Everette Pedescleaux Finds New Home at UNI

Everette Pedescleaux, a talented two-sport athlete from Plymouth (MN) Robbinsdale Armstrong, was expected to make a big impression on the Minnesota Gopher defensive line this season. However, after a shoplifting charge, he decided to leave the program and transfer to Northern Iowa, where he played football on a team that advanced to the Division I-AA championship game and is sitting out the basketball season. GoldenSports.Net recently caught up with Pedescleaux to talk about Northern Iowa.

Everette Pedescleaux signed a football scholarship with Minnesota with the intention to play basketball after having previously committing to Northern Iowa to play basketball.

Unfortunately, he suffered a torn ACL in his left knee during a high school All-Star game. Due to the injury, Pedescleaux did not enroll full-time until January. He played defensive tackle for the Gophers during their spring game after originally being thought to play defensive end. He weighed 265 pounds and the Gopher coaches had wanted him to get up to 290 to better battle the big offensive linemen in the conference. However, reports are that Pedescleaux was concerned about gaining that much weight and the impact that it would have on his trying to play basketball for the Gophers.

Pedescleaux will be eligible immediately for the Northern Iowa football team, since they are Division I-AA. However, since the Panthers are Division I in basketball, he will have to sit out the hoops season.

Pedescleaux originally committed to Northern Iowa for basketball, picking the Panthers over Tulsa. However, Pedescleaux did not sign a letter of intent in the early signing period. This was due to him questioning whether or not to play both basketball and football in college. Pedescleaux helped lead the Falcons to the Class 5A semifinals, where they lost to eventual state champs Lakeville 38-28.

Pedescleaux considered Creighton, Dayton, Illinois State, Montana State, New Mexico, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois, Toledo, Tulsa and Wisconsin-Green Bay for basketball. He visited Wisconsin-Green Bay, Tulsa, Southern Illinois and Dayton before committing to Northern Iowa, which signed AAU teammate Eric Coleman.

Pedescleaux shined as a member of the Howard Pulley Panthers AAU team during the summer of 2003. He scored 18 points to help the Panthers' 17-and-under basketball team defeat the Illinois Warriors 70-66 in the Price Chopper Kansas City Prep Invitational championship. The Panthers finished 6-0 in the event.

Pedescleaux finished with 65 carries for 324 yards and nine touchdowns as a high school senior for the Falcons. He grabbed six passes for 58 yards and two scores. Pedescleaux was named first-team Star Tribune All-Metro and AP All-State team as a defensive end.

Pedescleaux said that he started to think about playing college football more after a strong senior season as he led the Falcons to a 11-2 season and took a visit to the Gopher-Wisconsin game.

Pedescleaux played fullback, tight end and defensive end, but the Gophers originally looked at him more as a tight end or passing rushing defensive end.

Pedescleaux led Armstrong to a 22-7 mark in basketball as a senior, losing to St. Paul Johnson 75-56 in the quarterfinals of the Minnesota boy's state high school basketball tournament at the Target Center. He was the lone double-figure scorer for Armstrong as he finished with 27 points, 12 rebounds and six blocked shots. He made 9 of 15 shots from the field and 9 of 11 from the line.

Were you surprised about how good the team was? Did you have an indication?
"I did not know how good the team was. I just came down here to play football and basketball. Obviously, after I started playing with them, I knew that they had the potential to be good. We had some downfalls at the beginning of the season, stuff breaking down, but everyone started playing as a team."
Northern Iowa knocked off the number one seed in the playoffs and beat several other highly ranked teams. Did you guys have that minds set that you were as good as anyone else?
"You've got to have that mind set if you want to win. Everybody was talking like we were the underdogs. Everybody comes out playing with more emotion and with more heart. Being the underdog, you've got to want it more."
How about your role this year?
"I started a few games this year. I'm just thanking Coach for giving me the opportunity to play. I hurt my knee and missed the last few games."
You played in the Minnesota spring game and played well, What leads you to coming to the decision that Northern Iowa was a better place for you?
"I did not feel that I would play a lot there, so I thought that I would come here to play basketball. Coach Farley came down and talked to me and asked me if I wanted to play football. I told him that I would give it a try. I like it here a lot. I plan on staying here and playing both sports."
Was there one thing that made you realize that you were not going to be happy at Minnesota?
"I felt like I wanted to play earlier. Because I had already sat out a year, I did not want to sit out another year. I came here to play football and that is going to preoccupy me while I have to sit out for basketball. Hopefully, next season, I can play both.'"
I know that you are a competitive kid. You had to sit out last season and now you are sitting out the basketball season, because they are Division I. Has that been tough?
"It hurts a little bit, but I'll be there rooting for them."
You have not had a chance to practice with the basketball team, due to the long football season. Have you talked to the coaches about your role this season?
"After football, I'm probably going to have surgery on my knee. After that surgery, I'll probably take a month or so before I am playing basketball with the team."
What caused the injury?
"I got high-lowed and my right knee gave out on me. I had an left ACL injury in high school, but it is strong now. I just got to get it scoped. They said that it shouldn't be too bad."
Is it nice, even though you are not playing on the basketball team, that there are a lot of familiar faces like Eric Crawford, Eric Coleman and Travis Brown? You played AAU ball with the latter two.
"It's nice being around a lot of people that you know. Me and Eric are really close friends. That helps playing basketball with them, because we are close and have played together ever since AAU. It is nice coming down here and hanging out with him. I know Crawford and the other guys from the times I came down here from before. It's fun and I like it."
You are going to have another Minnesota guys next year in Kwadzo Ahelegbe
"K is going to come down here. We've seen him a few times down here. I like Kwadzo. He played on our AAU team too."
Are you a little surprised at how well Eric Coleman is playing? He was Missouri Valley Freshman of the Year last season and is off to a strong start this year. You were actually probably more highly ranked than he was coming out of high school.
"I always thought that Eric was a good player. Something just needed to bring it out of him. That is what I try to do here since I am not playing. I'm constantly talking to him, telling him what he should do. I think that it helps me out a lot."
Did you get a chance to watch the Gophers football team at all this season?
"No. I did not."   
They had a great offense, but their defense was not as good as they needed it to be. Did you think that maybe you could have made a difference there?
"I don't know what I could have done. I was not in the starting lineup or second string."
What position did you end up playing this year?
"Sometimes I played defensive end, sometimes I played on the inside."
The talk at Minnesota had been that they wanted you to bulk up to play tackle, which would have made it difficult to play basketball, while you wanted to play end to utilize your quickness.
"I thought that would be better off as an end, but they wanted to put more weight on me."

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