Injured back no longer holding back ASU men's basketball guard Rob Edwards

The redshirt senior is averaging 16 points per game on 50% shooting from three-point range

ASU men’s basketball redshirt senior guard Rob Edwards spent three weeks to begin the 2018-19 season with a locked back, barely able to bend down and touch his toes after playing 41 minutes in a double-overtime win over Cal State Fullerton.

A bulging disk kept Edwards out for the next six games. At the time, he said to The Arizona Republic the injury was, “probably the worst pain I ever felt.” After the short absence, he posted a respectable 11 points per game in his first year as a Sun Devil after transferring from Cleveland State.

But, now with a healthy back, Edwards has made a significant offensive jump this season. 

Through three games, he is averaging 16 points per game on 44% shooting from the field and 50% from three-point range, leaving his troubling injury behind him.

Edwards underwent surgery to fix the bulging disk in his back this past offseason. Head coach Bobby Hurley expressed concern over Edwards’s response to the procedure and rehab but has been pleased with how he has moved and played thus far.  

Edwards, on the other hand, had full faith in how he would respond to the operation.

“I was positive, I trusted the guy (who performed the operation),” Edwards said. “Moving forward, I don’t talk or think about my body. I just know that I’m back to 100%.”

The guard’s jump shot has become noticeably more fluid, and Edwards explained his ability to explode to his spots with a live dribble has improved as well. 

“Really just driving to the hole, playing freely, getting the ball and just going,” he said when asked how the recovery has improved his abilities. “I just feel way more confident guarding the ball, defending, jumping and being on the court longer.”

Edwards noted the most important thing the surgery brought was "playing more freely and more happily on the court.” 

“(The injury) was just a big toll on my body and my confidence levels,” Edwards said. 

Hurley noted the same joy that Edwards brings every day now that he is healthy.

“He’s just very happy. He’s just out there enjoying basketball,” Hurley said.

He also praised Edwards for his performance early this year, noting his work ethic and how well he takes care of his body.

“I hope the younger guys in the program are seeing how he goes about his business,” Hurley said. “Just feel good for him that he’s gotten off to a good start."

Junior guard Remy Martin, when asked who could lead the team in scoring before the team left for Shanghai to play Colorado, lauded over the team’s options, but concluded, “Rob would be my final answer.”

And while Martin currently leads the team with 19 points per game, it's possible with the attention he draws, he may find Edwards often, allowing him to prove his early season prediction. 

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