I know a lot of people were stung by the Gary Harris decision and that has caused some pessimism and animosity to rear its ugly head these last few hours. Instead of being upset let’s move forward, because we have a lot to be excited about.
First, the guys that just signed LOI’s, yesterday, will end up being a top 25 class. This group brings a lot of good attributes to our team, especially size. I know people question the work ethics of both Hammons and Simpson, but I think they both realize that Painter can help them become complete players and they are ready to work. I’ve never seen Davis play, but everything I’ve read and heard about him has me extremely excited. He seems like a smart player that buys into our system, and loves defense. I think he’s extremely underrated, maybe because he chose Purdue so early, and a pure scorer. I’m also thrilled to get RJ to take over the point guard duties, especially since his brother is on the team. Pair them with the 3 guys Painter has in the 2013 class and they are by far the best 7 players Painter has gotten over a 2 year period. These guys are a very solid core and probably the best group Purdue has seen in quite a while.
I know a lot of people are upset, but I don’t understand why we are questioning Painter’s recruiting skills. He is still extremely young, in the coaching world, and I think he is learning a lot about the recruiting process. Going up against MSU right now is no small task, especially since Izzo has been around so long and won a lot. Izzo had the Flintstones early in his career and he took them to a championship; which of course upped his profile. Painter had a similar group in the ‘Baby Boilers’, but a transfer and 2 injuries derailed that group, and unfortunately not making a deep run probably set recruiting back. If we would have made one Final Four during the last 2 years, I bet we get at least one of Dawson or Harris. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, but I’m very confident in that changing, within the next few years. And once that happens I think Painter will be ready to capitalize.
Lastly I think the new facilities at Mackey, the new recruiting budget, and the coaches increased salaries will make a big difference moving forward. I don’t think a lot of us understood the difficulties Painter faced on the recruiting front until Paintergate this spring. Painter has now been given a more competitive recruiting budget and I’m sure we will see this pay dividends down the road.
For now let’s be excited that we got a great coach, who will probably be around a long time, a very good group of new recruits and a team that will most likely be in contention for the BigTen title. Boiler Up!