SE: Edwards Heads to NYC For Gotham Hoops Invitational
Since his time on the court with the Wildcats, Justin Edwards has been focusing on perfecting his game. The 6-foot-4 guard from Whitby, Ontario, closed his career at K-State last month and hasn’t taken a day off as he is now working out with hopes of playing at the next level.
“My preparation now is working on myself as an individual,” Edwards explained before tackling a workout at the Ice Family Basketball Center. “I’m trying to stay in shape and get better at certain things. I’ve listened to a lot of the feedback from the agents and from my coaches on what I need to work on, so now I’m honing in on those things and improving them so I can make an impact at the next level.”
Edwards will have the opportunity to showcase his talents this weekend at the Gotham Hoops Invitational taking place at St. Francis College in Brooklyn, New York. The one-day tournament will feature four teams made up of 36 top college seniors from around the nation.
“I just want to showcase my skills and show pro teams that I’m worth picking,” he said on his what he hopes to get out of the Gotham Hoops Invitational. “I want to show that I’m worth being on their team. I want to show that I can compete on the next level and just do my thing.”
Edwards will arrive in New York City on Friday afternoon. He said he’ll have the opportunity to meet the players on his team and run through some offenses before resting up for Saturday’s competition.
“It feels kind of like in high school when you’d go to an all-star game, but it’s definitely different,” said Edwards. “I’m not going to know anyone there, so it’ll be a whole new scene for me, but I’m excited for the opportunity.”
Edwards closed his senior season at K-State scoring a team-best 418 points with 26 double-figure scoring games while also grabbing a team-best 196 rebounds and leading the Cats with 58 steals. The 58 steals are the seventh-most by a player in school history and the most by a Wildcat since Jacob Pullen set the record with 67 in 2009-10.
A transfer from Maine where he played two seasons with the Black Bears from 2011-2013, Edwards had a stellar collegiate career as he scored more than 1,500 points, including 621 as a Wildcat, and connected on 42.8 percent from the field to go with 613 rebounds, 342 assists and 191 steals in his 121 games played with 98 starts.
“Beating Oklahoma when they were ranked No. 1 – I think that’s my favorite and my biggest memory,” he said reminiscing on his favorite career moments. “I went from never playing a ranked team to playing the No. 1 ranked team in the country and beating them. That’s something that’s very special for me.”
However, it wasn’t just his team, the big wins and his time on the court that he will remember about K-State. He’ll remember the people who surrounded him off the court, too. During the past three years, Edwards stayed very involved in community events. He volunteered with Cats in the Classroom, Special Olympics and even spent last summer touring the great state of Kansas with the K-State Catbacker Tour where he had the opportunity to meet and spend time with numerous Wildcat fans.
“I really loved the Catbacker tours,” said Edwards with a laugh. “I got to meet a lot of people in Kansas, and seeing how much they really support us, that was a big thing for me because I had never seen support like that. So going out there, traveling for three hours out to the country and meeting so many people in Kansas, that was really cool for me.”
It’s those relationships, those people, who he says he will miss the most when his time at K-State comes to an end.
“I’m going to miss playing in front of the fans,” he said. “I really loved playing in the Octagon of Doom. Bramlage is a fun place to play, and the fans make it even more special, so I’m going to miss that a lot. I’m going to miss this whole college experience, all of it. K-State is a really fun place and I’m going to miss everything about it.”
Though Edwards doesn’t know exactly what his future in basketball holds, he’s excited to find out soon. This weekend’s Gotham Hoops Invitational will help him gain more attention and show scouts what he is made of.
“I’m definitely excited to figure out where I’m going to be and see how the summer is going to go,” said Edwards. “It’s all been very exciting. Sometimes I think I get stressed about it because I don’t know what exactly is going to happen. But I have agents calling me every day, sometimes it’s hard to keep up with all of them. That can be stressful at some points, but it’s also exciting because I have people interested in me, so that’s a good thing.”
Along with his success on the court, Edwards has found success in the classroom and is on track to graduate with a degree in kinesiology from K-State this May.
More information on the Gotham Hoops Invitational, its schedule and the 36 seniors selected to compete can be found at www.gothamhoops.com/invitational.