The Slickness of Terrence Edwards | The Prospect Overview
James Madison's Terrence Edwards has put together some mesmerizing game tape! A full scouting report of the 6'6" wing. PLUS: Drake vs. Indiana State in the Mid-Major Game of the Week and Quick Hits!
Feature: The Slickness of Terrence Edwards
UFC 101 took place on August 8th, 2009. The co-main-event was a battle between two fighters looking to bounce back from disappointing performances, but for different reasons.
On one hand, there was Forrest Griffin. He became a star after appearing on the first season of The Ultimate Fighter reality show. In the show’s finale, he defeated Stephan Bonner in a bloody war, which is still considered one of the most entertaining fights in mixed martial arts history. From there, Griffin proved to be more than a novelty act who won a reality show. He upset Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, considered one of the best light heavyweights in the world at the time, and earned himself a shot at Quinton “Rampage” Jackson’s divisional title. Griffin dominated the fight, picking apart Jackson with leg kicks. He was rewarded a unanimous decision and the UFC Light Heavyweight Championship. However, his reign would be short-lived. “Suga” Rashad Evans would score a TKO victory over Griffin in his first title defense. Griffin had been knocked off the top of the mountain, and now it was time to try and scale back up.
Anderson Silva was looking to put a different type of demon behind him. He was the reigning UFC Middleweight Champion. In his last bout, he took on Thales Leites, a skilled jiu-jitsu practitioner. The problem for Leites was that Silva was also a skilled jiu-jitsu practitioner. Silva was also faster, more athletic, and in a different world when it came to his polish as a striker. On paper, Silva should have mowed through Leites. Instead, viewers were subjected to one of the most boring fights in UFC history. Rather than disposing of Leites in short order, Silva toyed with him. It was like watching a world-class fighter picking apart a journeyman sparring partner at 40% speed for five rounds. This was the second straight fight where it felt like Silva was playing a video game on easy mode with no sense of urgency, and fans were growing tired of it.
So, Silva took the Forrest Griffin fight, moving up from the 185-pound division to the 205-pound weight class for a special non-title bout. Silva had moved up in weight for a fight the year prior, but it was against James Irvin, a one-dimensional striker who was a middle-of-the-pack competitor at best. In Griffin, he’d be fighting a bigger opponent who was one of the best in the world. Silva would be giving up height and size to the 6’3” former champion, who cut a good deal of weight to make the 205-pound limit. Conversely, Silva was a lanky 6’1”.
When the two met in the middle of the octagon, the size advantage was clear. Sure, they weighed the same 24 hours before, but these were two different types of dudes. Griffin was taller with thicker calves, a wider back, and bigger biceps. When the fight started, it didn’t matter.
Was Forrest Griffin bigger? Yes. Was he stronger? Probably. But Anderson Silva was simply too damn slick. And that was enough to get him a knockout within the first five minutes of the fight.
James Madison’s Terrence Edwards Jr. is in his fourth college season. The 6’6” wing has never been given an immense amount of hype. 247Sports labeled him as a three-star recruit, and he didn’t have a single high-major offer coming out of Tucker High School in Georgia. During his first seasons for the Dukes, Edwards was a solid contributor. But during the 2022-2023 season, he started to take off. His play earned him the Sun Belt Sixth Man of the Year Award, and he was also a Second Team All-Conference selection. Things were trending upward, and he would have a big chance to prove himself to start this current season. The first matchup on the Dukes’ schedule was a battle against Michigan State.
At the time, Michigan State was the fourth-ranked team in the country. James Madison would be fighting an uphill battle, but so would Edwards in particular. While he’d proven himself to be a slithery, effective scorer, now he would need to do it as his team’s unquestioned go-to star. In this game, he’d have to do it not only against a good opponent but also against a team with size and toughness. As I noted at the time, Edwards is on the skinny side, and bigger dudes like AJ Hoggard, Malik Hall, and Coen Carr would provide an insight into how he handles physicality.
Edwards passed the test with flying colors. The Dukes knocked off the Spartans 79-76. They tried to contain Edwards, but he was too damn slick. He hit shots, but he also knifed through the lane to get to his spots. His opponents had to foul him in an effort to stifle his burst. While he was only 5-13 from the field, he ended up with 24 points, thanks to his 12-13 performance at the charity stripe.
In the time since that game, some weight has been sapped out of that performance. Michigan State wasn’t who they were projected to be, currently sitting at 9-6. While James Madison would reel off thirteen wins in a row after the opener, doubters still scoffed at their level of opposition. Their next-best opponent was Quad-Two’s Southern Illinois. A recent loss to Southern Miss has further diminished their aura. Saying that Terrence Edwards has suffered in the time since the Michigan State win would be dramatic. But to me, it feels as if he hasn’t received proper credit, particularly as a draft prospect. I get it—mid-major guy, maybe doesn’t have the body, and a weak schedule. But I’m telling you, this guy is slick.
I'm actually going to start on the defensive side of the ball, which is the less exciting part of Edwards’s game—if he provides value at the NBA level, it will mostly come on the other end of the court. But I think Edwards still has enough on this end of the floor to hang. Sometimes, a luxury we get as evaluators with guys who develop more slowly is that we’ve gotten to see them in a lesser role where they can devote more focus and energy on defense. During Edwards’s sophomore campaign when he played 20.3 MPG, he posted a 2.8 STL% and 1.7 BLK%, both good numbers for a wing on the two/three side of the spectrum. This leads me to believe he can be capable at the next level.
His quickness goes a long way on this side of the ball. When small guards throw fast twitch, herky-jerky moves at Edwards, his response time is immediate, and it helps him remain in front of his man. At his best, he can use his length to take away passing angles from opposing ballhandlers. He’s good with his hands and knows how to make guys cough it up. Edwards also has the springs to get off the floor, contest on the perimeter, and turn opponents away at the rim. Off the ball, he’s a visible communicator. When it’s time to make rotations, he knows where to go, and he gets his feet under him if players try to attack his closeouts. His steal and block rates this season aren’t inspiring (1.4 STL%, 1.6 BLK%), especially at the mid-major level, but the athletic tools and basketball instincts are there.
Two primary issues have reared their head. The first is that Edwards can come out of his stance too easily. There are times where the hip flexibility comes and goes. It’s tough to know how much of that is his high offensive workload and him not burning the candle at both ends and how much of that is a real issue. The more pressing issue is his frame. It’s easy to move Edwards right now, given his 190-pound frame. Stronger players like Louisiana’s Kobe Julien have been able to knock him around and get where they want. At the NBA level, he’s going to be at a strength disadvantage a lot of the time. He’ll need to add some bulk to compete with the powerful wings and forwards that the association will have to offer on a nightly basis.
Let’s talk about the offense. When Terrence Edwards gets going, he’s one of the most exciting players in college hoops. Edwards has the speed, slither, and creativity to get deep into the paint on a consistent basis. His ball handling stands out, as he’s comfortable putting it on the deck with either hand. He has a plethora of different dribble moves to get his defender off balance and has real shake with the ball. The way he oscillates speeds makes him tough to telegraph and forces miscommunication in ball screen settings. His sudden directional changes and ability to get skinny in traffic make him hard to contain. The obvious response would be to get physical with him, but he’s so shifty that it’s tough to even do that. Oftentimes, it just leads to teams fouling him, which is why he has a stellar .440 free throw rate. Sending him to the stripe is perilous, too, because he makes 79.3% of his free throws.
The other issue that other teams face is that they can’t really play off Edwards, either. His 36.4% from deep on the year can be deceiving, even if the volume isn’t that high (6.0 attempts per 100 possessions). He’s made 41.7% of his halfcourt catch-and-shoot threes this season, and he made 39.2% of them last year, per Synergy. Leaving him open is a dangerous predicament. Furthermore, Edwards has displayed some tantalizing shot-making chops from long-range, too. His footwork helps to generate space, and his lift prevents closeouts from fazing his release. When needed, he can dig into his bag and bail his team out at the end of the shot clock with a nasty step back.
Edwards can eat, but he’s also capable of cooking things up for his teammates. When he’s in the process of creating offense, he does a solid job of keeping his eyes up. He’s found a lot of success hitting the roll man out of ball screens when the low man has a defensive lap. When he gets all the way to the cup, he can use his acrobatic contortion skills and length to wrap the ball around defenders to an open big man. He’s also able to find shooters when they spot up. Edwards has a good understanding of the gravity his scoring creates, and he can leverage that to make easy passes inside. His 15.7 AST% and 3.0 APG make it clear that he’s not just looking to get buckets for himself, but rather, looking to get the best shot for his team.
Steak vs. Sizzle
Anderson Silva was slick. But what made him one of the greatest fights in history was how he paired that slickness with the power to finish the job, even if his frame indicated that he might not have the weight to do so. Terrence Edwards is undoubtedly slick, but he still hasn’t produced the most efficient results, especially at the rim.
While Edwards gets to the basket a lot, he’s struggled to finish inside, converting only 42.4% of his halfcourt shots there, per Synergy. There have been guys who stuck after going below the 50% mark in college, such as Josh Green, Moses Moody, and Gary Trent Jr, but it’s still uncommon for non-point guards. Part of it is the frame issue noted earlier, as defenders can bump him off his angle, and he hasn’t shown the touch to compensate yet. But Edwards is also extremely right-hand dominant, and his lack of a left hand has caused issues on the interior. While he makes the occasional nice inside-hand finish, this lack of ambidexterity also leads to his shot getting blocked and him taking worse angles at the cup. His 47.4 eFG% isn’t disqualifying for someone who projects as an NBA two, but I’d like to see a better clip for a mid-major prospect. For example, Brandin Podziemski was at 57.1 eFG%, Ben Sheppard was at 56.3 eFG%, and Jalen Williams was at 56.2 eFG%.
Edwards also finds himself sped up as a playmaker at times. His 3.0 APG is an exciting number, but it becomes less so when contrasted with his 2.6 TOV. He’s prone to dribbling himself into trouble, and he doesn’t always properly anticipate where help defenders are going to be coming from. This results in him getting swarmed by multiple defenders, picking up his dribble at inopportune times, and forcing passes through too small of windows.
The Good News
In the scouting space, some problems are better to have than others. For example, if Edwards was 5’6” instead of 6’6”, it would likely be curtains for his NBA chances. The good news for him, though, is that the issues he’s dealing with are both fairly common and generally on the more correctable end of the spectrum. Playing at a mid-major, he may not have the same type of dietary and fitness resources at his disposal as some of his high-major peers. An NBA strength and condition program could go a long way for him. Simply by getting stronger, Edwards would be in a better position to compete defensively, and he’d also hold up better against contact at the cup. Of the three poor finishers I noted early (Green, Moody, and Trent), only Trent is finishing at a below-average clip this season, per Synergy. As far as the turnover issues go, one refrain I’ve heard a lot from people in the NBA realm is that teams do a good job of helping players make better reads, so long as the player isn’t out of their depth from a feel standpoint. And I think Edwards is far from that given both the exciting and consistent nature of his passing flashes.
I wanted to write about Terrence Edwards for a few reasons. The first is that I think he’s really fun to watch, and selfishly, that makes my work here a lot more enjoyable. But also, I haven’t seen his name pop up much in the draft space, and I think he’s a player who has a real shot. It’s still tricky. The market for “slender but slick scoring wing who isn’t quite a point guard” is dicey. The easiest way to understand that is by looking at how many of them exist on the margins—guys like AJ Lawson, Brandon Boston, and Jerome Robinson have faced a hard time finding consistent NBA minutes. Edwards will need to get stronger, he’ll have to become a better finisher, and he’ll need to compete on defense more consistently.
But that doesn’t mean it’s curtains for Edwards. There’s a path here. Players like Lonnie Walker and Aaron Wiggins have carved out NBA rotation spots. I’m not saying that it’s probable, but players within this mold exist. Edwards’ ability to knife through traffic, hit tough shots, knock down catch-and-shoot threes, and display moments of passing brilliance should raise eyebrows. Plus, he’s proven capable on the defensive end when he doesn’t have to carry a heavy offensive burden. For those reasons, I’ve had him in my Top 100 throughout this draft cycle. He’s a back-end guy, but I think he’s better than a lot of other players. Whether he enters the draft this year or uses his extra year of eligibility, he warrants consideration in that two-way or Exhibit-10 range. I wouldn’t write him off as a “this year” guy, though. If he tests the waters and has a strong pre-draft process, it’s easy to see GMs thinking, “damn, that guy is slick.”
Mid-Major Game of the Week
This week’s Mid-Major Game of the Week was a battle between the Drake Bulldogs and the Indiana State Sycamores. It was competitive well into the second half, but Drake pulled away for a comfortable 89-78 victory.
Tucker DeVries led all scorers with 29 points. I still haven’t sold a single share of his stock. Drake’s 6’7” junior may be struggling from deep this year (33.9%), but I’m not sweating the numbers. The volume is there, as he’s taking 12.3 per 100 possessions. But what really puts him over the top for me is the variety. He hits the type of tough threes that shooters have to make in the NBA, and he did so in this game, where he went 6-10 from beyond the arc. Association range triples? Check. Pull up off a ball screen? Check. Hostage dribble, then converted into a step back? Check. There’s not a shot on earth he can’t make, and in a reduced role at the next level, I think he’ll click.
DeVries also continued to show off his inside scoring and passing. He made nice reads going downhill, posting four assists to only one turnover. He did a great job of leveraging his gravity to get inside. In the second half, he used a pump fake to get in the paint, then displayed impressive body control to convert an and-1 layup. That shot moved the lead to 13 points, and it really felt like the nail in the Sycamores’ coffin. His defensive effort wasn’t quite as standout as it was in some of their other matchups this season, but it wasn’t as bad as it was early in the year either. He’s a savvy dribble-pass-shoot wing who can get it done at every level, and I think there’s enough size and intellect for him to hang on defense in the NBA. He’ll be in my Top 60 (and he’s not 60) until he leaves school.
Robbie Avila is the other big name here. I recently covered the 6’10” sophomore in my unique prospects column. This was an up-and-down outing for him. A ground-bound big man with exceptional skill, Avila put his passing prowess on display. He finished with 17 points and went 4-9 from deep. That shooting opened up his closeout attacking and playmaking in a big way. He found open shooters, and even if he only ended up with three assists, he had himself a great night on that front. Avila also used his scoring to stop the bleeding during some of Drake’s hot streaks, making him a calming presence for the Sycamores.
The defensive end was rough, though. Drake’s Darnell Brodie feasted on him, going 7-11 and ending the night with 15 points. As I mentioned in that unique prospects piece, Avila isn’t as powerful as someone like Luka Garza was in college. The 6’10”, 275-pound Brodie recognized that, and he got everything he wanted inside. Avila has largely been knocked for his unorthodox movement patterns and poor mobility, but the way Brodie outclassed him on the block shows that he needs to get stronger, too.
To Brodie’s credit, he displayed some nice polish as an interior scorer, and he’s more than just a bulldozer. He also made some great passes, ending the night with three assists himself. Given that he’s a sixth-year player who has never been a great defender, Brodie isn’t likely to land on NBA radars. But his skill and size should make him an overseas target. Additionally, I’ve always thought he comes across as a great teammate, both on film and when I saw them in person. When energy and intensity are needed, he’ll bring it, but he also appears to have a good knack for knowing how to keep guys loose.
Sycamores wing Ryan Conwell grabs my attention every time I watch them play. He posted 17 points on 5-11 shooting, including 3-8 from behind the arc. The sophomore is an impressive shot maker from long range and hit some tough ones on Wednesday night. At 6’4” and 194 pounds, Conwell is in that tricky tweener spot where he’s not a lead guard, but not quite a wing. He’s averaging 2.3 APG to 2.0 TOV, so there’s definitely something for him to work with as a playmaker. With two years of eligibility remaining, time is on his side.
Next week’s Mid-Major Game of the Week will be Weber State vs. Eastern Washington! Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter/X to vote in future MMGOTW polls!
-It felt like Dalton Knecht’s buzz went quiet for a moment after his injury, but now, he’s surging back. The 6’6” graduate wing (who I covered during 2023’s No Stone Unturned series, and no, I will not shut up about that) dropped 28 points on Mississippi State and 36 points on Georgia this past week. Sure, he’s older, but the late-bloomer is an efficient three-level scorer in college basketball’s toughest conference. I still love Knecht as a first-round pick as a plug-and-play wing shooter who can finish above the rim.
-We’ve got to talk about Mantas Rubstavicius. The 6’6” New Zealand Breakers wing has done a phenomenal job and should be getting more attention. He’s scoring 9.6 PPG on tidy 56.6/44.4/82.1 splits. That three-point percentage is stellar, but he’s been good at the rim as well. He also has the necessary connective feel for a role player and can spray it out to the perimeter if he doesn’t like his look at the cup. On defense, he’s long and imposing guarding the ball. He’s up to the task physically and is always throwing his body on opponents. When he has to rotate, he covers ground well and changes directions well. Because he missed the NBL Blitz, he didn’t benefit from the early hype that many other players competing in Australia this year were blessed with. But that doesn’t mean he can’t play, and if you haven’t checked in on him yet, you should do so.
-Emanuel Miller is a guy I need to move up my board. The 6’7” TCU grad brings a blend of basketball intelligence and the willingness to simply junk things up on the court. His best work on offense is done around the basket, where he’s a smart cutter and impactful rebounder. He’s got some wiggle and can use misdirection to get inside. Miller is also a smart passer who can make the snappy decisions NBA teams love to see on tape. His 2.6-to-1.1 assist-to-turnover ratio shows that he doesn’t make many mistakes, either. The two things in his way are the shooting question and measurables. He’s shot 38.4% from deep over the past two years, but only taken 1.8 per game over that stretch. At G League Elite Camp, he only had a 6’9” wingspan and an 8’5” standing reach. Those two issues can make for a tricky predicament, as he plays more like a four, but has measurables typically seen for guys between the two and three spot. Add in his age, and there are real limiting factors for his ceiling. But ultimately, I’d hate to bet against his work rate, productivity, and feel.
-Iowa’s Payton Sandfort has quietly had a fantastic season. The 6’7” junior has connected on 40% of his threes this season while launching 13.5 of them per 100 possessions. That’s real-deal sharpshooter stuff. Add in a lightning-quick release and NBA range, and there’s a lot to like. Plus, he does other things, too! His DREB% of 21.0 and AST% of 17.0 are both strong marks for a wing prospect. He makes a variety of passes and can thread needles. The defense will always be a question for him, but his awareness and balance while closing out are solid. I’d be very interested in him in the second round.
-I’ve always been a Spencer Jones guy. The 6’7”, 225-pound Stanford graduate remains firmly in the second-round mix. As I noted in my feature on him prior to the start of the season, he profiles extremely well as a 3-and-D prospect from a statistical standpoint. He’s doing well in those areas again, hitting 42.9% of his threes while posting a 2.4 STL% and 2.6 BLK%. But when I interviewed him this past off-season, he noted that he wanted to show more as a passer this season. He’s doing that! His 2.0 APG and 13.9 AST% are both career highs, and the improvement is evident on film. He’s doing a much better job of keeping his head up and making some sharp whips when teams chase him off the three-point line. That added dimensionality shouldn’t go overlooked.
-Jamison Battle is in the midst of an outstanding bounce-back year at Ohio State. The 6’7” grad has been knocking down triples at an obscene clip, hitting 46.8% of his 6.8 threes per game. With a strong body and good size, that should warrant some real attention. Remember—the older prospects who’ve managed to stick are taller guys who can shoot. He still needs to add dimensionality, as he’s not much of a playmaker on either end of the floor. But he’s a name to monitor given the combination of his size and shooting output against good competition.
-A deep-cut guard that I like quite a bit—Deyton Albury. The 6’2” guard spent two years at Chipola College, a JuCo in Florida, and is now at Queens (NC). He’s got a strong body and awesome athletic traits. He’s fast end-to-end and has put a few opponents on posters this season. On defense, he can use that speed to nab steals and meet opponents at the rim. Albury has stuffed the stat sheet, posting 16.6 PPG, 5.4 RPG, 4.1 APG, 1.5 SPG, and 0.5 BPG. The junior is scoring efficiently too, with 50.0/37.0/74.2 splits. While his three-point volume from deep is low (1.5 per game), the shot looks good, and he can pull up from NBA range. His biggest issue is turnovers (3.4 per game). They generally result from poor anticipation (players who can get into his handle or jump a passing lane). The guy he reminds me of most is Trenton Massner, who posted similar stats at Western Illinois and also had high-major physical gifts. Massner parlayed that into a Summer League spot with the Miami Heat. That’s not a super high-end outcome, but it does mean that teams should probably keep an eye on Albury as he heads into his final college season next year. If he makes a leap next offseason, there may be even more to him.