Mar 16, 2012; Omaha, NE, USA; The Purdue Boilermakers mascot performs during a game against the St. Mary's Gaels in the second round of the 2012 NCAA men's basketball tournament at the Century Link Center. Mandatory Credit: Peter G. Aiken-US PRESSWIRE
Well, it's become pretty clear to me that there is simply a hell of a lot of talent out there. Purdue has no doubt by now clearly identified it's top targets for the class of 2014. Which it sounds like the clock will be ticking very soon on their first commit. Keita Bates-Diop, Vincent Edwards, and Tyler Wideman appear to be the three closest to ending the recruiting process.
There have been a couple other offers cast out there as well. Paul Turner still has a scholarship offer standing. Jabari Craig who I spoke about on twitter a couple weeks ago has an offer as well. I did spot him this past weekend but he never got a chance to play.
As far as prospects that the Purdue staff watched this weekend other than the three mentioned above. They paid a great deal of attention to all of the Eric Gordon All-Star squad playing at the Adidas Invitational in Indianapolis. One prospect that really caught me off guard with how much he's improved just since the spring was Ryan Welage. A 6'8 skilled forward from the 2015 class with some nifty post moves and a pretty nice mid-range game. He went up against De'Ron Davis of the Colorado Hawks who just drew an Indiana offer. Davis is considered one of the top 2016 prospects nationally. Welage matched him well, hit a pull up three, crossed over well, and really took it hard inside. He's really a kid that seems to be coming around in his development. Definitely a kid to keep an eye on. To this point he said Indiana is the only place he has taken an unofficial visit. That is sure to change.
Michael Benkert is another kid that had a coming out party so to speak. I really liked his game this spring but he has gotten much more aggressive in his offensive approach since then. At the time he seemed to be a kid that would make a play here or there and make you say...Damn, who's that? Now, he gets the ball and every time he touches it he's probing the defense in some way looking to score. He's an athletic 6'3 or 4ish kid that has a great sense how to put the ball in the hoop. Benkert made a visit to Purdue in mid June.
Brennan Gillis of the EG10 program is another kid to watch in this loaded class. Physically, he's a freak. As a basketball player he reminds me a lot of Randy Gregory when he played along side Gary Harris. When he gets a rebound. It's his. He has some nice fundamentals that a lot of big kids don't have at his age. He keeps the ball up high to keep small guards from swiping the ball away. He's got a great motor and knows what his role is. His most impressive skill though is his ability to rebound in and out of his area. Height will be the only issue here. He's only 6'6 at this point. If he can squeeze out two more inches he could be looking at a whole different list of suitors in a couple years.
I also got a good look at Basil Smotherman. He's a kid that has clearly had the light bulb turn on. His defense is better. He's more aggressive when he gets the ball. He's rebounding well. However, the best part of his game that has come around is his range beyond the arc. Smotherman has been shooting much better this year from everywhere. Talent has never been a question with him and it's great to see him beginning to scratch the surface of it. For those of you wondering about my opinion on the height I've seen him twice within about three weeks. I'm gonna say 6'6 without shoes.
Trevor Thompson is another kid I've sorta been raving about for a few months now. It's pretty apparent that Purdue isn't going to take another kid for 2013. If they did, it would be for a year in prep school. This is a prospect that needs to be tracked. He's 6'11, runs and jumps like a deer, has a wingspan that just wipes away layups on about every possession. Just a name to remember for everyone in case something comes up.
Purdue also followed the EG10 2014 class kids very closely as well. Bryant McIntosh, Sam Logwood, and Sean Sellers. Over the next week I'll go over several prospects Purdue has tracked over the first evaluation period leading up to the weekend. Some of those guys are Hyron Edwards, Bronson Kessinger, Gary Bonds, Chandler White, and KJ Walton. The 2015 class is so deep. Could be 9 or 10 kids go to high major schools. It's gonna be a fun summer of AAU coverage.