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Can Carsen Edwards take the next step for Purdue?

The explosive guard will look to build off of a nice freshman season.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional Practice Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

At times last season Carsen Edwards was exactly what Purdue needed on the floor. As an explosive player who can get his own shot virtually any time he wants to, Purdue needed him on the floor at times in late game situations such as the Maryland game. Edwards has an unlimited supply of confidence and that can bode well for him in certain situations.

As much as the confidence helps him, however, it can also be his biggest downfall.

Too often last season Edwards made plays where you’d watch and think, “Oh, that’s just a freshman mistake.” The problem arises when those mistakes are happening in February and March, when most people will agree that freshmen aren’t freshmen anymore in terms of experience if they’ve seen consistent playing time.

Edwards would often push the ball in transition when there was nothing there, going 1-on-3 or 2-on-4 with every intention of getting his own shot up. To a certain extent, teams need that guy who is always looking for his shot at all times.

A natural, instinctual scorer is what Carsen Edwards is and that’s what he came to Purdue as. Whether or not he can grow and become not only a more efficient scorer, but become more than a predominately offensively minded player will go a long way to determining how potent Purdue will be next year.

Efficiency was an issue for Edwards last season as he finished second to last on the team in effective FG% at 45.5%, as well as second to last in true shooting percentage at 48.6%. Just in terms of base shooting percentage, he finished 41.4% from inside the three and 34% from beyond.

It seems that it’s less of an issue of him not being a good shooter and more the types of shots he was taking. A lot of his shots this season seemed to be forced shots instead of coming in the flow of the offense. Any offensive player is much better when they’re in rhythm, and it seemed a lot of his shots came off times when he got the ball in his hands and you knew he was going to shoot it regardless of what else happened.

Edwards is extremely quick and athletic and sometimes that can lead to him playing faster than is needed. He gets ahead of himself sometimes and it leads directly to taking a bad shot.

Defensively, Edwards was a good addition to the perimeter defense for Purdue with his athleticism leading to him being able to wreak havoc and make plays to lead to some easy offense. Certainly, he isn’t in a tier of lockdown defensive players in the conference, but he makes plays and led the Boilermakers in steal rate last season at 2.5%.

Perhaps now with a year under his belt and another summer to work with the team and the coaching staff, Edwards can take the next big step in his game in learning when and where to make his moves offensively and maintain a flow and rhythm to the game. He’s the first player Purdue has had who can really create their own shot on the perimeter since E’Twaun Moore or Robbie Hummel were in West Lafayette, and that aspect of a team can cause of a lot of problems for the opposing unit if that talent is harnessed.