It is not unheard of to hear about young, rising stars in the NRL, juggling sports as they grow up, before deciding to go with the NRL – and for Raiders winger Edrick Lee, he too faced that dilemma, with the 19-year old a promising basketball player growing up, before choosing League.
With Lee emerging from the wilderness to score six tries so far this season, his stature and style of play, have some people making comparisons between he and former Raider, Ken Nagas.
“Kenny (Nagas) was a club legend who scored some pretty good tries,” coach David Furner said.
“Eddy knows Kenny quite well, so hopefully that rubs off on him a bit.”
Lee, who was a member of the Brisbane Bullets Academy growing up, had the chance to choose basketball over footy, only a few years ago.
“I was in the Brisbane Bullets Academy and I was juggling both sports. Basketball was always on a Friday and footy on a Saturday,” said Lee, who is of Torres Strait Island descent, was raised in Brisbane and has lived in Canberra the past two years.
“I watched the NBA growing up and that’s where I really saw myself playing.
“I wanted to play college basketball in America and then try to get to the NBA.
“I was a big fan of LeBron James and always dreamed of playing with him and being around him.
“I’m second cousins with (San Antonio point guard) Patty Mills. We barely get the chance to talk because he’s travelling and I’ve got footy. But he wants me to do well and make the family proud.”
Lee knows that he has improvement in his game, and vows to get better – with Lee citing Nagas as a person who has helped him immensely in his career, with the pair speaking often.
“He made sure I did well when I moved away from family, he kept encouraging me to do well and saw the potential in me,” Lee said.
Raiders Chairman Don Furner had some simple thoughts on Lee: “I’m just glad he chose rugby league over basketball.
“When he first came to Canberra, everybody looked at this tall, skinny guy and thought, ‘How’s he going to go?’ But not only is he a good kid, he’s proven he’s up to first grade.”