Aug. 7, 2014
By Kelly McHugh
K-State Sports Extra
Follow their journey via Twitter (AIA_Basketball) and Facebook (AIABasketball)
Spending the 2013-14 season sitting on the sidelines brought K-State men’s basketball guard Justin Edwards and forward Brandon Bolden together. It didn’t take long for the two transfers to become friends, and as the year went on you would rarely catch one without the other.
So earlier this summer, when K-State head coach Bruce Weber brought up the opportunity for Bolden and Edwards to travel to Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia together through Athletes in Action, the decision was a no-brainer.
“Coach Weber basically brought it up to us,” Edwards said. “Jevon (Thomas) and Thomas (Gipson) went last year, and Coach thought it’d be good for us to get into some games before the season starts.”
Edwards, a 6-foot-4 junior from Whitby, Ontario, played two seasons at Maine (2011-13) before transferring to K-State last summer, while Bolden, a 6-foot-11 sophomore from Sumter, South Carolina, played one season (2012-13) at Georgetown and also transferred to K-State last summer. Due to NCAA Transfer rules, the two were forced to sit out during the 2013-14 season, thus unable to get on the court and compete.
Bolden and Edwards are happy for the opportunity to get some in-game experience while competing with Athletes in Action this summer, and know that experience will only add to their ability to help K-State this upcoming season.
“Just playing the games and getting out there, getting to play against some different competition then we see in the gym every day, I’m going to use these games to prepare for the season,” said Bolden. “I’m going to work on my game and use the experience to get better.”
The duo has been on the road since Aug. 1, where they first traveled to Boulder, Colorado, and trained with with their Athletes in Action squad on the campus of the University of Colorado. Yesterday, Bolden and Edwards boarded a plane from Denver to Tallinn, Estonia, and Saturday they will begin their first of four games in the Lithuanian capital of Klaipeda. Finally, Edwards and Bolden will conclude their international experience with two games (Aug. 11-13) in Riga, Latvia.
When asked how much they each knew about the European countries of Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia, both Edwards and Bolden laughed and shook their heads.
“I think I’m just going to take it day-by-day and then learn more when we get there,” explained Edwards. “I’ll learn more and more about each country as I go.”
“But I am definitely excited to see what it will be like,” added Bolden with a smile.
Bolden and Edwards will be joined on the Athletes in Action trip by Darius Carter (Wichita State), Tre’Shaun Fletcher (Colorado), Landen Lucas (Kansas), Ike Nwamu (Mercer), Royce O’Neale (Baylor), Kendall Smith (UNLV), Brian Sullivan (Davidson) and Ishmael Wainright (Baylor). The team will be coached by Colorado assistant coach Mike Rohn.
Fans can watch all the games of the tour online at www.Livestream.com/AIABasketball. All games will be available on demand immediately after its conclusion. The tour can also be followed on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/AIA_Basketball using the hashtag #AIABB as well as on Facebook at www.Facebook.com/AIABasketball. A team blog can be found at http://teamblogs.athletesinaction.org/2014-teams/2014/basketball---lithuania.
Season tickets for the 2014-15 season are currently on sale through the K-State Athletics Ticket Office and can be purchased a variety of ways, including toll free at (800) 221.CATS (2287), online at www.kstatesports.com/tickets and in-person at Bramlage Coliseum.
Athletes in Action Schedule
Saturday, August 9 – vs. Klaipeda Nafta
Sunday, August 10 – vs. Qatar National Team
Tuesday, August 12 – vs. Latvia University
Wednesday, August 13 – vs. Ventspils