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3 Days to Purdue Basketball: Carsen Edwards

Is the true freshman the missing piece?

NCAA Basketball: Indiana - Purdue at Purdue Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

Carsen Edwards - Fr.

Atascoticita, TX

6’0”, 190 lbs

2016-17 Projection: Key Reserve

I bought in in May. I should start with that. I bought in so hard that I said some things in May about Carsen that would make your lover blush. He’s not a big guard, at just 6 foot, which makes him on paper look like another tiny guard in a back court already filled with them. However, it only takes about one dribble to realize he brings something to the table that Spike and P. J. never will. In fact, he brings something to the table we haven’t had since E’twaun - a guard capable of creating, for himself and others, in every facet of the game. He once made 13 of 15 threes in a high school on his way to 50 points.

That’s the dirty secret of Purdue. We have recruited well the last few years. Ryan Cline was a surprise contributor. Everyone likes Dakota’s game. P. J. Thompson was the 4th most efficient player in the country last season. Basil is an athlete but has made just 4 threes in his entire career. Ray-D was awful on offense after his knee injury. Johnny Hill’s jump shot looked like he was trying to shoot a jump shot out of a pool of water. While Purdue has had talent, that talent has been one dimensional on offense. Coach Painter wanted shooters, he got them, but that meant sacrificing the kind of play making that can generate an offense when things get tough.

Carsen Edwards is a true freshman. He will go through the normal aches and pains of learning how to play division 1 basketball. He will shoot too often. He will get lost in the speed of the game. He will slack on defense and get killed for it. He will blow assignments. He will make you mad, me mad, and Coach Painter mad most of all. He will also be the biggest threat on the floor at times. He will offer more athleticism and all-around offense than anyone on the roster. He will knock down shots. He will attack the basket. He will break the press. He will press his man the whole length of the court.

We just haven’t had someone capable of not only making an open shot, but getting to the hoop against anyone. He’s also a capable passer - both passing out to perimeter shooters and finding big men cutting baseline. He’s already got a change of pace to his game that’s tricky to stop, and a shot off the dribble that when it’s falling is absolutely unguardable. In the last scrimmage, he feasted on open corner 3’s. He can play anywhere on defense, and he has the athleticism to guard the 1 or 2 on defense.

It’ll come down to focus on defense. Off the ball, he’s still used to high school where more often than not, your guy isn’t going to kill you. Where he was able to recover and make up for a lost step with his athleticism. He’ll learn. He’ll learn quick. With Cline out early, expect the freshman to get a lot of his minutes. Expect him to excite you just a little more than he disappoints you.

Here’s the growing theme: he’s the real deal. I think that’s right. I think he’s the missing piece of a team that was just a piece or two away last year. He’ll grow with the team, but more importantly they’ll grow to fit with him. Vincent is the man behind the curtain. He’s not built to take over the game like Carsen is. Vincent’s going to have to take over more defensive responsibilities this year, and with steady point guard play, the 2-spot is open for Carsen to shine. Cline’s suspended. Dakota can slide to the 3 and doesn’t provide anything at the rim.

Will it happen immediately? No. But just the idea that it could happen. That’s not something Purdue has had in a while. That’s why with only 3 days left until the season starts, Purdue can start to believe this year might end differently than an early exit. Carsen is the future, and that future is bright.