Adam Zagoria covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
By JOSH NEWMANSpecial to ZAGSBLOGBELMAR, N.J. — Seton Hall sophomore swingman Fuquan Edwin views his freshman season as a success. The 6-foot-6 Paterson Catholic graduate started 26 of the 31 games the Pirates played, averaged 7.9 points per game and had a few big outings during the 13-game stretch that Jeremy Hazell missed from Nov. 21 to Jan. 8.
Some will look at Edwin’s season as a whole, see the reduced production after the return of the Pirates’ leading scorer at DePaul on Jan. 12 and say he hit a wall. The argument that Edwin hit a wall in the middle of his freshman season in the Big East could be made, but he respectfully disagrees.
“I don’t think I hit a wall at all. The only thing that changed throughout the whole season is when Jeremy got hurt because I had to step up. When he went down, we didn’t have the big, go-to scorer,” Edwin said. “When Jeremy got back, he was able to do what he always does, but when he came back, it cut into minutes some of the guys were starting to get, including myself. I had really gotten comfortable just before he came back.”
“I don’t think I hit a wall. I was still comfortable, I was taking and knocking down shots I usually make. Overall, it was a good first year.”
No matter how you want to classify Edwin’s play last season, you cannot deny he gained valuable experience while playing heavy minutes and contributing to a Big East squad. That experience gained is going to bode well for the future with a youth movement getting set to roll through South Orange. This winter, the Pirates will only have two seniors in Herb Pope and fellow PC grad Jordan Theodore. That means someone is going to have to step in as another scorer and the likely answer is going to be Edwin.
Edwin took a crash course in helping carry the load when Hazell went down and now this summer he is getting a lesson in leading a group of younger players by playing for Seaview Jeep in the Verizon Fios Jersey Shore Basketball League along with Pirates freshmen Aaron Cosby, Brandon Mobley and Sean Grennan along with sophomore Aaron Geramipoor.
The league has been rejuvenated with the inclusion of not only the Seton Hall players, but also most of the Rutgers freshmen, which play under the umbrella of Stevens Gutter Cleaning. The level of competition is better than it has been in a few years and Edwin hasn’t disappointed yet. He has averaged 23 points and 9.8 rebounds per game through his team’s first four games and he has been doing on a variety of slashes to the hole as well as midrange jumpers. It should be noted that Edwin is doing this with what appears to be about 15 extra pounds from last season on his wiry frame.
More importantly than the numbers, he has become sort of a de facto leader on the floor, especially with his Pirates teammates with the freshmen obviously lacking any experience outside of high school and AAU basketball. With Seton Hall currently slated to have zero seniors for the 2012-13 season when Edwin is a junior, this summer’s leadership experience could prove invaluable down the road.
“It’s very important for me to come out here and not only show what I can do, but to also be a leader for the other guys,” Edwin said. “I have to come out here and show these guys that’s what you have to do every time out. Even if this isn’t the Big East, you still have to come out and show your ability. It’s a lot of competition out here and that’s only going to get guys better. At the very least, I know it’s getting me better right now.”
Adam Zagoria is a Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. A contributor to The New York Times and SportsNet New York (SNY), he is also the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist and filmmaker. His articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide. He also won an Emmy award for his work on the SNY mini-documentary on Syracuse guard Tyus Battle.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.