It's no secret that Basil Smotherman's commitment is a huge pickup for Matt Painter. Calling it "huge" might be an under-statement considering the fact that he's listed as high as #26 (per ESPN) and he joining fellow 2013 Kendall Stephens (#47) and Bryson Scott (#41). [In full disclosure, I am going by ESPN's ranking only because they are the kindest. In reality it's all a crap-shoot from 75-25..]
Basil Smotherman Jr. has the tools to be a very, very good player for Purdue. He's athletic, quick, and is shooting over 50% to boot. This might be a cliché now, but his 6'9" inch wingspan gives him a great weapon on both s ides of the floor. Like Kendall Stephens, he may grow another inch or two. At 6'5" and a solid build, he's an adequate size for the 3. Add a few more inches, and he becomes a deadlier weapon. But his physical attributes can make him a great defender.
As is true with nearly everyone his age, he still needs to work on his aggressiveness and his game around the basket. But in my opinion, he's physically developed enough that it's not so much a physical deficiency, but a matter of having that physical mentality down low to be a force in the paint. Don't get me wrong, he'll need to gain weight over the next two years. Bu he's just a sophomore; he still has a lot of developing to do.
One of the more comforting aspects of Smotherman's early commitment and future development is the fact that his dad, Basil Smotherman Sr., is a high school basketball coach himself. His body of work includes coaching many high-major bound athletes that played for North Central High School...(Think many All-Stars and Mr. Bball's). Basil's dad knows what it takes to be successful at the next level and knows what steps are needed to get there. Man, I love recruiting coaches sons - you never have to worry about plateauing or growing complacent.
Looking at the commitment from a high level, the signing of Scott, Stephens, and Smotherman Jr. puts Matt Painter in a pretty cozy position. With no available room in the current class of 2012, he's not in any rush to bring on an additional commitment unless one of his current targets are close to a decision. Thankfully, most of his current targets are taking their time through the process. This allows for him to get a better feel for scholarship situation after the season and if everyone and he should be able to avoid any big scholarship problems.
Furthermore, he doesn't have to sign an additional member to that class. He is obviously on the market for a big man, so he can sit on the scholarship and see if any late bloomers burst on the scene in the 2012 class and if not, continue pursuing a big in the class of 2013.
The beauty of the whole situation is the attractiveness of the available scholarship(s). Sure the class of 2007 will be long gone by then, but whoever takes up that scholarship will be playing along side a team that is hard not to be excited about.
Assuming the scholarship goes to a 2013 player, a perspective recruit will start their career with a solid nucleus featuring seniors Terone Johnson, Sandi Marcius, Travis Carroll, as well as juniors Anthony Johnson, Donnie Hale, and Jacob Lawson. They will also be joined by 5 incoming four-star commitments and a solid 3 star commitment in the classes of 2012 and 2013. With such a strong senior core and a team loaded with talent for the future, Matt Painter can sell being National Championship contention out of the gates and through their entire career and not look like a lunatic.
Am I being overly optimistic? Maybe. But the way that Purdue's future rosters are taking shape, Matt Painter should not, under any circumstances, settle for the final scholarship of 2013. If Foster wants to sigh, sure bring him on, but if he waits that allows Painter to sell his vision to other potential bigs as good, if not better, than Foster.
Having a chance to trump the class of 2007 (from a ranking perspective) and play in the newly upgraded Mackey Arena should sell itself.
Maybe you don't share my rosey outlook, but if you drink as much Purdue kool-aid as I have this week, you will too.