Dec. 10, 2013
ARLINGTON, Texas – Senior forward Brandon Edwards is getting used to seeing his name among the nation's elite players. Going into Tuesday, Edwards was one of only three players in Division I basketball averaging at least 18 points and 10 rebounds per game.
Don't be surprised. Edwards isn't. He's racked up six double-doubles in nine games and is averaging 18.8 points and 10.6 rebounds, which is tied for 11th nationally. Edwards' goal coming into his last season at UT Arlington was to average 20 and 10. So by his standards, he's not quite living up to his expectations.
But that's alright because Edwards isn't just about numbers. His focus is to get the Mavericks on track as Sun Belt Conference play opens Jan. 2. UT Arlington is 3-6 going into Saturday's nonconference game at Houston Baptist.
UTAMavs.com caught up with Edwards to discuss his goals, the season thus far and what's to come.
Q: You're one of only three players nationally averaging 18 and 10. Is there a sense of pride being in the same class as some of the country's best players?
A: There is some pride in it because I see myself as one of the top players in the country and I want to be seen as one of the top players in the country. I look at the stats every now and then to try to make sure I keep myself where I need to be. I'm trying to average a double-double, 20-10, but 18-10 is pretty good, too.
Q: Why is it important to average a double-double?
Q: You started the year 16th on UTA's all-time rebounding list and you're now up to eighth. You're closing in on your former teammate Jordan Reves at fourth. How high up do you want to get on the list? A: I set a goal that if I average 11 rebounds per game, I can get up to first. That's one of my main goals. That's why I rebound so hard. I want to at least get in the top three and I'll pass Jordan. He'll be getting a text from me when I do.
A: If I bring the energy, I feel the rest of the team will follow after that. There are a couple of reasons I want to average a double-double. First, I want to set some records here at UTA. My assistant coach in high school (Steven Thomas) owns one of the rebounding records, so I want to pass him. Averaging a double-double could help me because I want to play professionally after college. As far as the team, averaging a double-double helps out on the rebounding and scoring end.
Q: How would you categorize the first nine games of the season?
A: They're disappointing, but the thing that matters the most is conference. We need to get it together by conference. We're getting better and better each game. We're losing close games. I think once we turn it around and play two halves together, it'll get good for us.
Q: Has it been a difficult transition early this season with so many new starters?
A: Mentally it has been hard on them at times and took a toll on some of the guys. The older guys should have done a better job of picking them up and help them get used to basketball on this level.
Q: How pleased have you been with the new backcourt of Reger Dowell and Lonnie McClanahan?
A: I really like our backcourt. Once everybody starts clicking on the same page, it's going to be really good for us. As far as Reger Dowell, he's a prolific scorer. He helps us out a lot. Last year, we were just a defensive team without any real scorers. He brings those 22-plus points per game to help us out and win. Lonnie is a quick point guard who sees the floor and gets to the bucket.
Q: How much do you like Lonnie's passes at the rim?
A: I like them a lot. Last year we didn't have that many oops, but from the first time we played together this summer, you could see he was going to throw me those oops.
Q: If it wasn't for Reger, wouldn't you be leading the team in scoring?
A: I'm top two. That's good enough for me. I do what I can to help the team win, whether it's leading in rebounding, leading in scoring or leading in blocks, I try to take the role that we need in that game.
Q: What's the biggest improvement this team needs to make before the start of conference?
A: Putting two halves together. We either start good and finish bad or start bad and finish good. Our defense is coming along way better than it was at the beginning of the season.
Q: If you could scrip your season year dream scenario, how does it play out?
A: Being player of the year or at least first team in the Sun Belt Conference. They predicted me third team. I acknowledged the honor, but I think I should be first team. I see myself as one of the top power forwards in the conference, maybe in the nation. I see leading this team to the NCAA Tournament. I've been to the NIT and CIT, so now I want to get to the NCAA Tournament. I also see myself getting a chance to play professionally, either in the NBA or overseas.