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Wednesday, November 9, 2011

2011-12 BIG Basketball Preview: Purdue

Coach: Matt Painter - 138-64 (.683)
Lost: F JaJuan Johnson, G E’Twuan Moore
This was the last time Robbie Hummel stepped foot on a court in a
NCAA game.  Purdue fans are ready to put this image behind them
and hope Robbie can lead this young team back to a BIG championship.
Returning:  F Robbie Hummel (RS Sr), PG Lewis Jackson (Sr), G Kelsay Barlow (Jr), F DJ Byrd (Jr), G Ryne Smith (Sr), G Terone Johnson (So), F/C Travis Carroll (So), F/C Sandi Marcius (RS So), G John Hart (RS Jr),
New faces:  F Donnie Hale, PF Jacob Lawson, G Anthony Johnson (Redshirt)

Preview: Each of the last two seasons Boilermaker fans believed not reaching the Final Four would be considered a disappointment. We all know what happened.  Now Hummel is healthy (presumably) but without fellow classmen JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore.  Perhaps the most fundamentally sound player in the conference, Hummel is able to score from anywhere on the floor, is a strong rebounder, excellent passer, and a solid defender.  He will need to transform his game from facilitator to scorer in order for the offense to be successful, no small task for an unselfish player.  Also returning is waterbug point guard Lewis Jackson.  LewJack is grease lighting at getting to the rim but his inconsistent outside shot allows defenses to sag and clog up the middle. His intense on-ball defense and improved free throw shooting make him an asset to have on the floor.  Fellow guard Ryne Smith hit 44% of his threes last year and will need to duplicate that success again to keep defenses honest.  Kelsay Barlow and DJ Byrd are excellent role players capable of guarding the 1-4 positions while scoring just enough.  Without JaJuan Johnson a quartet of players will be looked upon to make up for his lost production. Travis Carroll and Donnie Hale are the more gifted offensive players while Sandi Marcius and Jacob Lawson (if he doesn’t redshirt) can cause nightmares on defense.  There will likely be a lot of mixing and matching throughout the season to maximize matchups.  But the team will be looking most anxiously at guards Terone and Anthony Johnson to be scorers. Terone struggled with his shot last year but showed he can slash to the basket.  Anthony can fill it up but will need to show his defense is ready to play for Painter.  It will likely take several games for these players to gel and find their roles on the court - and with Painter’s track record there’s little reason to expect they won’t – but once they do, with their bullying defense and methodical motion offense Purdue will be a team no one wants to face. 
Shot in the dark at the starting 5:
PG Lewis Jackson
G Ryne Smith
G Terone Johnson
F Robbie Hummel
F Travis Carroll
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