In the months leading up to the 2017-’18 college basketball season, BTPowerhouse will be releasing a new series called the 'BTPowerhouse 25,' which features the Top 25 players in the Big Ten as voted by members of the staff. All players set to be on Big Ten rosters for next season were eligible during the staff vote with their top selection receiving 25 points and their 25th and final selection receiving 1 point.
Today’s edition will take a look at an offensive dynamo for the Purdue Boilermakers, Carsen Edwards, who checks in at No. 19 in the rankings. Purdue is hopeful that the sophomore can take an even bigger role in the offense this coming season.
‘BTPowerhouse 25’ - #19 Carsen Edwards:
- Eligibility: Sophomore
- Career Totals: 35 games, 813 minutes, 360 points, 91 rebounds, 62 assists
- 2016-17’ averages: 10.3 pts, 2.6 rebs, 1.8 asts, 1.1 stls, 0.1 blks
- Positional Role: Point/Shooting Guard
The Purdue Boilermakers will have a gaping hole to fill in terms of scoring the basketball from a year ago after the loss of Caleb Swanigan, and one of the most reliable candidates to put the ball in the basket on this Purdue team is Carsen Edwards. In order to have a chance to repeat as Big Ten Champions, the Boilermakers will look for the now sophomore to take a huge step in his game from his freshman season.
As I mentioned, Edwards is the type of player you wouldn’t want to play a game of one on one with. He can create a shot at any time and only needs a sliver of space to knife his way to the basket. He’s a natural scorer, and while Matt Painter admittedly had to reel him in at a few points during his freshman year, that’s the type of natural perimeter scorer that Purdue has been starved for for a few years prior to his arrival.
In 23 minutes per game last season, Edwards averaged 10.3 points per game. Stretched out to 40 minutes, his points averages goes up to 17.7 points. While this isn’t a massive average, it’s worth noting given the depth of Purdue offensively last season.
While the offensive end is certainly his forte, he also excels at annoying perimeter players on the defensive end. He’s lightning quick and his deceptive strength allows him to guard players that are much bigger than him on the perimeter. He has the ability to get under an offensive player’s skin, as they say, and hassle him for an entire offensive possession. He averaged 1.1 steals per game as a freshman, and that number should only see an increase with a likely increase in playing time.
Areas for Improvement
For everything that you love about Edwards’ game offensively, there’s also a lot of things about it that need to see a great improvement.
First of all, which will likely come with having a year under his belt, is his pace. He plays the game so fast that it sometimes seems like he gets ahead of himself. As the game around him slows down more and more, his offensive game will likely become more efficient and consistent.
Shooting only 38.2 percent is a concerning stat, but a lot of that is a product of his shot selection. He has the ultimate offensive confidence, which is both a blessing and a curse. He could serve himself and his Purdue teammates well to look to get to the basket more to open things up on the perimeter for himself and his teammates, rather than attempting the 144 three point shots as he did a year ago.
Edwards will almost certainly have the ball in his hands much more often than he did a year ago, and his decision making will become even more important because of it. Last season, Edwards averaged 1.8 turnovers a game while also averaging 1.8 assists per game. Especially as a guard, you’d certainly like to see an assist-turnover ratio that’s much better than 1:1, which could also come as the game slows down more and more.
Edwards will have a lot to say about the overall success of the Purdue team this season. He’ll be one of the main perimeter scoring options for the Boilermakers this season and fans are extremely high on his potential to score the basketball. He certainly has improvements to make, but Matt Painter and his staff have quietly been one of the better player development programs in the conference.
It wouldn’t be a surprise at all to see his points per game average jump up to closer to 16 or 17 a game, and his defensive presence remain a threat to the other team as well. It wouldn’t be a reach to see him perhaps land on a 2nd Team All Big Ten this season, especially if Purdue manages to finish in the Top 4 of the conference again this season.
‘BT Powerhouse 25’ Rankings:
- #26-31 - Players That Just Missed The Cut
- #24 - Juwan Morgan (Indiana Hoosiers)
- #24 - Dakota Mathias (Purdue Boilermakers)
- #23 - Jordan Bohannon (Iowa Hawkeyes)
- #22 - Anthony Cowan (Maryland Terrapins)
- #21 - Reggie Lynch (Minnesota Golden Gophers)
- #20 - Kevin Huerter (Maryland Terrapins)
- #19 - Carsen Edwards (Purdue Boilermakers)
- #18 - to be continued...