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Texas Tech basketball: Kyler Edwards to leave program after all – Wreck ’em Red

In 1982, The Clash released an all-time hit Should I Stay or Should I go?  Perhaps that’s what Kyler Edwards has been listening to on repeat for the last eight days because it seems he’s had a difficult time figuring out his future.  But now we know with certainty that the guard from Arlington, TX will not return to the Texas Tech basketball program.

This marks the second time that Edwards has put his name in the transfer portal since news of Chris Beard’s departure to the Texas Longhorns broke.  Now, is confirming that Edwards will leave the program once and for all after saying just a few days ago that he planned to return to Lubbock next season.

“Kyler Edwards put his name in the portal when the season ended wanting to explore his options,” new head coach Mark Adams said. “Kyler has contacted me and informed me he has decided to leave Texas Tech. His contributions to Texas Tech the last three years are invaluable. I’m thankful for all Kyler has done here and proud we helped him grow as a player and as a person. We will miss him and wish him success in all he does going forward. Thank you, Kyler.”

This makes the first official departure from the Texas Tech basketball program since the coaching transition.  However, freshman forward Micah Peavy is also in the Portal at this time.

As for Edwards, his decision means that no other member of the regular rotation from the 2019 Final Four team remains with the program.  Forward Avery Benson is still on the roster but that year, as a freshman, he did not earn meaningful playing time in Tech’s run to the National Title Game.

It was a nice career as a Red Raider for Edwards, who was part of the 2018 signing class.  He was a three-star prospect and the No. 4 player in Texas when he picked Tech over SMU, Boise State, Butler and Georgetown.

Over his career, he averaged 8.7 points and 3.5 rebounds per game while shooting 38.4% from beyond the arc.  That included 10.1 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 2.8 assists per game this past season.

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Of course, no one will ever forget his 12 points on 4 of 5 shooting in the 2019 championship game, his greatest moment as a Red Raider given the stage.  He also contributed four 20-point games in his career with three coming against Big 12 opponents.

However, far too often, Edwards was unable to help carry his team past the better teams on the schedule.  For instance, this year, he was shut out by Kansas in Lubbock and had just three points against the Jayhawks in Lubbock, both games resulting in Red Raider losses.

Additionally, he had just five points in an OT loss at Oklahoma State, seven in a loss to Baylor in Lubbock, and five in an early-season defeat at the hands of Houston.  What’s more, in 2019-20, he scored in single digits in six of Tech’s eight games against ranked teams.

When Edwards struggled, it was usually because his 3-point shot let him down.  After shooting 44.9% from deep as a freshman, his percentage crashed to just 32.2% as a sophomore.  This year, he rebounded in that department to shoot 41.8%.

But often, he was unable to hit the big shots when his team needed them.  For instance, in Tech’s NCAA Tournament loss to Arkansas this year, he was just 4-11 overall from the field and 1-5 from beyond the arc.

In fact, this year, in Tech’s 11 losses, Edwards was just 32-91 (35.1%) overall from the floor.  And from 3-point range, he was no better going just 18-51 (35.2%).

That’s not to suggest that Edwards didn’t do other things that mattered.  Over his time as a Red Raider, he developed into one of the better on-ball defenders on the roster and he was third on this year’s team in rebounding at 4.8 per game.

But, in the end, Edwards will be remembered differently depending on which Texas Tech basketball fan one is speaking to.  On one hand, he was a solid contributor to some of the most exciting times this program has ever known and he stepped up big on the game’s grandest stage.  But he also never became the alpha male that many expected him to be as even when he was given an opportunity to start as a sophomore and junior, he never quite stepped through the door and turned into a star.

Still, you can’t deny what Edwards was a part of as a Red Raider.  And his departure leaves a significant hole for Mark Adams and Co. to fill this offseason.