RUTHERFORD, N.J. – Of the three members of the Felician College Class of 2011 who recently signed professional basketball contracts, Mike Edghill (Plainfield, N.J./St. Patrick-Elizabeth) is the unlikeliest story.
Edghill plays for the Jersey Express of the American Basketball Association. College teammates Devon Young (Monmouth Junction, N.J./South Brunswick) and Suquan Gary (Paterson, N.J./PCTI) are also members of the 12-man roster that competes in the ABA's Northeast Conference.
Young, a 6-foot-4 swingman, is Felician's all-time leading scorer and one of the most decorated athletes in school history. He was coming off of another professional opportunity this summer in the International Basketball League. Gary is an athletic 6-foot-6 forward who has been through several pro tryouts and was an all-conference selection his senior year with the Golden Falcons.
But Edghill, a 6-foot guard, was not a regular in high school, coming off the bench for perennial state power St. Patrick. He started only two games in four years at Felician, and averaged 3.6 points per game for his career. But after a much-improved senior collegiate season which saw his minutes jump from 11 per game to more than 17, and his scoring average more than double from the previous year, he was not ready to give up on the game.
The ABA is an offshoot of the original American Basketball Association that merged with the NBA in 1976. The current ABA is the largest professional sports league in the United States, with the Jersey franchise joining in 2005. When Young found out about an open tryout for the Express earlier this fall in Staten Island, he invited Edghill to join him.
"I'm not working with an agent, so without Devon I would never have known about the tryout," Edghill said. "Devon was also the first person to inform me that we had both made the team. This is the culmination of a lot of hard work and faith. I've never been a top scorer, but I've always tried to maximize my potential and reach the peak of my game."
At Felician, Edghill was always well-respected by teammates for his positive attitude and work ethic. But it took until his junior season for that work to show results on the court. He developed a reputation as a defensive stopper and was a key component in the Golden Falcons' Central Atlantic Collegiate Conference championship and 24-7 record that season.
The following year, his offensive game began to take shape. He averaged a career-high 6.6 points, and finished among CACC leaders in three-point field-goal percentage.
"When I think of Mike Edghill, one word comes to mind – dedication," said Felician head coach David DeFerrari. "Through long hours in the gym, he made himself into the player he is, and no one is more deserving of this opportunity. I am extremely proud of Mike and very happy for him."
The ABA combines NCAA, FIBA, and NBA rules, with the goal of bringing its fans a fast-paced, fan-friendly game. The Express play their home games at the Reeves Center on the campus of Centenary College in Hackettstown. They are 2-1 this season, and will host the Chicago Fury on January 5.
Edghill and Gary become the sixth and seventh former Felician men's basketball players to sign professional contracts. See http://www.felicianathletics.com/sports/mbkb/archive/pros for the complete list.