By: Cole Shelton
The St. John's Edge is playing in the NBLC Finals for the first time in franchise history. The Edge has success all season long and got past the Sudbury Five and the KW Titans to get here. Now, they will be tasked to face the Moncton Magic who has been the best team all year.
However, for Russell Byrd and the Edge, they are confident in their abilities and ready to take down the Magic and bring a championship back to the Island.
"Well ever since I came aboard it is the one thing we have been focused on," Byrd said. "Getting to this round and winning a championship. We are very excited to have accomplished most of our goals but there one more goal and that is to win the whole thing.
"You can call me bias but I think we match up well against anybody," he added. "I think we have the best team, the best pieces. Obviously, Moncton has been playing well all year and has good players. I feel like we match up well and I'm confident in the players we have. If we play as a team we can win."
For Byrd, however, to be playing in the Finals is incredible. He was on the Island Storm who wasn't having the best of seasons and then left to go to Qatar. But, after the Edge traded for his right, and Qatar didn't work out, the NBLC veteran decided to come back and re-join St. John.
"I had taken a job in Qatar and I was there for a bit a month and things didn't work out," he explained. "When I landed I received a message that they let me know they had mar rights just in case. When I heard about that I was pretty excited. There are a lot of very good people and good players here."
Meanwhile, something Byrd has done since coming back is being a versatile piece for the Edge. He has started and come off the bench throughout his time. And, depending on his role is either the focal point of the offence or a secondary option. Having to adjust game to game may be hard for some, but for Byrd, he is more than prepared to do so.
"I think it is just about being a professional basketball player," Byrd said. "You just have to go with the punches, go with the flow. I think I have done a good job to remain effective in this league in a variety of different ways. When you are on as good of a team as this team is. Everybody has a role, that may change from game to game. But, whatever they want me to do I'm prepared.
"Like I said it is just about being professional and being able to adapt," he concluded. "If you look at our team the past few weeks, anybody can have a big game. If you look at our boxscore or lineups, people come off the bench or start. It goes to show anybody can have a big night which is helpful for us."
Ultimately, it should be a great playoff series. In the end, Byrd believes it will come to defence on who wins the series and is eager to showcase his skills and help lead the Edge to a championship.
"I think some people don't always give me the props on the defensive end," he concluded. "It is something I am capable of and hey, if you want to be on the floor you need to play on both ends. I think with my size and my strength and a tiny bit of agility I am able to guard multiple positions. Going into this series it is going to be something I will bring to the table."