Only two players are left on our review list, and one of them, today, has shown t\hat he has a ton of promise for 2015-16.
Vince Edwards - Freshman
8.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.7 apg, 48.2% FG, 32.6% 3FG, 78.8% FT
Guess who led Purdue in assists in 2014-15? It was not Jon Octeus or Rapheal Davis, but Vince Edwards. He finished the season with 90 assists and had a campaign that drew numerous parallels to Robbie Hummel. I know he showed that with an excellent performance against Cincinnati, but just how close were they? Here are both players' freshman numbers:
Edwards: 8.8 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 2.7 apg, 48.2% FG, 32.6% 3FG, 78.8% FT
Hummel: 11.4, 6.1 rpg, 2.5 apg, 50.7% FG, 44.7% 3FG, 86.5% FT
Okay, so Edwards has a way to go, but for the first time since Hummel departed Purdue had a power forward that could do power forward things. Twice Edwards was named the B1G Freshman of the Week, and he was a regular contributor and started from day 1. He ended up started 29 of 33 games, and missed one late in the season due to a concussion.
The best part is that Edwards was an extremely versatile player. He could rebound and get the garbage baskets with regularity. He could create his own shot off the dribble. He could shoot the three and knock it down. Finally, he could obviously pass as he led the team in assists.
Going forward, Vince has the look of being one of the Big Ten's best players before his career is done. Coach Painter really recruited him hard and so far that has paid dividends. Vince often played well beyond his experience even from day 1, as he was the Big Ten Freshman of the Week during week 1 of the season.
It was a loss, but Vince's game against Cincinnati in the NCAA Tournament was excellent. He had 14 points, 8 rebounds, and 7 assists as he nearly notched a triple-double in trying to get Purdue to advance. He was an essential part of the offense and his three-pointer with 2:49 left in regulation gave Purdue a lead it would have until the final horn. He was even playing tough defense and made Troy Caupain's game-tying basket as difficult as possible. It certainly was not his fault Purdue lost.
Final Grade: A
It really was a great first season for Edwards. The game against Cincinnati showed what he could do and if the Boilers had been knocking down open shots he would have led Purdue to a very comfortable victory. Vince didn't have a single scoreless game and had at least four points in all but two games. To compare him to Hummel again, he often had a very quiet performance that ended up filling multiple categories on the stat sheet. He always seemed to do the right thing and showed he is going to be an excellent player.
If Purdue gets Caleb Swanigan we can expect Edwards' game to explode. One of the is advantages to the Baby Boilers is that their lack of size meant we never had the luxury of playing Hummel at the three. He would have destroyed defenders at the small forward position. If Swanigan signs, Purdue will have the best frontcourt in the Big Ten. Swanigan can play the four and shift Edwards to the three where he would be a nightmare on both ends of the floor.
Even if Swanigan doesn't come the development of Jacquil Taylor as a four can move Edwards to the three. Having both Isaac Haas and A.J. Hammons down low takes the burden off of Edwards needing to be a burly power forward and lets him utilize his athleticism even more.