Does Edelin Have What It Takes For The Next Level?

Billy Edelin has come a long way in the last few years. He's endured two suspensions and tons of criticism and whispers behind his back. Yet, through the first 13 games of his sophomore campaign, Edelin is playing like the star many thought he would become. With the comparisons to Mark Jackson and Andre Miller floating around, it seems logical to ask if Edelin has what it takes to make it to the NBA.<br><br>

"I think so," said assistant coach Mike Hopkins. "He needs to work at it, but he will get there."

Work is nothing new to Edelin. For one and a half seasons all Edelin could do was work at his game. He waited for his turn. Now he's making the most if it and then some.

"It's been a wild ride," Edelin said. "I'm glad the other stuff is behind me and my game can be focused on."

Edelin's game has indeed taken center stage. He is averaging 14.8 points, 5.6 assists, 4.5 rebounds, and possessing a 2.9/1 assist to turnover ratio. Recently he was awarded Co-BIG EAST Player of the Week honors for his performance against Canisius and Michigan State, while averaging 25 points, eight assists, and seven rebounds. His big guard play and array of floaters coupled with his uncanny passing ability has drawn comparisons to NBA point guards Jackson and Miller.

Hopkins said the comparisons are natural and accurate, while Edelin had a different view.

"Well, I'd like their paycheck," he said. "I don't really compare my game to anybody's, but those are some solid guys with good passing skills and are good in the paint, so I'll take it."

So is Edelin NBA material? Not yet, but soon.

"Good players know what they need to work on," Edelin said. "I know my J needs work and I work on it."

Edelin and Hopkins work on Edelin's jumpshot everyday after practice, a jump shot he rarely uses but has shown is more than adequate.

"I don't need my jumper," Edelin said. "First they need to get me out of the lane and then I'll hit the jumper to keep defenses honest."

It's clear confidence is one thing Edelin does not need work on.

When asked how he was able to score 26 points against Chris Thomas and Notre Dame last season, Edelin said, "I don't look at it like I scored against Chris Thomas. I feel like I can play against anyone and if I take enough shots I'm going to score some points."

That's not to say Edelin doesn't enjoy scoring on certain guys. One basket in particular he loves talking about came in his senior season at Oak Hill Academy against St. Vincent-St. Mary, the No. 1 and No. 3 teams in the country respectively.

"There was like 15 seconds left," Edelin said. "I drove past him and just floated it up and it ended up being the game-winner and gave him his only loss in his last two seasons in high school."

"Him" is current NBA rookie Lebron James.

So he's shown he can play against the NBA's elite and against the best in college basketball. Yet, he and most critics believe he's not ready right now.

As it stands, Hakim Warrick is the only Orangemen with immediate NBA expectations.

"Hak is one of those athletic guys that scouts love," Edelin said. "He's a junior and whatever he does I wish him the best. I just have to keep working to join him in the league one day."

For now, Edelin will continue testing himself and working on his game in the BIG EAST. He battles Chris Thomas and Andre Barrett of Seton Hall on the road next week, two of the top point guards in the country.

"It's fun playing against those guys because they force you to play harder," Edelin said. "But, like I said, no matter who is on the other side I'm always confident."

While Orangemen fans will have Edelin for another two years, it seems almost certain Edelin is on his way to the NBA.

"You never know," said Hopkins. "In five years you may be comparing the next great point guard to Billy Edelin."

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