Since the COVID-19 shutdown of the NCAA Tournament in March, the Texas Tech basketball roster has changed dramatically.
The addition of players such as Mac McClung and Marcus Santos-Silva have made most people’s expectations (mine included), soar through the roof for this team. One could argue this roster has more depth and talent than the one that reached Monday night in Minneapolis, but that is a topic for another time. Out of all guys on this roster, the one that intrigues me the most is junior guard Kyler Edwards.
With respectable averages at 11/4/3 a game in the 2019-2020 season, I believe he will need to do that, if not more, for this team to truly succeed like we want them to. Edwards is the lone player remaining from the national championship squad, where he experienced all of that madness as a true freshman.
That season, he had facilitators Matt Mooney and Jarrett Culver who were the primary ball handlers. In that situation, he was able to catch & shoot and cut to the basket much more often. This past year, he and Davide Moretti were in those roles, taking him out of the situations he had better success scoring in.
While he scored more often in 2019-2020, his percentages took a large dip from the year before. As a freshman, he shot 41.3% from the field and 44.9% from 3-point range, while he shot 40.4% from the field and 32.2% from 3-point range as a sophomore.
This year, he is going to have other ball handlers around that will allow him to get back in the spot he thrived in. While he will still be one of the primary point guards, it will be much more by committee as opposed to last year. Guys like Nimari Burnett and Mac McClung (praying that his waiver will be approved) will make life much less hectic for Edwards, allowing him more freedom to score the ball at will. If Edwards can bump his point average from 11 to 14+, this would easily be one of the toughest teams to matchup with in the country.
I know that there will be some road blocks with basically a brand new roster, but it is hard to disregard the amount of talent that will be surrounding #0 this year. While I do not necessarily believe the play of Edwards can “break” our season, he can definitely take us to that next level if his game can take the next step.
When you add the inclusions of everyone else (oh, and Chris Beard of course) there is no reason to believe that we can’t be taking our second trip to the Final Four this year.