I love everything about Ace Baldwin Jr.’s game. He’s a physical defender, who’s opportunistic, averaging a career-high 3.0 steals a game, and is a tough, veteran decision-maker on the offensive end. There’s just one big problem: he can’t shoot.
At VCU, Baldwin was never an excellent shooter, outside of the 2021-22 season when he shot 41.3% from three on 3.1 attempts per game. In the other three seasons, he preferred to be a distributor, and now that he’s settling in with his backcourt mate Kanye Clary, he’s getting back to that type of game.
Clary is averaging 18.6 points a game, the fourth most in the Big Ten, so Baldwin can take fewer shots. Against Purdue on Sunday, he finished with 13 assists, despite shooting 2-8 from the field on only scoring seven points.
Baldwin is the type of point guard who excels in a late-season tournament setting. Last year between the Atlantic 10 tournament and March Madness, he averaged 13.3 points and 5.5 assists on 48.7% shooting from the field and 71.4% from the free throw line.
If Penn State can scratch and claw its way to a decent seed in the Big Ten tournament, then Baldwin will give the Nittany Lions a chance to make some noise, he’ll just need to shoot the ball well enough in the regular season to get them there.