Feb. 13, 2008
By Jeremy Schuyler Fallis `06
The most well-rounded basketball player doesn't have the talent Edwin Lashley has, because when the spotlight is on, he flourishes.
Lashley, the junior performing arts major, is more than a three-point specialist for the Hawks; he's their only accomplished actor. This spring, the Salibsubry, Maryland guard will appear in a Saint Joseph's musical, Chicago, sponsored by Cap & Bells. As Lashley says, completing the major and competing on the court is a unique task.
"I'm trying to be the first athlete, especially a basketball player," Lashley says, "to do [the major] and be an actor."
Part of the reason Lashley chose Saint Joseph's was for basketball, but since SJU held a performing arts major it made the decision that much easier, even if attaining the degree and playing was difficult.
"My main thing was basketball," Lashley explains. "I looked into the performing arts department and they had what I wanted. They said [being a performing arts major] would be a tough task to complete."
With the tough task of completing class work and balancing the on-the-court work, Lashley holds a certain confidence that he hopes will help him achieve his goals after graduation.
"Acting is definitely one of my options," he says. "It depends on how everything works out for me."
So far, Lashley let his stage skills work for him off-the-court in landing the role of Assistant District Attorney Martin Harrison in the 1924-staged musical Chicago. In that role he will stand face-to-face with three murdering wives. Lashley will be the cutthroat man asking for the death penalty for the women.
As for his role on the basketball court, Lashley plays something similar even in a limited spot. His leadership and outside shooting are unquestioned assets to the Hawks as they try to solidify their spot atop the Atlantic 10.
"My role on the team is just to provide a spark on offense," Lashley says. "[The] best part of my game is outside shooting. The coaches told me that's what they need me to do and expand my role even more through practice."
As head coach Phil Martelli calls more guys from the bench to keep fresh legs on the court, Lashley's name is called more often.
"This year I feel my role has expanded more," he says. "Mainly because it's the first year where I'm in the rotation. I have to be ready to play every single day and ready to compete."
Although Lashley's time has been limited in his two and a half years on Hawk Hill, he has tried his best not to be discouraged and to keep plugging along, getting important advice from some of his closest confidants.
"I take confidence in my family: my stepfather and my mother," he says. "They talk to me and tell me to keep my head up. Coach Bass has been a big help in trying to keep my head in it and keep my confidence up telling me to keep working hard and stuff like that."
Individually, Lashley's time on the court has usually seen him as the focus of the offense, starting almost every game and being the go-to guy. Nevertheless, he has adjusted to his job on the team and being ready for every opportunity while earning valuable experience.
"As I get older I learn more." Lashley explains. "It's discouraging [not to play], but I keep working hard and reach for the best."
Being the best, even as he competes on the team, is no easy chore, as the Hawks have played gritty ball all year. Last week's game at Temple was a microcosm of the season so far, the Hawks being down most of the season, playing below their best, yet continuing their hot streak by winning their eighth game in nine tries.
"It was a great win," Lashley says. "[There was] a lot of excitement, and it was a great game from a fan's point of view, but we feel like we could've played better.
"We finished the game strong and we showed we could compete [with anyone]. It was the most exciting [game] since the A-10 Championship game my freshman year."
There is certainty of many more exciting games to come, especially as the Fieldhouse makes its turn down the homestretch. For Lashley, seniors Pat Calathes, Rob Ferguson, and Arvydas Lidzius, and juniors Ahmad Nivins and Tasheed Carr, this season will be their last at Alumni Memorial Fieldhouse. With the lasting memories of the Fieldhouse almost upon them, the look to the future is just as nice.
"It'll be nice to see the renovations and how the Fieldhouse and locker rooms will change," says Lashley. "I wish we could play here my senior year, so this is my senior year this year. Playing every game in the Palestra will be a lot different."
Nonetheless, a look to the future takes away from the present, and presently the Hawks have started the A-10 season hot, winning five of their first six games heading into this evening's contest. With the Hawks in the top spot, Saint Joseph's has a lot to prove in a very tough February.
"We come out and try to be in first place for every game," Lashley adds. "We go in as the first place team and we come out in first place. We just want to win and stay there."
"We are out to prove that we're as good as we are every game."
Although Lashley will be proving his skills in the theatre when he's singing and acting in April, he hopes to be doing a little bit of dancing, too, in March for the Hawks.