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April 21, 2012

Edwards excited for next chapter

In keeping with its recently articulated new philosophy of taking more Division I transfers, Arizona State is adding former Valparaiso power forward Richie Edwards, who will have one season of eligibility after a mandatory sit out season post-transfer.

Edwards, 6-foot-7, 220 pounds, averaged 9.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in 17.8 minutes last season as a junior for the Crusaders, who went 22-12 in the mid-major Horizon Conference. He shot 48.6 percent from the field and 37.7 percent from 3-point range on 53 attempts.

Valparaiso's two most prolific players, small forward Ryan Broekhoff, who averaged 14.9 points and 8.5 rebounds and earned league player of the year honors, and power forward Kevin Van Wijk, who averaged 14.1 points and 5.2 rebounds, were also juniors last season and are returning.

"The main reason I decided to transfer is they had me playing out of position (at center) and I want to play my natural position which is as a four (power forward) or even maybe a little three," Edwards said. "But I'm a stretch four who can score inside and also shoot from outside."

The process of selecting Arizona State wasn't a difficult one, Edwards said, as it ultimately was the only serious consideration.

"When I got my release I started talking to Lamont Smith and really liked him and what he had to say about why Arizona State would be a good fit for me so I decided to visit," Edwards said. "Then when I got there I felt really comfortable with everything. Coach (Herb) Sendek is a good guy and told me he really liked how well I score the ball and how hard I play. They have good facilities and the other coaches were nice and I just liked it right away.

"There were some other schools but I wasn't that interested in spending a lot of time looking at a bunch of different options. This is a good school with good coaching in a [major conference] league and they want to use me in exactly the way I'll be at my best so it really wasn't too tough of a decision to make."

Edwards was born in New York and moved with his family to New Zealand when he was young only to return to the United States and settle as a teenager in Lakeland, Fla., where he became a two-time all-league selection at Hillsborough Community College. Last summer, Edwards played for New Zealand in the World University Games and averaged 20.1 points.

"I don't know if I'll be out there for the first summer session or second summer session of summer school but it'll be for one of them depending on what the coaches set up for me," Edwards said. "I'm looking forward to getting out there and just continuing to work on my game, like my skills and just physically. I'd rather play but I'm not worried about having to sit out this year because there's always a lot to improve on and I want to be as good as I can be for my last season (of eligibility)."


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