Posted On: 11/23/18 12:58 PM
When building a championship team, depth is a must. You could have a great starting lineup, but if you aren’t able to sustain that energy throughout the course of a game, it could keep you from reaching the ultimate goal. For Mt. St. Joseph, quality depth isn’t an issue. Junior forward Jason Edokpavi will fill a vital role off the bench in the frontcourt.
The 6-foot-6 four man will take on a bigger role than he saw last season with Jalen Smith graduating. Edokpavi took last year to really learn from Smith on both ends.
“I got a lot out of learning from Stix,” Edokpavi continued, “He’d tell me what I need to fix. It was a lot of the little things like post moves. Just by watching his game and his footwork really helped me. He has excellent footwork, so I knew I needed to bring that into my game. We were deep last year so I didn’t get as much time as I wanted, but I’m not the type to back away from adversity and leave a situation because of that. Stix helped me battle through that as well.”
This season, Edokpavi should have more freedom to display the skills he has offensively. One thing that has stuck out this preseason is his ability to knock down jumpers from 15-17 feet efficiently.
“I’ve always had the 15-footer in my skill set,” Edokpavi told Prep Hoops. “Even in eighth grade when Coach Clatchey was recruiting me, that was one thing he liked a lot about my game. I was really limited with taking shots in AAU even with my role on that team, but now that it’s my junior year, I feel a lot more comfortable on the court and being able what I need to do to score.”
One of the most challenging things in building any sort of team is making sure each player knows and accepts their role. If each play does this and aims to be the best possible player in THEIR role, the team can reach its full potential.
“Coming off the bench doesn’t bother me at all, just as long as when I get in the game I’m being productive,” Edokpavi said. “It doesn’t matter to me who starts, I just want to prove that I deserve to be out there when the game is coming down to the wire.”
Although the Gaels came up short in the BCL Championship last season to St. Frances, they still have a number of key returners. Still, there was a vibe in the area that the drop off would be extreme with losing Smith, Tyree Myers and Kendall McMillian.
“I still think we have a good chance against anyone we play,” he said. “I think our game against Gonzaga is going to be really good. A lot of people think it’s going to be a blowout, but we’ll be with them the whole game and in my mind, we’ll come out with the win. People are probably going to overlook us because we’re going into the post-Jalen Smith era and all they’re thinking is [James] Bishop is going to put up 40 and we’ll lose every game. Bishop is more than just a shooter. He makes everyone around him better, but people don’t like to talk about that.”
On the recruiting front, Edokpavi is hearing from a number of low-major schools, but doesn’t hold any offers yet. Delaware State, Longwood and Southern Alabama have all been in contact with him.
“With my dad passing in eighth grade, it’d be nice to stay kind of close to home,” Edokpavi explained when asked about his priority list for his college search. “I’d like to stay close to be here for my mom, so just anywhere where she wouldn’t have to worry about me being too far would be good. That and anywhere that can help financially so she doesn’t have to worry.”