LITTLE ROCK - Former Trojan standout Shane Edwards is back on campus working out at the Jack Stephens Center after a successful rookie season with the New Mexico Thunderbirds of the NBA D-League. A 2009 First Team All-Sun Belt Conference selection, Edwards averaged 12.7 points and 5.3 rebounds per game for the Thunderbirds last season and ranked second in the NBA D-League with a .625 field goal percentage.
Edwards will leave for Virginia on June 10 to participate in the NBA D-League mini-camp, before heading to Las Vegas, Nev. on July 6 to play in the NBA Summer League with the Denver Nuggets.
The Gilbert, Ariz.-native was a part of two Sun Belt Conference West Division championship teams in his two seasons at UALR. As a senior, Edwards averaged 11.8 points and 5.4 rebounds per game to lead the Trojans to a 23-8 overall record and a 15-3 mark in league play.
The UALR Sports Information Office recently had a chance to catch up with Edwards and find out about his experience and adjustment to professional basketball.
What was the biggest adjustment going from college to the pros?
The talent level is different. Everybody at that level can play and the speed of the game is definitely a big factor. The guards are a lot faster and strength is a big factor. I think I made a quick adjustment though. The spacing is better at that level. It is a lot more open as opposed to college where the game is packed in down low, and I tend to like more spacing.
What was your daily routine like?
We practiced every day. When you play 50-plus games, you have to do a lot of recovery stuff. We did pool workouts and other things to get our legs back and get ready for the next game. You lift hard when you have a chance to lift. I had to lift with the size of the guys at the next level. That's where strength becomes a big factor. I had to maintain my weight if not put a little more on. I also worked with my assistant coach, Darvin Hamm, to develop my post skills. He gave me stuff I could work with on the block and off the block, and I think my post skills got a lot better.
How did you handle the longer schedule and travel?
You're on the road a lot. We had one road trip that lasted 2-3 weeks. Going from one place to another, you're only home for a few days. You kind of get used to it once you adjust. I did hit a wall at one point during the season. I think everyone does at some point. But once you get past that stage it becomes so much easier. You just need to fight through it.
What made you want to come back to campus?
I knew coach (John) Barron would get me ready. He always has a lot of new things that is working with to help us develop. Last summer that I was out here he had a lot of good things for me, so I knew he would be the one to get me in shape and get me ready for July. I've been lifting hard with him and he's been able to put some weight on me.
You've been working out with some of the current players since you got back. Any advice for them?
I try to help them out every way I can. While I'm here working out with them I try to push them. That's what I did while I played here too. I want to push them to have a good senior year so they can be successful.
You made a lot of progress from your junior to senior year at UALR. Do you think you're continuing to develop as a basketball player?
I think so. My assistant coach was telling me how much I progressed throughout this past season from the beginning of the year to the end. That's one of my goals every year, to always improve and never take a step back. Try to take my game to another level. I had a lot of fun this past season playing pro ball. It was different in a good way. It was a good experience and hopefully I can keep progressing with the ultimate goal of getting to that next level. That's what the D-League is all about.
What do you remember most about your time at UALR?
We had a great season my last year. We really improved from my junior to senior year and it was fun because we were winning and had success. I just had a good time with all the guys. It was a fun year for me.