Junior forward Ed Daniel may be known as a solid defensive player willing to sacrifice his body to take charges for the team, but it is Daniel’s afro, that matches his enormous personality and varies in
style depending on the game, which has sparked national attention from media outlets such as The New York Times, CNN and ESPN.
“It’s funny how things work out,” Head Coach Steve Prohm said. “I was going to make him cut his hair but I didn’t make him cut it and it’s become a neat little phenomenon. I told him this morning in the office he should get a cutback from (the @ed_hair Twitter account), I know it’d be a violation so I know he couldn’t but it’s good. The little kids will do it, everybody has just become eaten up with it.”
His teammates have certainly noticed the attention Daniel’s hair has garnered this season as well.
“It’s definitely done made him famous,” senior guard Jewuan Long said. “I think he’s got the shirt on now, the Mr. Ed shirt. You see them around campus and at the games, he’s definitely one of the faces of Murray State basketball right now and his hair is also.”
Avid fans began noticing Daniel’s changing hairstyle early in the season and one such fan created the @ed_hair Twitter account and keeps track of Daniel’s stats by hairstyle, all while remaining anonymous.
“It’s hilarious knowing they have a Twitter account for Ed’s hair,” junior guard Isaiah Canaan said. “That’s his own personal swag so we can’t knock it, that’s what he wanted to do so Coach said if he can do what Coach asks him he can keep his hair.”
The following is a Q&A between The News’ Sophie McDonald and the anonymous Twitter user:
Q. What made you decide to create @ed_hair and keep stats by hairstyle?
A. It started as a joke between some of us who have game tickets together. We noticed how his hairstyle kept changing and I thought “Wonder if there’s a stat difference with each hairstyle?” I really like making random spreadsheets and formulas in Excel, so it was a natural fit, haha.
Q. How long does it take for each game?
A. It actually takes about 5 minutes, tops. I pull up the box score and transcribe each stat into my spreadsheet. The formulas auto-update and instantly give me his averages and highlight the best stat in each category. Excel is crazy good.
Q. How often you update Twitter?
A. Well, I try to put something up before and after every game, but I have it on my phone so it’s really easy to put something up when the idea hits. I have it tied in to the Facebook page so everything updates together. I also try to respond to anyone who tweets or comment; I think it’s amazing how many people have followed the account.
Q. What’s his best hairstyle?
A. Statistically, it’s what I call the “EdFro” which is the afro with a headband. He seems to be only wearing it right now but in the past has worn cornrows (EdRows) or a combination (BraidFro). The EdRows used to own the defensive stats but now that the EdFro has seen so much action, it’s the clear winner. It’s also very iconic and unique for him, I’ve seen several wigs and signs at games, along with the “Mr. Ed” shirt that someone made.
Q. Do you talk with Ed?
A. The only time I’ve talked to him is in passing, I’ve never actually been like “Hey I’m the EdHair guy.” In an article in The Paducah Sun earlier this year, he said he thought the account was someone trying to stalk him at first, but now he thinks it’s pretty good … so there’s that. Plus, I really don’t know what I would say after introducing myself. “So… who does your hair?”
Q. What led you to believe there is power in the hair?
A. It’s just so iconic and, to me, really represents the role he has stepped into this year. In previous years he wasn’t as much of a game-changer and he had that close-cut hairstyle. All of a sudden, he steps onto the court this year with a fresh ‘do and a fresh attitude and begins making a big impact on the game.
Q. Do you have aspirations to take ed_hair outside of Twitter?
A. Aside from the Facebook account, not really. I don’t even know what to do with it after the season is over, other than convert it to follow MSU Quarterback Casey Brockman. You know, the “RedFro” he sports is pretty crazy, too. It was awesome to hear the commentators on ESPNU mention the account during the TSU game, and there’s a website that ranked best hairstyles in college basketball that had him on there and mentioned my accounts. Overall, I just want to spread the buzz about Murray State.
Q. Did you come up with the Mr. Ed shirt?
A. Nope, that was done by a guy named Bobby Potts (@bobbypotts) who now, as I understand, has them for sale at Zax. I love the shirt, I have one and gave one away on the Twitter account. I’m going to take mine to get signed by Ed at the Selection Sunday event if they do player autographs again.
Q. Why you? What makes you an expert on this?
A. Oh heavens, no. I’m no expert at all. But most statistics and sports talk is all based on silly ideas and rumors and random formulas, so why not make one for Ed’s hair? Haha.
Q. Why the anonymous nature of ed_hair?
A. Honestly, in the beginning I didn’t know how it would be received (see “I thought they were a stalker” above). But now, it’s taken a life of its own and really doesn’t need to have a name behind it. I don’t deny that I’m the one behind it, but I don’t really put it out there like “Hey, look at me! I’m the basketball fan/spreadsheet nerd who tracks a guy’s stats versus his hairstyle!”
Q. Do you ever plan on revealing yourself?
A. Nah. It’s about the hair. It’s all about the hair.
Q. Do you read The Murray State News?
A. Every week. I like reading about the basketball season from the students’ perspectives. It’s one thing to read a national basketball analyst who has insight on the game but has to cover hundreds of teams, but it’s nice to hear about it from the students, too, who go to class with the players and walk the same sidewalks daily.