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GAME DAY FEATURE: Edwin Lashley
Courtesy: SJU Athletic Communications  
Release:  03/31/2009

February 22, 2009

by Pete Spiewak '10

Edwin Lashley may not play as much as he would like, but he doesn't regret his decision to come to Hawk Hill one bit. After all, the 6'4" senior guard is a small-town kid from a small high school, so Saint Joseph's is just like home to him.

"[My lack of playing time] has been discouraging, but sometimes things don't go your way, and I've been able to accept that," he said. "I don't ever regret committing to St. Joe's. I'm so glad that I picked St. Joe's -- it's the perfect fit for me."

Lashley thrives in the small, tight-knit community on Hawk Hill.

"I'm used to the small environment," he said. "My high school was like a smaller St. Joe's, everybody knew one another. At St. Thomas More, I was in a graduating class with like 50 boys. The small environment worked for me."

If you watch him in practice, you would be surprised that Lashley has only appeared in nine games this season; he works just as hard as the players who get 30 minutes of playing time a night.

"I always go into practice and play hard -- no matter what," Lashley said. "I try to play my best."

When you're a shooter, you are always on call. That is one of the things that keeps Lashley going.

With 11 seconds to go and the Hawks down by 5 to La Salle last weekend, head coach Phil Martelli called upon the three-point bomber when Darrin Govens fouled out of the game.

After two missed free throws by La Salle, Garrett Williamson raced down the court, and missed a lay-up -- but Lashley was out on the wing, if Williamson needed him.

"I think they might need me to provide some offense down the stretch," said Lashley, who graduated from St. Thomas More in Connecticut. "I know I can supply some offense off of the bench, and that's something that every team needs."

And the one thing everybody knows he can do is shoot. He's always been a shooter.

Even as a 6'1" eighth grader that towered over the competition and was directed by his coaches to play in the paint, Lashley would always step outside and show off his range. His coaches never complained, though, since he almost always made his three-pointers.

One of the reasons Lashley, who turned down offers from Big East and Conference USA schools in favor of Saint Joseph's, has enjoyed his time in Philadelphia is because his decision to continue his basketball career at SJU has allowed him to chase another one of his dreams: acting.

For Lashley, acting comes naturally. He can hear someone speak for the first time, and within a few minutes he can mimic them perfectly.

"Everybody always asks me: how long have you been practicing that impression?" Lashley said. "But I haven't been practicing, it's the first time I did that."

His imitations are right on the money. He can do almost anybody on the Hawk roster, coaches included. His best, though, might be of two of his past teammates, Pat Calathes and Rob Ferguson.

"I had [Calathes'] walk down, his facial expressions, his voice, everything. Every little thing Pat did, I could do," Lashley said of the former Hawk whose grimace is infamous.

It all started as a four-year-old. He would watch "Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles" and "The Wizard of Oz" and memorize the lines, then act out the movies.

"My mom would see me and say: `You should be an actor'," said Lashley, who has appeared in "Chicago" the musical and "Romeo and Juliet" while on Hawk Hill.

The fine arts major keeps his teammates in good spirits. Whether he is cracking a joke or imitating a coach, he always has his fellow Hawks laughing.

One of his biggest fans is Hawk freshman forward A.J. Rogers.

"I keep [my teammates] laughing in the locker room, especially A.J.," Lashley said. "I say one thing -- it doesn't matter what it is -- and he starts laughing. I can make him laugh whenever I want."

But Rogers is not the only person that enjoys Lashley's antics. The actor has been taking requests for as long as he can remember.

"All my life, growing up, people have told me: `Imitate him! Do him!'" Lashley said. "Every team I've ever been on, [my teammates] have always asked me to do impersonations. There's not one who hasn't asked me to imitate someone."

This season, with Calathes and Ferguson gone, Lashley has picked up some new impersonations.

"This year my best ones are probably A.J., Temi [Adebayo], and Chris Prescott," he said.

Lashley loves to tease his teammates, but he considers them to be just like brothers.

"Our team is close," he said. "We're like family. As far as bonding, this is the best team I've ever been on. We all chill with each other, go out together, hang out and watch movies in the hotels together."

Comcast SportsNet and CBS College Sports have even made trips to Hawk Hill to do segments on Lashley. The Maryland native is glad that he is already receiving exposure.

"It was amazing," the senior said of the local and national television features. "I was very proud of myself. My teammates were all proud of me, too."

Lashley will have to get used to life without basketball, but it won't be easy. He has been playing the game since the only thing he knew about it was that he should be chasing the ball up and down the court.

"I'm going to miss basketball a whole lot," he said. "It's been a part of my life since I was six years old."

In the beginning of the season, he had hoped to continue playing basketball at the professional level after college, but he is realizing that that may not be in the cards, and once he graduates, Lashley will begin to hope for his "big break," just like any up-and-coming actor.

He'll go to casting calls, and try to get his start as a full-time actor. Right now, there is a lot of uncertainty surrounding Edwin Lashley's future.

But wherever he ends up, whether in Hollywood, or on Broadway, one thing's for certain.

"I'm going to find somewhere to play ball."