What struck me when I first saw Cashton Craig play basketball for Madison La Follette five years ago was that the kid couldn't stand still. Even as others shot free throws, the All-City guard would pace in the backcourt, his feet never pausing long on the floor. He seemed to always play with a sense of urgency, slashing to the hoop or diving into the passing lanes on defense.
After two years at Minnesota-Duluth, Craig is back in Madison, where his impatience is well suited to Edgewood College's style of basketball. He's averaging over 11 points per game on a balanced Eagles team that doesn't like to take much time off the shot clock. He's joined in the starting lineup by Madison Memorial alum Derek Nkemnji, a former track star in high-tops who averages nearly 10 points and 3.5 assists a game.
At 18-6, Edgewood is tied for second in the Northern Athletics Conference and ranked eighth in the Midwest region. Next week, the Eagles begin postseason play in the NAC playoffs, the winner of which will receive an automatic bid for the NCAA Division III national tournament.
According to David Petroff, director of athletic communications at Edgewood, there's a nice buzz surrounding the team these days due in part to the higher profile enjoyed by Division III sports in the Internet age. Many programs, including Edgewood's, stream video of their games online and are active on social media.
Edgewood fills a nice niche in the Madison hoops community. An energetic, come-from-behind victory over Wisconsin Lutheran in the Edgedome last Saturday had it all: cold-blooded three-pointers, rim-rattling dunks and a vocal crowd. Expect the same next Wednesday for the first round of the conference tournament. But get to the Edgedome early.