Kyler Edwards has to be more of a factor on offense
No player on this year’s team is a greater lightning rod than junior Kyler Edwards. Certainly, his uneven play has warranted much of the criticism that he’s received from fans.
But by now, we should come to accept the fact that the guard is going to get around 30 minutes of action per night because Chris Beard trusts him in other facets of the game such as defense and ball handling. Still, while he might bring some nuanced benefits to the table, things that aren’t as obvious to us common fans as they are to a coaching staff, there is no question that he has to be better tonight than he was the first time he played OU.
In Norman, Edwards played 31:16 in a game that saw him come off the bench. However, he mustered just 3 points on 1-4 shooting. Tonight, given how hot OU has been offensively (they’ve hit or exceeded the 75-point mark in four of their last five games), Edwards has to give his team more than that on the scoreboard.
Again, I’m no longer expecting Edwards to be a double-digit scorer on a nightly basis. What I want to see instead is an aggressive mindset where he doesn’t pass up open jumpers and all I ask is that he hits a few timely shots when they present themselves.
But what we hope doesn’t change from Edward’s first meeting with OU is the work he did in other aspects of the game. To his credit, he didn’t let his offensive woes impact the rest of his performance that night as he had a team-high 9 rebounds while also dishing out three assists.
Perhaps that’s what we must focus on when evaluating Edwards’ overall impact. Rather than just looking at him as a shooter and scorer as we entered this season expecting him to be, we should understand that he brings more to the table.
He’s fourth on the team in rebounds (5 per game), tops in assists (2.6), and he’s Beard’s second-best perimeter on-ball defender behind Kevin McCullar. So look to see what he does tonight in all aspects of the game and not just in scoring. But still, he needs to put up more than three points if he’s going to be on the floor for 30 minutes or more.