Purdue basketball fans should be very excited for the upcoming basketball season.
After landing five recruits for all five positions on the court, the Boilers landed fourth out of 12 on the top recruiting classes in the Big Ten. They ranked better than Big Ten powers Wisconsin and Michigan State.
There are three reasons why Purdue has a high chance at improving from the basement of the Big Ten to top 7 in the conference.
1. Returning players and the star power of incoming freshman
Purdue returns almost the entire playing roster from last year except Terone and Ronnie Johnson. The team has valuable playing experience from the past two seasons to make a true impact in the Big Ten this year.
With AJ Hammons returning for his junior year he brings a large presence down low. As Purdue’s anchor he plays as a big tall defender and is an efficient rebounder for the Boilers.
Kendall Stephens, Bryson Scott, and Rapheal Davis all played a role for the Boilermakers last year and know what to expect when playing in the Big Ten.
Stephens is Purdue’s sharp shooter and did so very well last year.
Scott switched in and out at the point and shooting guard position playing manage basketball. Assume he will play a larger role this year coming off the bench
Davis started to emerge as scorer later in the year helping Purdue out in that area. The real issue to worry about are the incoming freshman that will play this year.
PJ Thompson is the youngest of the Boilers that should have a positive effect on the team. He should be leading the team up and down the court at the point position. This type of pressure should be no problem as he carried his high school team the past two years.
Vince Edwards is another freshman that could start for the Boilermakers at the strong forward position. Another big body should help the Boilers defensively.
Lastly Issac Haas could make a bigger splash this year than people think he will. Coming in at seven foot much like Hammons, he is a big hard body to move down low. He will accent well for the Boilers subbing in for Hammons.
2. The amount of talent other teams lost
Ohio State loses its energy man in Aaron Craft who is quick and aggregating on defense. If the Buckeyes ever needed a jolt of energy, Craft was the guy who changed the game in their favor. His graduation takes that element away.
The Iowa team that had strong promise last year loses their star player Devyn Marble and sixth man Melsan Basabe. Marble takes a large scoring presence away from Iowa’s offense. Basabe was a solid player all around and you can bet this presence will be missed.
Michigan has been hurt the most by notable players leaving. Glenn Robinson III, Nik Stauskas, Mitch McGary, and Jordan Morgan have left for greener pastures or graduation. All players played a large part of Michigan’s success the past two years.
Northwestern loses its best player in Drew Crawford, who led the team in scoring and who was their entire team it seemed like during stretches in last season.
Lastly Indiana loses star player Noah Vonleh to the draft and Will Sheehey to graduation. Vonleh was a highly anticipated recruit, knowing he was going to be one and done. Sheehey, meanwhile, provided double digit scoring figures for the Hoosiers this past year.
With all the star profiles gone off of good programs it evens out the playing field for the Boilermakers to make a statement in Big Ten play.
3. Departure of setback players
Purdue has lost three players from the 2013-2014 campaign. Two guards, Terone Johnson and Ronnie Johnson, and center Travis Carroll.
Terone and Ronnie Johnson were the team’s two point guards and did an average job the past two seasons leading the team at that position.
Turnovers were a large problem with the Boilermakers last year. Two of the three players that led the team in that category are the Johnson brothers. Terone had a bit more control over younger brother Ronnie. Terone collected 47 turnovers and Ronnie had an astonishing 70 turnovers this past year.
PJ Thompson and Bryson Scott take care of the ball much better and have shown the ability to make the smarter pass.
Unfortunately for Carroll his career was filled with brief playing time. However with his departure opened up a spot for Issac Haas to make his presence known in the Big Ten and for the Boilermakers.
Prediction of how the Big Ten Conference will play out.
- Ohio State
- Michigan State
- Penn State