YONKERS, N.Y. - Khalil Edney's long-distance game-winning basketball shot has been seen by millions of people worldwide on the Internet and television, but the New Rochelle star athlete has not let the sudden fame go to his head.
Edney, who helped lead the Huguenots to the Section 1 (Westchester area) and state Southeast Regional basketball titles in March, spent a quiet Thursday afternoon inspiring a group of eighth-graders at the Orchard School at ANDRUS in Yonkers.
"The most important thing is to know that student/athlete starts with the word 'student,'" Edney told the class. "If you love to play a sport, you have to do the school work first. And you have to stay focused on your goals."
He was invited to teacher Fredrica Bryant's classroom and ANDRUS for the second time in the last four months. Edney's father Lewis Edney Jr., a maintenance staffer at Andrus, brought his son to speak the the students after New Rochelle won the state football title in November. Edney was the team's quarterback.
"Khalil enjoys talking with young people," Lewis Edney said. "As a father, I'm proud of him for what he does on the field and for him coming to talk with the kids."
Bryant and her students asked Edney questions about his now-famous 55-foot shot that beat state champion Mount Vernon in the Section 1 championship game and how he dealt with all the attention from the media.
"It was all fun meeting people and going on television shows, but I feel I'm part of a team and I was just in the right place and made a big shot," Edney said. "My older brother told me to be confident and not cocky. I think our team worked hard and that's why we won games."
Bryant, who asked Edney to describe his feelings after his team lost the final game for the state championship, noted that the high school senior has had to deal with winning and losing.
"Khalil has been so wonderful coming here to share with the students," Bryant said. "He really understands how much it means to them. He relates so well, and it encourages the kids."