A trio of Pepperdine Waves athletes were drafted into the professional ranks last month.
Men’s basketball player Kessler Edwards, a 6-foot-8 forward, was selected by the Brooklyn Nets in NBA draft on July 29. Earlier in the month, baseball players Billy Cook and Wyatt Young were selected in the three-day MLB draft. Both infielders, the senior Cook was nabbed in the 10th round by the Baltimore Orioles and the junior Young was selected five rounds later by the New York Mets.
Edwards, who turned pro after his junior season, was taken with the 44th pick in the NBA draft’s second round. The Rancho Cucamonga native entered the draft without hiring an agent but was bolstered by a good showing of his defensive skills and shooting at the NBA draft combine, committed to staying in the draft.
When Edwards entered the draft in April he said in a statement that he looked forward to fulfilling his lifelong dream of playing in the NBA.
“I would like to give special thanks to my parents and family for always being there, coaches for putting me in a position to succeed and my teammates for always believing in me,” he said.
Edwards was one of four players the Nets picked up in the draft.
Nets general manager Sean Marks said the team is looking forward to developing the quartet.
“We enjoyed watching Kessler, his ability to stretch the floor, get out there a positional need for us,” he said in a statement on the NBA club’s website.
Edwards averaged 17.2 points, 6.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks per game for the Waves’ last season. He was named the MVP of the College Basketball Invitational, the postseason tournament won by Pepperdine, and was named to the All-West Coast Conference’s first team and NABC All-District second team. Edwards is the 32nd Pepperdine player ever to be selected in the NBA draft and the 26th player coached by Waves coach Lorenzo Romar—as an assistant coach or head coach—to be picked in the draft.
Cook, a Monument, Colo., native, was the MLB draft’s 287th overall pick, Pepperdine’s highest drafted player since 2017. Baltimore selected him on the afternoon of July 12, the second day of the draft, as an outfielder. According to MLB.com, Cook’s draft spot is worth a $148,000 signing bonus.
Cook told a Colorado news outlet after he was drafted that he had worked hard to make it to the professional ranks of his sport.
“It’s a job now,” he said. “Now I have to go out and prove I belong.”
Cook batted .298 with 17 home runs and 42 RBIs in 33 games last season for the Waves. He made the All-West Coast Conference first team at the end of his senior campaign and concluded his Pepperdine career with 26 total home runs, 18 doubles and seven triples with a .286 batting average in 122 games.
Young, a Honolulu native, was the draft’s 442nd overall selection and picked the day after Cook. The slot value of all the draft’s third day selections is $125,000.
Young, a three-year starter at Pepperdine, batted .332 this past season and led the team with 63 hits, which included 12 doubles, three home runs and 23 RBIs. He hit .319 for his career with five home runs. Young was an All-WCC honorable mention and named to the WCC All-Freshman team at the end of his first Waves’ season.