Rivals Ranks Purdue Hoops No. 29


The Boiling Point: Rivals.com has ranked Purdue No. 29 in its preseason men’s basketball poll.

Rivals.com has released its preseason men’s basketball poll and Purdue comes in at No. 29. The article, written by Tom Dienhart, a Purdue alum and Rivals.com senior writer, fairly accurately states the Boilers’ strengths and weaknesses heading into this season.

"STRENGTHS: Oft-injured senior F Robbie Hummel is back and supposedly healthy after suffering a season-ending knee injury on the first day of practice last season. He’s the quintessential do-it-all player who can rebound, shot, defend and lead. Diminutive PG Lewis Jackson is a quick penetrator who has improved as a distributor and shooter. He’s also a killer on-the-ball defender and rates as one of the Big Ten’s top lead guards. There is depth on the wing. Ryne Smith is one of the shooters in the Big Ten, while rugged D.J. Byrd can run the floor, bang and score in transition. Mercurial Kelsey Barlow is a versatile option and defensive stopper who could be a star if his attitude is right. Insiders think athletic shooter Terone Johnson, a sophomore, may be poised for a breakout season. As usual, count on the Boilermakers to play rugged defense; coach Matt Painter won’t stand for anything less. Speaking of Painter, there are few younger coaches better or hotter. He came oh-so-close to leaving for the Missouri job in the spring. But the Purdue brass stepped up to sweeten his deal and augment his resources. Painter will be around for a while."

"WEAKNESSES: Will Hummel’s knee hold up? In addition to being sidelined last season with a knee injury, Hummel incurred a season-ending knee injury late in the 2009-10 campaign. There is no replacing C Ja’Juan Johnson, the Big Ten Player of the Year and a first-round pick. Purdue may have issues getting steady production in the paint. With Johnson, the Boilermakers were iffy rebounders; without him, crashing the glass could become even more problematic. Johnson also allowed teammates to press foes, lurking in the paint as a shot-blocker deluxe to thwart penetrators. Travis Carroll never will be Johnson, but he needs to at least be solid in the pivot. Athletic Donnie Hale, who arrives from a prep school, is expected to contribute up front. He’d better. As with Johnson, E’Twaun Moore leaves an impossible void to fill. He was one of three Big Ten players with more than 2,000 points, 600 rebounds and 400 assists. Who will pick up his scoring? Smith? Barlow? Jackson?"

"OVERVIEW: If Hummel’s knee holds up, a scorer or two on the wing emerges and there’s decent production in the paint, the Boilermakers could challenge for the Big Ten title. But that’s a lot of ifs. At the least, this is an upper-division team capable of a run to the Sweet 16. There’s plenty of veteran talent and standout coaching by Painter, whose program figures to benefit greatly from the unveiling of a multi-million dollar renovation of Mackey Arena in November that will give the school one of the best facilities in the Big Ten. This is a program in a bit of transition, but it’s still formidable."