Quiet but effective

Matt Goul

Virgin Islands native has come through for Flashes

Senior Jason Edwin helps the men’s team by leading by example. Kent State plays at 2 p.m. tomorrow at Toledo.

Credit: Andrew popik

Jason Edwin’s quiet demeanor can make it hard to believe he’s a senior.

He won’t be found imposing authority on teammates because he can. It would be easy to do. He’s the only senior on a Kent State team without the usual abundance of veterans.

Instead, Edwin has found shattering ears has nothing on shattering a defense’s zone.

He’s averaged 16 points in his last three games, making him Mid-American Conference Player of the Week. At least IPFW will not need to worry about Edwin again. Buffalo and Marshall, which Edwin gave 18- and 17-point efforts, may still be trying to figure out how to slow him down. Both will have to if they expect to win when playing the Flashes again this season. Kent State is 11-2 when Edwin reaches double figures in scoring.

He won’t brag about it, but try convincing those 11 teams Edwin is quiet.

“He’s searching for the basketball. He wants the ball at key times,” coach Jim Christian said. “He’s guarding very well. Everybody on the team can see how important this is to him his senior year.”

As Christian has said and Edwin has exhibited, a leader does not have to be the most vocal.

“Coach told me even though my personality is not to be loud, just lead by example,” Edwin said. “Being on the court and working hard, doing the right stuff, allows the younger guys to follow and learn from that.”

Edwin’s play became contagious in the overtime win against Buffalo, as five teammates scored in double figures. But Edwin’s 18 points and five rebounds set the pace for everyone else.

“Every team needs senior leadership,” Edwin said. “Being the only senior on the team, when we need offense or defense, I feel like if any one person has to do it, it’s got to be me first.”

Even coming off the bench did not sway Edwin’s style.

For a four-game stretch, leading up to the start of the semester, Edwin did not start. Christian, though, would not call it a demotion. Edwin was still in Christian’s best lineup and on the floor when baskets were needed. He was not starting, but was finishing.

Kent State was 2-2 with Edwin in that role. Both wins had a lot to do with him, too. Edwin converted the last three field goals for the Flashes while holding off Eastern Michigan. Twelve of his 13 points came in the second half of that game. He followed it up with a 15-point performance against Miami, leaving RedHawks coach Charlie Coles envious of Christian’s depth.

“I don’t know what Jimmy’s trying to do with that. I don’t have a guy like that,” Coles said of Edwin. “If I had a guy like that, I’d start him. Jimmy has the luxury of maybe not starting him. If I got him, I’d start him. He’d get a lot of shots for us.”

It was against Coles and Miami last season that Christian criticized Edwin for not diving after a loose ball.

Edwin’s lack of hustle prompted Christian to bench him for the rest of the game, which Kent State lost. Edwin played throughout the season still recovering from an injury to his right knee. Fully recovered, the knee no longer keeps Edwin from leaping toward the rim or a loose ball. But he remembers the game against Miami, which he was pulled from after playing only three minutes. Edwin told himself he would not miss a loose ball again.

“He never made an excuse for it. He doesn’t make excuses,” Christian said. “He just understands and moves on. If there’s a loose ball, if there’s one guy I know is diving on it, it’s Jason Edwin.”

Contact men’s basketball reporter Matt Goul at [email protected].