Deep in our subconscious, we all knew this is how it was going to end.
We can be thankful that the decision is not going to drag out any longer, and understand that this exemplifies the risk Matt Painter takes when he recruits both young and out of state players.
It doesn't really matter what internal/external factors contributed to Derek Willis's de-commitment since the only thing that matters is that he's not fully committed Purdue University. Anything beyond this is immaterial.
It's crazy enough making such a an important life altering decision a the age of 16, but having to deal with the insanity of being a basketball star between Louisville and Kentucky is something few people have can even remotely understand the pressures that come along with it.
And to be completely honest, I don't blame Calipari or Pitino. Sure I would be happy to see them retire from coaching, but if they can draw kids in using nothing more than indirect interest, there isn't going to be much anyone to can to stop them from jumping ship. This should serve as a clear reminder that the term commitment is a subjective and immeasurable word that seems to have a very different meaning among top-100 recruits. (I highly recommend reading that article; it's a very interesting study.)
He's making a decision that is going to make him happy (hopefully), and it's really not fair for anyone say that he's wrong in doing so.
Although he is diving head first into a nasty game of tug-of-war between Louisville and UK fans and will be a much more personal outcome within Kentucky...
Matt Painter knew the risk he was taking by pursuing a kid who is both young (he's even young for his own class) and in the back yard of some of the fiercest and morally questionable recruiters in the nation. He even discussed his concerns openly with Derek and his father, but clearly he couldn't understand until he experienced it.
We'll mark this down as a teachable moment for all parties involved. It should be interesting to see if Painter continues to pursue any kids in our southern neighbors in the future. I'd imagine this could be the last.
Despite my dark tone, I am as optimistic on future of Purdue's future as I was 2 weeks ago. Despite losing out on such a promising prospect, Purdue's future looks no less promising than it did with Willis on board. There is still an arsenal of talent on deck and lots of exciting potential additions to nervously look forward to.
The current talent within Painter's Class of 2012 is among the best in the nation. Jay Simpson, Ronnie Johnson, Rapheal Davis will each add a different, yet potent element to the team, and there are hopes we can sign one or two more. (Linked are the recent evaluations on all three. Long winded, but they should give you an idea of where they are out.) Matt Painter is still continuing to heavily recruit AJ Hammons and Gary Harris. While neither is vital for future success, each prospect would make a huge (but very different) impact to the team. Purdue is among the leaders for both prospects and will likely be making their commitments sometime in the fall.
In addition to the Class of 2012, Matt Painter's Class of 2013 is equally, if not more, talented. Kendall Stephens, Bryson Scott, and Basil Smotherman will make up another top 10 class without any additions. And with Willis's decommitment, there is very attractive scholarship opening to join an already strong recruiting class and compete for a National Championship.
Much like Rod Blagojevich four years ago, he's sitting on a hot ticket and he's not going to give it to just anyone.
There are still many uncommitted 2013 targets that Matt Painter was recruiting and had to put on pause following Willis's commitment. VJ Beachum and Nolen Berry are the first two that come to mind and I'd suspect Painter continues to both targets. Both would be a battle to get, but they have a previous relationship with Painter and they would fit very well on the team. (We'll dig more into these potential prospects later.) It's also early enough that there are bound to be late bloomers that burst out on the scene between now and next year.
The timing of Willis's recommitment was favorable. Unlike the 2011's Branden Dawson/Chasson Randle strikeouts, Painter has plenty of time to find a quality prospect to fill the opening.
...So to briefly sum up my main points:
1.) Sucks to lose Derek Willis, but that's the way of recruiting...
2.) There are still multiple reasons to be excited about Purdue's future....
3.) IU Sucks
4.) Nib High Football Rules