The Boiling Point: 5 things to watch for during the mens basketball season.
The day is finally here. My favorite sports, college basketball, is finally starting and Purdue’s first mens basketball game is tonight. Yeah, its an exhibition, but still, a lot of people have been looking forward to it especially with Purdue football having its ups and downs. Now, for 5 things to watch for during the season.
1) Return of Robbie Hummel- Hummel may have the worse luck from injury standpoint of all Purdue athletes. He’s had a fractured back, then tore his ACL at Minnesota, then last year at the first practice of the year tore his ACL again. You don’t want to make light of these injuries, but it probably helps Purdue immensely this year. Couldn’t imagine losing him along with JaJuan Johnson and E’twaun Moore, though you could say we might have a final four or national title without the injuries, but no guarantees. He is going to bring valuable leadership to this team and be counted on for scoring. It’s time for Robbie to finally be selfish and take his shots.
2)Where Does the Scoring Come From?– JJ and E’twuan accounted for around 50% of Purdue’s scoring last year. Purdue is going to need a bunch of players to step up since one or two are not going to make that up. If Robbie is able to return to his old form as well as be more aggressive and selfish with shooting, he should be able to cancel out one of JJ and E’twaun’s scoring. The other is going to come from a combination of people. Supposedly Kelsey Barlow and Lewis Jackson have improved their outside shooting immensely. Last year defenses could pretty much leave them wide open on the perimeter. Coach Matt Painter said Ryne Smith has improved his outside shooting as well, if that’s possible. Going to guess he is more consistent. DJ Byrd should be sliding back to his natural position of a small forward which should help out and Terone Johnson looks as though he could make a big jump this year as long as his knee is healthy. One other player to look for that could add some scoring is redshirt freshman Anthony Johnson. Shooting is is biggest strength and if he gets the defensive side down, look for him to get some good minutes.
3) New Comers- Purdue adds athletic forwards Donnie Hale and Jacob Lawson this year. I hate to call Anthony Johnson a new comer since he was on the team last year, but I’m going to include him since he hasn’t played outside the two exhibitions last year. It looks as though one of Hale and Lawson will redshirt this year. Unless Hale is terrible in the exhibitions my money is on it being Lawson. Hale has already voluntarily gone to prep-school for a year when JJ and E’twuan decided to come back and he’s probably more ready for a Big Ten season. Personally, I don’t know if I want either to redshirt. Lawson brings athleticism to this team that Purdue hasn’t seen in awhile. Supposedly at an intersquad scrimmage he won every tip no matter who it was against. Minutes could be hard to come by though if Sandi Marcius has improved as much as reported. As I mentioned above Anthony Johnson’s biggest strength is his shooting. During his redshirt year he has clearly bulked up and sitting next to Robbie every game can only help. A lot of people forget that AJ was actually the highest rated recruit of his class before he hurt his ankle in high school.
4) Matt Painter Coach of the Year Campaign- This looks to be a perfect year for coach Painter to wrap up another COY award. That’s different than Tom Crean’s COY award, Clapper of the Year. Numerous publications, outside of the IU Star’s Terry Hutchens, have picked Purdue to finish 5th in the conference. Its hard to argue that considering what Purdue lost and the unknowns they have. Looking at Purdue’s schedule though, it sets up perfectly for a top 3 finish. The Boilers are fortunate enough to only face Ohio State(away) and Wisconsin(home) once. Ohio State was probably going to be a loss whether home or away so getting Wisconsin at home is huge. In addition to that Purdue doesn’t have what you would consider a tough stretch. There are a couple times where they play what are supposed to be good teams back to back, but nothing crazy. Its mostly a tough game then a game against a lower level team. Another COY could just fall into Painter’s lap.
5) Paint Crew Split- For the first time in Purdue history, or at least since I’ve been alive, Purdue’s student section, The Paint Crew, will be split up. Also, in another genius move by the athletic department, there will be very few ever on TV anymore, especially when the useless second tunnel is built next year. Why would you want to market your atmosphere anyways, right? Click here to see how they were before and how they are split up now. Anyways, this does provide the best student section in the country the ability to get on opponents on both sides of the floor. Look for some creative chants as well going back and forth. I’m sure the “Whose house, Our house” chant will be included. Can’t wait for another great year from them.
What are the things you’ll be looking for this season or are just excited to see in general? Let us know below.