WARNING: (What follows is what we call satire, and did not actually happen in any way, shape, and form, but it is still fun to write about)
Tomorrow is the Judgment Day for one Derek Willis, a former Purdue commitment that backed out so he could make a more informed decision. He is now rumored to be down to Purdue and Kentucky, and a 230 comment (and counting) pseudo-Open Thread has erupted in a quality Fan Post by OldBoiler52.
If Willis ends up at Kentucky we will once again be the No. 2 choice. This has happened with Branden Dawson, Chasson Randle, Gary Harris, and several others in the best. Some would argue this makes Coach Painter a bad recruiter. I think it calls more to the deep recesses of his past.
You see, coach Painter had a secret other life. When his Purdue playing career ended with a 74-68 loss to Rhode Island in the first round of the 1993 NCAA Tournament, Matt Painter couldn't stomach the premature end to his career. He swore then and there that Purdue would never lose its first round NCAA again, and it hasn't happened since.
He also couldn't accept the end of his college career either, so he went back to his number two college choice. Back in 1994 there was a secret rival collegiate athletic association, and they were not bound by pesky things like eligibility limits and recruiting violations. It was called the NCSA. One of their schools always wanted Matt Painter, so he went to play for Coast University after his time at Purdue, where he tore it up.
Painter's most memorable game came against highly regarded Western University, where he dropped dimes like a bank teller in an upset of the Dolphins on their home floor. His final stats from that game have been lost to history, but it is safe to assume that he thrived in Coast's up-tempo offense. I do know that he led the league that year in assists at an astounding 15 per game. He was also the only player in the NCSA that played a lick of defense, leading to 12 points per game on six steals and breakaway layups.
On the surface, Painter was never paid, but as the documentary of that athletic association showed, paying players ridiculous sums of money were commonplace for Coast. Matt Painter received a new tractor for his farm outside Muncie, Indiana, a new house for his mom, a brand new Lexus, and $25,000 in cash.
Painter went on to lead Coast to an NCSA championship that season after Western was found guilty of being completely transparent in trying to hide their recruiting violations. Painter was named the Most Outstanding Player of the We're Pretty Sure This Is The Last Four that wrapped up April Anxiety.
Painter's handles on the court were the stuff of legend in the NCSA, but what he could not handle was the guilt. after winning the MOP award coach Painter became a local hero, and the fame went to his head. He could regularly be seen driving around campus in his Lexus blasting Run DMC at top volume while hosting parties at his campus apartment stocked with Cristal, a hot tub, and a bevy of beautiful young co-eds.
In the darkest nights, however, he knew his life was lacking. When he shaved his hair into a high-top fade and got a Muncie-4-Eva tattoo in May of 1994 he was on the edge of disaster. When he met a saintly woman named Jeri during his time at Coast she turned his destructive ways around into a life of piety. Jeri showed him the error of his ways. Had Jeri not turned him back to the purity of defensive-minded basketball we wouldn't have the coach we love today. Instead, some Purdue fans would have rap CDs of his eventual album Matty Ice - White As Sugar as a bizarre footnote in our music collections.
Is Painter's guilt from his time at Coast the true reason we're ending up No. 2 in so many recruiting battles? Did Painter see the excess he was given for his fifth collegiate year and vow to never violate his homegrown principles over guilt at receiving a tractor, a house, and cash? We may never know.