GoldandBlack - Carsen Edwards trying to make the most of NBA audition
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Carsen Edwards trying to make the most of NBA audition

CHICAGO — Carsen Edwards didn’t expect to travel to Chicago this week for the NBA’s annual draft combine, held inside the Quest Multiplex on the west side of the city. An invitation was sent his way late Monday while he was in Boston to complete a workout for Brad Stevens’ team.

Edwards just completed his sophomore season at Purdue, leading the 30-7 Boilermakers with 18.5 points, 3.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game. He shot 45.8 percent from the field and 40.6 percent from beyond the arc.

“I want people to know I’m a good guy,” Edwards said Thursday afternoon, often beginning responses with the respectful ‘Yes sir.’

“I’m focused and I love this game and I’m focused on putting everything into it. I hope they get that, as well as watching me, that I’m willing to learn and I’m focused.”

He has already completed four workouts: Oklahoma City, Houston, San Antonio, and Boston. He has three more on the docket beginning Monday in Brooklyn, followed by Detroit and Atlanta. The Pacers do not have a workout with him scheduled, and aren’t expected to host workouts before he must decide, but they’ve seen him play in person dozens of times and West Lafayette isn’t 90 minutes from downtown Indianapolis.

What was apparent from Edwards was his gratefulness to go through the process. With just two years of college play behind him, NBA teams are curious in gathering more intel, meeting with players, and learning about what makes them tick. In an age where video of a player can be cued up anywhere in the world with an internet connection, the annual draft combine is about measurable testing and visiting with teams.

“It can be stressful but at the same time, it could be a lot worse,” he said. “This is a blessing to have the opportunity to be here and even be considered in this.”

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The one obvious knock on Edwards is something he cannot change — his height. He stands 6-foot flat in shoes and weighs 195.6 pounds. But there have been several recent examples of undersized guards finding a way in the league, which offers him hope.

Like the 5-foot-9 Isaiah Thomas (Lakers), 6-foot Fred VanVleet (Raptors), and 6-foot Yogi Ferrell (Mavericks), who played four years at rival Indiana.

“It also gives me a little hope to know that there’s guys in the league that can do it at my height,” he said, brushing it off. “Honestly, I didn’t think I was that short until everyone else called me short. I just go out and play, I don’t even worry about height.”

Edwards has until May 30 to decide whether to take his name out of the draft and return to West Lafayette for his junior campaign. Until then, however, he’s attacking it with the right mindset. He’s staying present.

“I’m going to give it everything I have. I’m trying to get to the league.”

To keep his name in for the 2018 NBA Draft, Edwards suggested that he would need to know that he would be taken early in the second round – at the latest. But he also hinted that he’s very open — and sounded eager — to return to Purdue once he receives valuable feedback from NBA decision makers.

“I know they won’t give me a guarantee or anything like that, but just knowing, if not first then early second round. If I get the feedback of things I need to work on, that’s going to be just as helpful to go back to school and do those things.”

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