NEW YORK — Purdue guard Carsen Edwards has made New York City and Madison Square Garden his own personal playground during the 2018 Big Ten Tournament. The sophomore guard from Atascocita, Texas has been, far and above, the best player in the conference’s first foray into bringing their postseason tournament to the world’s largest media market.
A first team All-Big Ten player, he’s undeniably one of the country’s best little men.
Purdue guard Carsen Edwards hails from just outside Houston, and he learned some toughness on the court from his days playing youth football.
He’s not just a good scorer in my opinion, he’s a good player, Purdue coach Matt Painter said after Edwards received his All-Conference accolade. As a coach you owe it to talented guys to get them to be good all-around players He’s got the whole package. We just have to continue to push him to learn from his mistakes and to grow from them, but also stay aggressive.
It doesn’t look like anyone has needed to push Edwards to be aggressive as of late.
After feasting on some less than stellar early season comp, he gave out that work to the University of Arizona on November 24th to the tune of 22 points, making five of his nine shots from deep. As the season reached the homestretch, Edwards took his game to another level.
He destroyed Ohio State’s defense to the tune of 28 points on February 7th. On February 15th, he gave Wisconsin 22. Three days later, he scorched Penn State for 27. In the Boilermakers next game at Illinois, he erupted for 40, then closed out the regular season with 18 against Minnesota.
Carsen Edwards scored career-high 40 points and Dakota Mathias added 18 to help Purdue outlast Illinois in a 93-86 victory on Thursday night.
At MSG, he’s been the MVP thus far of the Big Ten Tournament, dropping 26 against Rutgers in the quarterfinals and 27 against Penn State in Saturday’s semifinals. Against the Nittany Lions, he splashed 67% of his three-point attempts.
But his impact and improvement from last year have come in more chambers than just the scoring column. Last year, he finished with more turnovers than assists. This year in conference games, he’s averaged close to three assists for every turnover.
Purdue, despite losing behemoth Biggie Swanigan from last year’s imposing squad, is one of the best and toughest teams in the country. And what separates them from the pretenders is the fact that they have one player who can always create, and bang, his own shot. From anywhere.
Hes one of those guys and in order to be an elite-level team you have to have one if not two who can go create his own at any given time, Wisconsin coach Greg Gard said of Edwards when the All-Conference teams were announced. He adds another dimension that forces you defensively into some tough situations and obviously has developed into a heck of a player.
Purdue’s Carsen Edwards gets to the rim with a nice spin move and lays it in against Penn State in the second half.
If he continues to improve at the rate that he did from his freshman to sophomore campaigns, Edwards has to easily be on of the favorites for next year’s National Player of the Year awards.
But that’s further down the road.
Because right about now, in Sunday’s Big Ten Tournament championship game, the Boilermakers’ opponent, the Michigan Wolverines, have a definitive problem on their hands. His name is Carsen Edwards. And he gets buckets!