With the Purdue football team coming off two awful losses and heading into the Horseshoe against OSU this weekend, it might be safe to assume that their season will continue to spiral out of control.
As angry, confused or depressed as many Boilers are about this notion, I think there are two obvious ways for people to cope with the ongoing, hellish death-spiral of the Hope administration.
One is alcohol. Lots and lots of very strong, potent, high proof alcohol. We're talking alcohol that may cause memory loss with heavy use, so you know it's doing the job to help you forget.
The other obvious--and much less physically damaging--way to cope with the horrid state of Purdue football is to look ahead to basketball season.
Unlike their brethren over in Ross-Ade, there is a lot to hope for from Purdue basketball this season and in the few years beyond. In particular, Coach Matt Painter has brought in four very talented, highly-recruited true freshman, all of whom shape up to play major roles in possibly bringing the basketball team to unfamiliar and unprecedented heights in the near future.
With 23 days left until the start of what looks like a very exciting basketball season in West Lafayette, H&R examines one of these incoming guys in the Basketball Countdown--#23 freshman Forward Jay Simpson.
Jay Simpson - Fr.
Hometown: Champaign, IL (La Lumiere HS)
6'9", 268 pounds
2012 projection: Contributor at Forward
Just like the other incoming freshman on our 2012-2013 basketball team, Simpson had a stellar high school career and was very highly recruited. One of four four-star recruits for Purdue this season, Jay was ranked as the No. 98 overall prospect in the nation and the No. 20 Forward by Scout.com. He was also rated as the No. 5 overall player in Illinois by ESPN.com and was nominated to be a McDonald's All-American. To summarize, he's a stud.
Originally, Simpson played high school ball at his local Champaign Central High. As a junior in 2011-2012, Jay averaged 12.3 points and 6.9 rebounds per game for the Maroons.
As a senior last year, Jay left Champaign to play for La Lumiere High in La Porte, Indiana. While there, he helped lead the Lakers to a 25-3 overall record and a No. 7 final national ranking, averaging 8.6 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game.
Needless to say, Jay has some high expectations ahead of him at Purdue. And just like his fellow true freshmen, many people are wondering how big of an impact he can make right away. But, while Ronnie Johnson and A.J. Hammons could very easily earn starting spots as freshman, and even Raphael Davis seems to be working his way into significant minutes, Jay might have to bide his time at first before he can make a name for himself as a Boilermaker.
Recently, multiple reports from sources close to the basketball team claim that Coach Matt Painter might redshirt Simpson for the 2012-2013 season. While I hate this idea because I think Simpson has the talent and size to make immediate contributions at Forward, it remains a possibility, albeit a small possibility.
Instead, what will likely happen for Jay is that he remains eligible as a true freshman season. But, it doesn't look like it will be as easy for #23 to earn minutes and starts as his fellow true freshmen. Ronnie Johnson is the prototypical Point Guard. A.J. Hammons was born to play the 5. And Raphael Davis is starting to look more and more like a perfect fit to play the 2.
That's not to say that Simpson doesn't measure up with the others. Quite the contrary. He has every bit the size, talent and skill set to play the 4. But, as a true freshman, Jay will be challenged with fighting his elder teammates for playing time at what might be the basketball's deepest positions--the 3 and 4 Forward spots. Among his competitors are Sandi Marcius, Donnie Hale, Jacob Lawson and Travis Carroll. Quite the crowd if you ask me!
So, while Simpson might not make as large and immediate impact as the other freshman this year, definitely look out for #23 to make his mark this season and shine at Forward in the future. Who knows? Maybe he will impress CMP this season and earn more playing time than expected in his first year. I'm always a sucker for surprises, anyways.
If you're on Twitter and you haven't done so already, go give Jay a follow at his Twitter handle: @JaySimpson_23.