Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Most Improved Player Award: Gavin Edwards
The most improved player award was a no contest this year. Gavin Edwards ran away with it. Maybe Kemba Walker could of challenged him for the award, but Walker’s expectations are astronomical compared to what was expected out of Edwards last season. No one knew what Gavin would be able to contribute to the team. He was used as the backup to Thabeet and Adrian last season and showed promise with a few sensational dunks, but didn’t have much consistent play. No one thought he would do what he did this year and become the best post threat on the team.
He showed a great post-up game with quick hook shots, a dribble drive, and a nice elbow jumper. None of which he had showed in his past three years. He started the year out fantastic from the line, but with every month, his percentage started to dip. With being UConn’s only post threat, he had a ton of pressure on him to produce in the paint and he did. What would his numbers be if there was an outside threat or another big man to draw the defense away from collapsing?
It wasn’t all sunshine for Edwards. He had problems with turnovers. His passes were late at times or just plain lazy, letting defenders read the pass for easy steals and lay ups. But his major issues had to do with his hands. Teams smelled blood when the ball was in his hands. They would swipe at it when he rebounded it and he had a tough time with catching passes.
Even with all those negatives, he had a great season. He wasn’t discouraged when he was coming off the bench, nor did it effect his game. He was even keeled with his play. Though the elbow jumper went south with his free throw shooting, he showed the ability to hit the mid-ranged game, but he did most of his damage with a quick shot in the post and off of offensive boards.
It will be interesting to see if a team takes a chance on Edwards. He did draw some attention to himself with his early play, but by the end of the year his stock began to drop. If he continues to get minutes, he should prove to be a solid big man off the bench like that of a Josh Boone and Hilton Armstrong. He’ll more then likely earn his stripes down in the D-League for awhile before he gets his shot, but if improves at the rate he has, he should eventually make it to the next level.