Doug Edert’s Journey to the Folk Hero of St. Peter

INDIANAPOLIS – We need to start with the “Stache.”

Because this is Doug Edert. The mustache defines his personality.

The 22-year-old junior guard at St. Peterthe Cinderella history of the NCAA tournament after his shocking overtime irritation of blue-blooded Kentucky on Thursday night, I don’t care.

Not in a bad way. Productive and confident. Edert, a proud native of Nutley, NJ, is confident enough — without displaying even a hint of chilling cockiness — to not care what anyone thinks of him or his looks, which is 1970s pornstar chic right now .

It started with teammate and roommate Matthew Lee, who happens to be the team’s hairstylist, giving Edert a makeover for his scruffy appearance a few weeks ago. While Lee was doing his job, he left the mustache for a blunder. Then everyone involved thought it was a good look, one that made Edert look tough.

Edert went out and had a big game and then another and the Peacocks kept winning and… here we are.

As much as Saint Peter’s put Jersey City on the college basketball map after his notable excitement, Edert has become the face of Cinderella. A face with that dodgy looking sting.

Edert doesn’t even start, but he’s the deadliest shooter for the 15th-seeded Peacocks (20-11), who play Sweet 16-berthed No. 7 Murray State (31-2) Saturday night at Gainbridge Fieldhouse Balance.

Doug Edert scored 20 points against Kentucky.
Doug Edert scored 20 points against Kentucky.
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Edert, who starred in St. Peter’s run to the MAAC tournament title, scored 20 points off the bench against Kentucky and assured the Peacocks — and the Stache — would have another high-profile NCAA tournament moment.

A win over Murray State and a Sweet 16 berth, and the Stache could have his own Twitter name.

“When people started calling him a ’70s porn star, they called him Ted Lasso, he was like, ‘All right, just bring it, let’s go,'” Edert’s father Bill told The Post on Friday. “He called me and said, ‘There are kids in St. Peter’s Basilica with mustaches on their faces, what’s going on?’ I’m like, ‘What’s up? you did that You created this.”

“Most people are a little scared of what people think of them. He’s out there with that crazy hair and that mustache doing his thing. That’s him. He almost reminds me of Will Farrell.”

Edert laughed when The Post broke his father’s words to him on Friday.

“It’s just my personality,” said Edert. “Growing up I didn’t care what people thought of me and I try to embrace it, so when I’m on the pitch I try to do my own thing. It helps me stay relaxed.”

Bill Edert said that when Saint Peter’s coach Shaheen Holloway recommended his son shave his mustache, Doug replied, “‘Coach, why don’t you grow a beard?’ There were referees who would talk to him and say, “You look like a 70’s porn star. Are you going to keep that thing?’ And he says, ‘You should grow a mustache.’ This is his answer to everyone. There’s something about him.”

What exactly is this “way” about him? Think about the conversation Doug Edert had with his father hours before the game in Kentucky.

“If I see anyone going through the net, I’ll tell you I’ll do it tonight,” Doug told his father.

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“OK, hopefully you don’t lose when you’re over 40.” Bill replied.

“I’m just trying to be honest with him,” Bill said. “And he says, ‘No, I’m just telling you, I’m going to own the court.’ It’s a mindset.”

Mike Byrne, Edert’s JV coach at Bergen Catholic and linchpin in his recruitment to the New Jersey High School powerhouse, knows the mindset. He first met Edert when he was in seventh grade and saw something special.

“He’s like an absolute freak with his shooting, how he dissects the shot punch,” Byrne told the Post over the phone from Jersey while struggling to find a flight to Indianapolis to be in the building Saturday night. “The level of detail with the time and effort he puts in is incredible. He’s just a competitive freak. It’s just wired correctly. He can practice any sport. He will make a lot of money in business.

Doug Edert
Doug Edert
Getty Images

“The kid is amazing. Bullets made of steel, shot after shot, simply unbelievable. I don’t know if I’ve seen anything like this before. He’s now a basketball icon from New Jersey. Everyone knows who he is now. He has become national.

“The child is the commodity.”

The mustache?

“The ‘stache is cash,'” Byrne said, laughing. “It looks awful. He looks like a porn star from the 70’s. He shoots the crap out of the ball so we have to roll with it.

Marty Higgins, the all-time leading scorer at Nutley High School, who managed a youth basketball team called the “Suburban Elite,” recalled first meeting Edert when he was in second or third grade. Edert played flag football and Higgins immediately noticed his athleticism and thought, “I wonder if he’s good at basketball?”

Higgins introduced himself to Bill Edert that day, suggested basketball, and the rest is history.

“He just wanted to shoot and make sure he was shooting properly,” Higgins recalled Friday. “He watched YouTube videos on how to shoot, how to turn, how to dribble between the legs.”

Fast forward to the Kentucky game.

“You saw attitude,” Higgins said. “You see deer-in-the-headlights moments with a lot of kids who get involved in this big game, and he never has. If you really watched Doug the whole game, he said, ‘I belong here, this is my time.”

The genesis of Edert’s exquisite outside shot, which hit Kentucky when it mattered most on Thursday, was born in a sidewalk ring at Durant Place in Nutley, where he grew up.

“It all started when I was on my street where I grew up, with a tire on my sidewalk,” he said. “I live on a quiet street, so I was able to shoot all the time. That’s all I wanted to do as a kid, go out and take pictures. My dad was always out there recovering for me.”

The hoop is still where his parents still live.

“As soon as I go home after that,” he said, “I’ll probably be shooting around there again.” Doug Edert’s Journey to the Folk Hero of St. Peter


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