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Vincent Edwards showing signs of alpha potential for Purdue

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Tom Campbell

World University Games coverage: Argentina | UAE | Czech Republic | Romania

This is the Vincent Edwards Purdue's going to need this season, the aggressive, authoritative presence he's been to date in the World University Games.

Purdue will face better competition than it's seen through Games play and pre-event competition, but there have been signs Edwards is playing that sort of role.

"I have to look to be aggressive a little bit," he said. "It helps others and helps me, as well."

There have been flashes of not only significant productivity but efficiency, too.

Earlier in the week, Edwards went for 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting against the Czech Republic. Earlier against United Arab Emirates, he was 6-of-9 for 17 points.

In an exhibition against Norway, Edwards made all but one of his nine shots in scoring 21 points.

The second of Purdue's two exhibitions against Canada in the U.S. stood out, too. Edwards was pivotal in rallying Purdue back from a late deficit to force overtime, which his team then dominated.

He finished that outing with 25 points on 11-of-17 shooting. The night before, he wasn't as efficient, but did come up with crucial baskets down the stretch, with the game on the line, as Purdue won the first of two highly competitive meetings against the Canadians.

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Edwards figures to be a player Purdue leans on heavily this season, a role he suggested he's equipped for during his strong play in the NCAA Tournament against Vermont and Iowa State last season.

Because he can shoot from the perimeter, drive, post up and create shots for himself off the dribble, he should be one of the most versatile scorers in the Big Ten this season, but beyond that, a player who can find productivity when it's not necessarily set up for him.

"Vince is just being Vince, to be honest with you," assistant coach Greg Gary said following the Czech Republic game. "It's kind of amazing that when you try to call his number (and run a play for him), he's just as good when you don't.

"He just knows how to play. He can shoot it, and pass it, and he's always around the ball. And he's going to get rebounds, so he's really effective. You don't have to call his number so much for him to be productive."

When Edwards has been at his best in his Purdue career, he's fed off his offensive rebounding, a likely must for him as a senior.

"Of course I want to be that guy coaches can rely on when something needs to happen … or someone needs to say something," Edwards said. "Whatever needs to be done, I'll try to help the team — taking a charge, getting a steal, trying to rotate, handing my teammate a water bottle, whatever it might be."

Beyond productivity, Purdue will ask its older players for leadership. Multiple indications have pointed to Edwards embracing that role in particular this summer.

"Vince has been very positive and very vocal," Gary said.

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