Nov. 19, 2006
By Emily Pambianchi
A typical fan of the Saint Joseph's men's basketball team may know that sophomore shooter Edwin Lashley is a talented offensive player, but they may not know that his impersonations of his SJU coaching staff and teammates are as impeccable as his outside shots. Lashley is expected to contribute to the team on the court, with long range shooting skills and when he's not in his uniform, he has a way of keeping his teammates, friends, and family laughing.
He hails from Salisbury, MD, and attended Snow Hill High School where he earned basketball MVP honors before transferring to a private, boarding school in rural Connecticut his junior year. "I made good friends there," he says of the school, while jesting about the fact that his friendships are the only thing he truly missed about St. Thomas More, the private school. "It was far from home and in the middle of nowhere," he quips, but he knew that if he focused on academics and basketball at that institution he could learn vital skills and fundamentals to carry him toward a future with the sport. "You got to have the academics to play basketball," he explains.
The transition from a public high school basketball program to a private school program was an adjustment, but Lashley learned the game at an advanced level and became more prepared to play for a Division I collegiate team. "The transition from prep school to a college campus was easy," he remarks about St. Thomas More, "but it was a major jump from their basketball program to a D-1 level." He looked to come to SJU for his undergraduate degree and found himself interested in the coaching staff. "Coach Martelli had a lot to offer," Lashley clarifies, adding, "SJU has a great small school atmosphere, with a rich history and tradition of basketball. Plus, basketball is huge in Philadelphia, especially with the Big Five."
Lashley is hoping that after his first year on the court he has defined himself as a player. He knows he has gained a better understanding for the challenge of playing college basketball, which will serve him and the Hawks well, as the team is notably a young squad. This summer he worked hard on his body and the game to become a player the team needs. "I am working hard to help the team the best way I possibly can," he notes. Lashley is committed to the game and hoping to establish himself in the rotation.
As a sophomore, he now has one year of collegiate experience behind him and explains the toughest challenge he's come across is "staying focused with my workload and basketball." He has chosen to pursue a Performing Arts major and is learning about acting and performance when he is not playing basketball. His teammates acknowledge his knack for performing a variety of impressions with humorous voices. He laughs and says, "I can imitate Coach Martelli," and quickly adds, "but not around him." His mother, Patricia Jolley, was actually the one who pointed out his natural theatrical nature and encouraged him to study acting while in college. He explains he hasn't been in a play since middle school because high school basketball was so time consuming, but how he is enjoying his classes now.
"It is still tough to focus on acting and basketball," he admits, but encouragement from professors and his family help him. He was extremely happy when his acting professor, Renee Dobson, told him some of his skits were "like watching a sitcom." It was a small compliment, but meant a lot to Lashley. He knows he must perform in two plays to complete his major at SJU and is looking forward to the spring, when he will be able to perform in a small role for the campus production.
His mother understands how hectic his schedule is, so she makes sure Lashley can count on her sending him a text message that has a word of encouragement or of support in the morning. His family believes in him, which adds to his confidence about the life he is leading. He explains that with their faith in him and his Faith, he knows basketball, academics, and life will all mesh together. Lashley tries to live by his motto, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me," a passage from the Bible that his mother taught him.
Lashley is certainly glad to be at SJU and loves being able to challenge himself on the basketball court and in the classroom. He hopes to make a big impact on the team and help the Hawks in any way he can to have a successful season. He may serve as a paradox, studying the performing arts and playing basketball, but he says, "no matter what people say, if you want to do it...then go for it."