Before getting to today's Open Thread, we have our second player to profile in the countdown to basketball. With that comes an announcement. The basketball coverage here at the site will expand exponentially this year. In addition to Andy's fantastic coverage of all things recruiting, the famous Boilermaker Heroes of John Wadas, Keith Rhodes, and Jordan Walker will be offering a student's perspective on the games. We got this all covered this winter as Purdue goes for the 2011 National title.
Travis Carroll - Fr.
Hometown: Danville, IN (Danville HS)
6'9" 230 pounds
2010: Projection: Key reserve at center
Today's player is one that I have long seen as the key to that title. Ever since Travis Carroll announced his intention to come to Purdue I have waited for the 2010-11 season. I thought he would be the key because he was a true center that would finally give us more low post depth behind JaJuan Johnson. He can be JJ's apprentice and a major Run, Rebound, Defend guy. All I am hoping for is that he can give us 5-10 quality minutes per night down low. That has been the missing element of this team for some time. With an improved Patrick Bade and Sandi Marcius also competing, that depth is now there.
I only got more excited when I saw Travis play back in February. I was assigned to cover Danville's game against North Central, thus allowing me a look at Terone Johnson as well. While TJ impressed me the most (he will be in the rotation this year. Bank it), Carroll played very well against the competition. Danville, as a 3A school, did not often play the best this state has to offer. In the game against North Central they were facing the most athletic team they would see all year. The Panthers regularly have very good Division I talent. Carroll had a solid 25 point, nine rebound night, showing that he should be good enough to come in and immediately be the dirty work type of guy we need down low.
I talked to Travis after that game and he was very down to earth. He already had a good rapport with Terone Jonhson, his future teammate. They discussed similar goals before each game: winning a state championship. TJ achieved this goal, but Carroll came up short in the semi-state against Cody Zeller and Washington. The losses to Washington and North Central were the only two losses all season.
I think playing at a smaller school will benefit Carroll as he prepares for Purdue. He was the major focus of virtually every team he faced the last three seasons. Teams geared their game plans to shut him down, but that won't be the case initially at this level. He can hang back and be a Little Things guy we have sorely needed in the post. We don't need him to be a 15 and 10 guy every night, but a couple of putbacks and a solid presence on the glass would be a major boost.
Most of what I think about Carroll can be found in the piece I wrote on that game back in February. He's also a fun guy to follow on Twitter, if you're so inclined.