For the second straight season, Purdue will rely heavily on a graduate transfer to handle the point guard duties in 2015. Johnny Hill comes in from Texas-Arlington looking to make an immediate impact, just a year after Jon Octeus transferred from Colorado State and became the primary floor general.
Purdue fans thought they had their point guard of the future when 2016 4-star recruit C.J. Walker committed to the Boilermakers back in October of 2014. Since his decommitment in March and subsequent commitment to Florida State, Purdue basketball has refocused their efforts on securing a point guard. That search came to an end Tuesday as 3-star PG Carsen Edwards out of Humble, Texas announced the decision to take his talents to West Lafayette.
Edwards is a bit on the small side at 6'0", 175-pounds, but he has a complete all-around game that's mature beyond his years. He was named the All-Greater Houston boys basketball player of the year by the Houston Chronicle for his junior season at Atoscocita high school, where he averaged 23 points, 2.3 assists and 2 steals per game. 247Sports Composite ranks him 212th in the country, 42nd at PG and 16th in the state of Texas. He received offers from Baylor, SMU, Houston, Virginia Tech, Vanderbilt, Saint Louis, and Tulsa before settling on Purdue.
"I liked the campus, and it seemed like it has a good fan-base vibe," he said after an official visit in June. Edwards, who wants to study engineering in college, continued "Its facilities are really nice. Everybody's real close and tight-knit. The basketball coaches are close. The engineering department, they know them well."
Some of the strengths in Edwards' game are his quickness, ball-handling, and shooting. He's very athletic, changes speeds effectively, and has great body control driving to the lane. He's an above average shooter who could really develop into a deadly deep threat in college and he's also a willing passer that keeps his head up at all times. He's able to play off the ball as well because he's such a capable scorer. Edwards doesn't mind playing against and defending bigger guards either. One of the best parts of his game is how hard he plays, always with a chip on his shoulder.
There are no glaring holes in his game. The only obvious limitation is size, which could be difficult when playing against bigger lineups. However, he has a strong build and solid frame for his size, so it's not like he needs to get a lot stronger to play in college. And at 6'0" there have been plenty of guards who've proven they can get it done at any level. The main thing for him to work on is to continue to grow into the role of leader and becoming a true point guard that keeps his teammates involved, which is something his coaches say he's shown he wants to do.
Edwards is the first commitment in Matt Painter's 2016 recruiting class and may turn out to be a sleeper in this class. He'll be able to contribute to the team as both a scorer and a facilitator immediately and will give the Boilermakers some much-needed stability and depth at guard.