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Vince Edwards is a versatile combo forward, who quietly contributes in many ways. A four-year starter at Purdue, he posted career highs this season with 14.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game. He also averaged 2.9 assists per game, while shooting 47.6 percent from the field, 39.8 percent from beyond the arc, and 83.3 percent from the free-throw line. He finished his Purdue career ranked 15th all-time in points (1,638), eighth in rebounds (779), 11th in 3-pointers (173), and 11th in assists (403), and he subsequently became just the third collegiate player in the last 25 years to record 1,600 points, 750 rebounds, 400 assists and 150 three-pointers for a career.
Edwards was generally not a focal point in Purdue’s 3-guard offense, which mainly played inside out through mammoth center Isaac Haas. Technically, Edwards was a power forward in this scheme, but his game more resembles that of a wing. At Purdue, he had to do a lot of the dirty work, setting screens and grabbing rebounds, and he did his job well despite being an undersized four.
Edwards is a heady player, who usually doesn’t try to do too much and takes what the defense gives him. He is a good, but not great, athlete. He will not dazzle with a fancy handle, blinding speed or unlimited shooting range, but he finds all sorts of ways to get his offense, including cuts to the basket, catch-and-shoot opportunities off screens, drives off isolation plays, and spot-up 3s. He also can score on both ends of the pick and roll, as either a handler or a screener, and he can post up.
Most of Edwards’ touches this season came in either spot-up or isolation situations. He fared better doing the former, averaging 1.25 points per possession (94th percentile) due to his solid three-point shooting. I would not classify Edwards as an elite long-range shooter – he will throw up bricks at times – but his numbers from the 3-point line were fantastic this season (1.28 per possession, 92nd percentile), as were his catch-and-shoot numbers in the half court (1.33 points per possession, 92nd percentile). I believe to some extent that all of Purdue’s outside shooters benefited from the inside-out scheme, which often drew opposing defenders’ attention to the paint.
Edwards is also a threat to score off the bounce. He is mainly an opportunistic driver – with the right matchup, he can beat his man off the dribble. He prefers to go all the way to the rim or to use running floaters in the lane rather than pull up for jumpers. He can finish at the basket with either hand, and can finish above the rim if given the opportunity. He prefers driving right, but is basically equally effective going either direction. He is clearly better shooting runners than he is pulling up for jumpers. This past season in the half court, he averaged 1.27 points per possession (98th percentile) with runners, but averaged only .40 points per possession (6th percentile) on jumpers off the dribble.
Twelve percent of Edwards’ touches came in post-up situations this past season, but this is not a strong part of his game. When posting up, he usually drives after facing up or uses a drop step to get to the basket. He can also back down, throw in a little shimmy, and score with a right-hand jump hook. From further away, he has a tricky midrange hop shot that he knocks down occasionally.
Edwards is effective as a cutter and a screener. He moves well without the ball and takes advantage of defenders who are a half step behind on the catch. Shooting off screens this past season, he averaged 1.02 points per possession (67th percentile), and on cuts to the basket, he average 1.44 points per possession (91st percentile). And he was exceptional on his limited pick-and-pop opportunities, knocking down 64 percent of his shots and averaging 1.54 points per possession (99th percentile).
Edwards is a solid playmaker, too. This past season, he averaged 1.27 points-plus-assists (86th percentile). When executing the pick and roll, including passes, he produced 1.03 points per possession (87% percentile), and turned the ball over less than six percent of the time.
The overall numbers say that Edwards is an excellent defender. He allowed just .68 points per possession (92nd percentile), and limited opposing players to 31% shooting from the field. While I believe that he is a good defender, I also believe that those numbers are a bit misleading. There is no doubt that he gives a good effort, and he is very good on the defensive boards (5.4 per game this season). He is not, however, an exceptional athlete, which limits what he can do on the defensive end of the floor. He has trouble stopping quicker players off the dribble. He sometimes struggles to deal with screens, on and off the ball. His steals (.5) and blocks (.6) per game are both below average for a top prospect. And he doesn’t have the size or the shot-blocking skills to consistently defend bigger power forwards.
I was surprised that Edwards did not receive an invitation the NBA Combine. Perhaps NBA teams already have a good read on him because he was a starter at Purdue for four years, and he was very consistent over that span. Or perhaps they watched him at the wrong time, such as during the 2018 Big Ten Tournament, when he was slowed by a lingering ankle injury. Or perhaps they are concerned that he is not a great athlete, and are unsure where he will fit at the next level. He’s definitely a tweener, who is not exceptional in any one area, but his versatility and overall productivity is difficult to ignore. Not receiving an invite to the combine is an indication that he will not be drafted, but I believe there is still a fair chance that he will slip into the end of the second round. At a minimum, a player who can produce in so many ways, as Edwards can, is bound to find his way onto a roster, eventually.
Sources, Credits, and Acknowledgements: Stats used in our scouting reports mainly come from Synergy Sports and RealGM, and occasionally from Hoop-Math.com. The photos were courtesy of the Purdue Athletic Department.