards now believes her game will translate to the next level. She was a gymnast before being introduced to basketball in fifth grade. It wasn’t her favorite or first sport, but it’s the one that has made the biggest impact in her life.   

“I had to be taught the game when I was younger and my parents helped teach me different concepts," she said, "I took off. I just wanted to win and had the drive to have fun. It was something I never expected. No one saw it coming.”

She'll try to help other injured athletes: Playing basketball at Bethune-Cookman is just one of the next steps in her life. The Dallastown standout will major in exercise science and will try to help athletes recover from the type of injury that she suffered.   

“Some of it is mental. Your mind puts up a wall and you have to overcome it," she said. "People helped me to knock it down. I want them to be free and it comes with the territory. I want to build a relationship with someone and help them get through it.”

Ready for next step: She is saddened, however, to be leaving her parents, whom she calls her best friends, but is ready for what college will bring.   

“It’s going to be a great experience. This is a great change," she said. "I get a good experience playing at the collegiate level. Playing a higher level of competition. I want to feel like I made it.”   

— Reach Dante Green at dgreen@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @TaySean14.