We last saw Vince Edwards dribbling the ball up court and pulling up into a jumper that looked perfectly on line...
Hold on. Give me a moment. One more, please.
Alright. So, looks can be deceiving. It wasn't perfect, just on a line to the rim before bouncing off and leaving Purdue one point shy of advancing in the NCAA tournament against Cincinnati. As much as that miss might have hurt, making the tournament again was a success for a team that hadn't put on dancing shoes since 2012. It was also freshman's Vince Edward's coming out party.
His line: 14 points, 8 rebs, and 7 asts.
That's ridiculous. His team didn't hesitate to in bound him the ball and let him take the game-winning attempt, even if he missed it. We've been spoiled as Boiler fans. We had a whole team of freshman who played beyond their years with the Baby Boilers, and we seemed to have another last year and Edwards was the crown jewel.
At 6'8" in shoes(It's still hilarious they separate this stat on prospect's breakdown. They play games in shoes, that's the height that matters.) and a 7 foot wingspan, he is a matchup nightmare for teams. He allows Purdue to play long or play small, and according to DraftExpress, he was the best passing non-guard in the conference with an average of 4 assists per 40 minutes of play - as a true freshman with a team that struggled to make shots. Again, it's not normal for programs to get freshman who are this smart and capable of playing right away - not unless you're Coach K or Calipari.
He seems to have worked on his most obvious weakness this off season - his slow release. In the intra-squad scrimmage his release was quick, and he shot from deep with confidence. He lead the team in shot percentage inside the arc last year - a crazy stat considering Purdue has two of the better scoring 7 footers in the conference - and was third on the team in made 3's. He shot under 33% from three so there's plenty of room for improvement.
This year he'll be asked to guard and play the 3 more with the recently declared eligible Caleb Swanigan prepared to step into the starting lineup at the 4. Edwards should see a spike in his rebound numbers at the 3, particularly on the offensive glass. Whatever gene Rapheal Davis has that allows him to be in the exact spot to snag missed shots, Edwards seems to have it, too. Add Haas, Hammons, and Swanigan into the mix, you can expect Purdue to be one of the best rebounding teams in the nation. While Edwards might struggle at times against super athletic 3's, there's just not a ton of those around, and his length and intelligence, not to mention stellar bigs behind him, should absolve him of any real defensive deficiencies.
Vince Edwards averaged 8.8 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.7 assists a game last year as a true freshman and he might be our third best player on most nights.
Let that sink in for a second.
Purdue's won a football game after September, Biggie's eligible, and we've got another batch of impressive freshman on campus.
The future is both now and bright and just 12 days away.