The end of the season was quite the representation of the Purdue basketball season as a whole. Purdue received their 5th commitment for the 2014 basketball class with Point Guard P.J. Thompson. After the exciting news, Purdue lost a close game against Ohio State (63-61) to get knocked out of the Big Ten Tournament and end the season.At the end of that week, the final nail in the terrible coffin, junior-to-be Point Guard Ronnie Johnson decided he was transferring from the team. Now don’t get me wrong, I wasn’t ecstatic with Ronnie’s play as a PG, but what I was ecstatic about was the double digit points he averaged and the experience he brought to the team. That is now out the window, and it’s time to take an early peak into next season.
Purdue will be painfully young next year. A.J. Hammons is currently mulling the idea of jumping into the NBA; early reports have him as a high 2nd round pick. If AJH leaves for the NBA, that leaves 9 scholarship players, only one of whom, Rapheal Davis, is a junior. Luckily, Matt Painter is bringing in the third-ranked recruiting class in the Big Ten, and his third sequential fourth-ranked or higher in the Big Ten. The only problem is that the seat is getting quite hot for Painter right now, and he NEEDS results next season.
|Davis looks to be emerging as a much needed leader|
With Ronnie and Simpson gone, that opens up two scholarships, and possibly three if AJH leaves. If that’s the case, Painter is going to have to test the JUCO/5th year scene to land some bodies. At least getting another big guy to rotate with Haas, another true 4 and either a pure shooter or a PG. There are a lot of things up in the air right now. When AJH makes his decision, the Boilers will solidify some of their needs. Of course with Eron Harris and Trevor Thompson (who Purdue is in the top 3 for) both transferring, and both wanting to come home to play ball.
There is a lot of talent on the team next year and a lot of players who like to play as a team. With Ronnie gone, I think Bryson Scott will have to game come to him faster because he will get more than 10-15 minutes a game. With that being said, EVERYONE has to play like an experienced team if they want to get to the NCAA tourney again. I think they have the parts to do just that. The guys just have to buy into tough defense and playing together. If that happens, it will all come together and move forward.