Wildcats add transfer Justin Edwards

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COURTESY: K-State Sports Information

MANHATTAN, Kan. – Kansas State head coach Bruce Weber announced today the addition of junior guard Justin Edwards (Whitby, Ontario/Anderson CVI/University of Maine) to the Wildcat basketball program.

A transfer from the University of Maine, Edwards will receive a scholarship to attend the university and will have two years of eligibility after he sits out the 2013-14 season due to NCAA transfer rules.

“We are very excited about the addition of Justin to our program,” said Weber. “With the loss of Rodney (McGruder) and Martavious (Irving) this year and Will (Spradling) and Shane (Southwell) next year, we really needed someone with experience at the guard spot. Justin has that experience and just has the natural gifts to be a really good player for us. The year off will give him a chance to not only learn our system, but also develop and improve his game. We really like our young players and Justin’s presence at practice is going to make them better.”

A 6-foot-4, 180-pound shooting guard from Whitby, Ontario, Edwards transfers to K-State after playing the past two seasons at the University of Maine in Orono, Maine from 2011-13 for head coach Ted Woodward. He helped the Black Bears to a two-year record of 23-37, including an 11-19 overall record and 6-10 mark in America East Conference play in 2012-13. Edwards saw action in 58 of 60 games in his career at Maine with 56 starts, totaling 887 points, 312 rebounds, 196 assists and 96 steals. In his two-year career, he averaged 15.3 points on 43.1 percent shooting with 5.4 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.7 steals in 32.0 minutes per game.

“I’m really excited about the next chapter of my basketball career at K-State,” said Edwards. “I really like the coaching staff and they are really going to help improve my game. My style fits well with Coach Weber’s motion offense because I score a lot of my points by driving and in transition. It will be difficult not to be able to play next year but I’m going to take that opportunity to get better.”

This past season, Edwards averaged an America East-best 16.7 points per game on 43.8 percent shooting as a sophomore with 5.2 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.9 steals in 32.8 minutes per game. He became just the fifth sophomore in America East history to lead the league in scoring and the first since 2007-08. In addition to leading the league in scoring, he was also tops in steals and was in the Top 20 in six other categories. He was one of just two sophomores to make the All-America East Team, earning second team honors.

Edwards led the Black Bears in six categories in 2012-13 (scoring, field goals, field goals attempted, free throws, free throws attempted and steals), while he was second in assists and minutes and third in 3-pointers (27), rebounding and blocks (12). He scored in double figures in 26 of 29 games, including six 20-point games, to go with three double-doubles. He scored a career-high 30 points on 11-of-12 field goals against Northeastern on Nov. 28, 2012, while he had 29 points in the regular season finale at New Hampshire on March 3. His three double-doubles came against Florida State (19 points and 12 rebounds) on Dec. 9, 2012, Florida Gulf Coast (27 points and 11 rebounds) on Dec. 22, 2012 and Stony Brook (19 points and 13 rebounds) on Feb. 24, 2013.

Edwards had one of the best freshman campaigns in Maine’s history in 2011-12, earning CollegeHoops.net America East Rookie of the Year honors and recognition to the All-America East Rookie Team by the league coaches. He averaged 13.9 points on 42.5 percent shooting with 5.6 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.4 steals in 31.2 minutes per game. He scored in double figures in 23 of 29 games, including five 20-point games, to go with double-doubles against Boston (10 points and 10 rebounds) on Jan. 11, 2012 and New Hampshire (14 points and 10 rebounds) on Jan. 25, 2012. He scored a season-high 24 points on 10-of-13 field goals in his first career game against Maine-Machias on Nov. 14, 2011. He was selected as the America East Rookie of the Week four times, including three consecutive weeks to start the season.

A 2011 graduate of Anderson Collegiate Vocational Institute (CVI), Edwards was rated as the eighth-best prep player in Canada after scoring more than 3,400 points in his high school career. He led the school to five Lake Ontario Secondary Athletic Association championships and an Ontario Federation of School Athletic Association title. He averaged 20.4 points, 5.7 assists, 4.4 rebounds and 3.5 steals per game during his prep career.

Edwards is the first Division I player to transfer to K-State since Omari Lawrence transferred from St. John’s in 2010. Overall, he is just the second Canadian player in the program’s history following Juevol Myles (Ajax, Ontario) in 2010-11.

Edwards is the sixth player to sign with the Wildcats this season, joining incoming freshmen Neville Fincher (Teaneck, N.J./Hargrave Military Academy), Marcus Foster (Wichita Falls, Texas/Hirschi), Wesley Iwundu (Houston, Texas/Westfield), Nigel Johnson (Ashburn, Va./Riverdale Baptist School)and Jevon Thomas (Queens, N.Y./St. John’s [Wis.] Northwest Military Academy). Foster and Iwundu signed in the early signing period in the Fall, while Johnson, Fincher and Thomas joined the squad during the current Spring signing period.

Led by 2013 Big 12 Coach of the Year Bruce Weber, Kansas State enjoyed one of its best men’s basketball seasons in 2012-13, posting a 27-8 overall record and 14-4 mark in league play en route to its first-ever Big 12 regular season championship and a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. The 27 wins were the second-most in school history, while the 14 in league play tied the school record held by the 1958-59 team. The league championship was the 18th in school history and the first since the 1976-77 season.

The Wildcats will return eight lettermen in 2013-14, including two starters, highlighted by All-Big 12 honorable mention honoree Shane Southwell. With the addition of Edwards to the roster, the team has one scholarship remaining for the 2013-14 season.

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