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Student Athlete of the Week: Centennial’s Edward Macon

Jason Lewis jlewis@ourweekly.com | 3/17/2016, midnight
While many young Black men use their athletic talents for football and basketball, Centennial High School senior Edward Macon detoured ...
Compton Centennial High School baseball player Edward Macon has been accepted into three California State Universities and 14 Historically Black Colleges andUniversities./ OW photo by Jason Lewis

While many young Black men use their athletic talents for football and basketball, Centennial High School senior Edward Macon detoured off of that path and chose his own route.

“I have the knack for being different, so I like to try things that other people don’t want to play,” Macon said. “In my family it was a lot of basketball and football. I just decided to take a different route and try baseball, and ever since then I fell in love with it.”

Macon first picked up a bat and glove eight years ago at Holly Park, and the speed and quickness that often makes many Black kids great at football and basketball instantly transferred over to that sport. He plays shortstop, second base, and center field, which are three of the most athletic positions in the game. He is also a dominant base stealer.

But athleticism is only a part of the game; Macon said he is also attracted to the mental aspects of baseball.

“It’s the [complexity] of the game,” Macon said. “It’s easy for anybody to pick up a basketball and make a hoop. Or pick up a football and score a touchdown. But as far as baseball, it requires more critical thinking, and it was a tougher challenge for me.”

Being able to figure out an opponent’s tendencies before a play happens makes a huge difference in baseball, and being an intelligent player has greatly helped Macon put himself in position to make a defensive play, or know where to hit the ball.

“On the baseball field, you can see how the batter stands, which way he’s trying to go with the ball,” Macon said. “There is a 90 percent chance that he’s going to go that way with the ball. Or when I’m at the plate, if the infielders are playing up or back, I’m going to lay down a bunt. I can think right away. I don’t have to call for time, I know what to do. When you’re on base, knowing when to go, when not to go. It’s more critical thinking than instinct.”

Along with critical thinking, Macon has great hand-eye coordination which he said allows him to hit a fastball that could travel up to 90 miles per hour. Last season he batted .340, and this year he has seven hits through the first three games of the season.

“I’m not a power hitter,” Macon said. “I like to put the ball on the ground and use my speed. Or hit the ball in the gap and use my speed to get easy triples and doubles.”

Macon compares himself Pittsburgh Pirates center fielder Andrew McCutchen, who is not a big guy, but is explosive. The 2013 National League MVP stands at 5’ 10”, while Macon is 5’ 9”. Last year, Macon was named second team all-league, and he was among the league leaders in serval offensive categories.

For Macon, practice makes perfect, and he works on his craft on a daily basis.