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VCU’s Ace Baldwin leading all freshmen in assists

VCU’s Ace Baldwin leading all freshmen in assists

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VCU men's basketball game vs. North Carolina A&T

North Carolina A&T's Blake Harris, right, control the ball against VCU's Adrian Baldwin Jr. during the first half of men's basketball game at VCU Siegel Center in Richmond, Virginia, on Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2020.

Out the gate Tuesday against James Madison, Ace Baldwin dropped dimes in a variety of ways.

A deep pass to Bones Hyland in transition for a 3, a shovel pass to Levi Stockard III for a floater, a lob to Hason Ward for a dunk, a pinpoint strike to a cutting Hyland for an easy finish at the basket. All within the game’s first 6:22.

Baldwin, VCU’s freshman starting point guard, had six assists to zero turnovers in the first half alone.

The 6-foot, 190-pound Baltimore native finished with 10 assists to just two turnovers in 27 minutes of game time, once again demonstrating the court vision and feel that has cemented him as the Rams’ floor general in his first year in Richmond. The 10 assists were the most by a VCU player since Samir Doughty registered 10 in a win over against Saint Joseph’s four seasons ago, on Feb. 14, 2017.

“He is beyond his years with that maturity,” coach Mike Rhoades said of Baldwin last week. “But he also, I think, he's a good complement to the guys we have. He gets guys shots, he gets us into our offense. He can steal the basketball, but really play on the ball, a high-level defense for a freshman.

“And that's helping us, not just win, but it's helping us continue to move forward."

Baldwin is leading all freshmen in the nation in assists. He now has 51 in VCU’s nine games, ahead of Eastern Kentucky’s Wendell Green Jr. (47 assists in nine games) and Posh Alexander of St. John’s (42 in 10 games).

The 51 assists is tied for 14th in the nation overall, regardless of class.

Baldwin has turned the ball over just 14 times in 230 minutes on the floor, so he carries an assist-to-turnover ratio of 3.64. That ranks 32nd nationally.

His game has been described as a “throwback” style, as a point guard who is a true distributor. And he continues to show that in a standout freshman campaign.

“I get my teammates involved first, before I want to score,” Baldwin said earlier this month. “Because I'm really unselfish. And people tell me I should be more aggressive, but that's really not my game. Like I can score. But I really score when I have to. Like it's no rush into that.”

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