Edwards Finds a New Home at K-State

The town was Bangor, Maine. The kid was Justin Edwards.
Edwards, a 6-foot-4 guard from Whitby, Ontario, believed in his ability to play basketball and knew he wanted to play at the highest possible level. However, at Anderson CVI High School, he wasn't getting the collegiate attention he had hoped for.
"I went to a small school coming out of Canada," said Edwards. "So most big schools didn't really think I could do as much as I could. Being in Canada, you don't really get looked at that much."
So he decided on Maine, the first school to give him an opportunity to play.
"Maine was one of the first schools to recruit me, and they basically told me I could come in and start as a freshman," Edwards continued. "I just wanted to play. I wanted to play college basketball so bad that I went to the program that would let me do that and play a lot."
And play a lot was exactly what he did.
In his two years with the program, Edwards saw action in 58 of 60 games and had 56 starts. He averaged 15.3 points per game on 43.1 percent shooting while also averaging 5.4 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game. After a successful freshman year where he recorded one of the best rookie campaigns in school history, Edwards was named the 2012 American East Rookie of the Year.
Although he was playing well, in his two years with the team, it went 23-37 overall and 11-19 in conference play.
He started thinking about transferring after his freshman season, but he decided to give the Black Bears one more year. The following year only confirmed his feelings, and, once again, the college search began for Edwards.
"Once I was released from Maine, K-State started recruiting me," Edwards said. "They were the first school to show a lot of interest in me, so I was very interested in that. Also, knowing Coach Weber's resume and knowing how great of a coach he is, I just wanted to play for a good coach."
So, back to that late night in Bangor.
"I literally went the last night of recruiting that spring," explained Weber with a grin. "You have until April something, and I went that night. I met him in a little restaurant."
During the dinner, Weber told Edwards playing at K-State would be tough. He told him it would take a lot of hard work, however the Wildcat coach believed in Edwards and knew K-State was a place he could take his game to the next level.
"I was surprised that he came out there," said Edwards. "When I told me friends that he was coming all the way to Maine, they didn't believe me. He made it out there, though. It's a very small town but it was a good meeting. He basically told me what he expected from me and what they expected me to do."
Now fast-forward to last night in Bramlage Coliseum, and Edwards was doing exactly what he was supposed to do in the Wildcats' 83-73 win over UMKC. The junior put away 15 points and grabbed five rebounds. It marked Edwards' second double-figure game of his first season on the court with the Wildcats after scoring 11 points in the season opener, and it only adds to his excitement to be back on the court.
"It's very exciting. I kind of came out the first half a bit scared, but I think by the second half I got things together and just got more comfortable on the court playing in front of everyone," said Edwards, who scored 10 of his 15 points in the second half. "I think now I'm way more comfortable. I'm just more confident to go out there and play, and I'm getting more aggressive all the time."
From big-time dunks to deep three-pointers, Edwards added an exciting dynamic on the court for the Wildcats last night, joining huge performances from senior Thomas Gipson (21 points) and sophomore Marcus Foster (16 points).
"I feel like he is just letting the game come to him," said Gipson after last night's win. "He's being smart, he's taking the right shots and being efficient. I feel like he knows when to go and when not to go, and that's a good thing for him."
Last night's win marked the first game of the EA Sports Maui Invitational for K-State.
The matchup was one of seven opening games involving the tournament's eight "Island Teams" and the four "Mainland Teams."
Next up for the Wildcats is a trip west to Long Beach, California, as the team is set to continue tournament play against Long Beach State on Friday, Nov. 21 at 9:30 p.m.
"It's definitely good to have two wins under our belt going on the road," said Edwards. "We all have more confidence now. We know how we can play; we just have to go out there and play with energy."
 For a complete recap, stats and quotes from yesterday evening's game, click here.   

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