After a 10-day trip to Italy, to not only play 4 games, but also see one of the most beautiful countries in the world; the Boilers come home with enough optimism to fill the newly renovated Mackey Arena. If you have tracked the Boilers trip, you know they finished 3-1. You also know that the play of everyone has been great.
#1 Incoming Freshmen LOOK GOOD. Coach Painter has to be happy with the play of the 2012 freshman. Raphael Davis led the team in scoring, averaging just over 14 points. After watching him play in the Alumni Game, I told Drew in one of our podcast shows that he would be a starter. For the record, Drew wrote me off. Though it is not determined that he is a starter. Ronnie Johnson showed that he is learning as he tallied 10 assists in the final game. AJ Hammons was close to double figures in rebounds and points in all games. Jay Simpson still hasn't been able to show Boiler fans what he can do in a Purdue uniform, but Purdue staff isn't worried. Larry Clisby (Purdue television announcer) and my partner Drew say Jay Simpson is going to bring a high Basketball IQ when he is healthy enough to play on that previously broken foot.
#2 Hale is Causing Damage. Donny Hale is not a new freshman, but is a redshirt freshman. Donny Hale showed a lot of energy and leadership in scoring and rebounding on the offensive end. Donny recorded multiple double-doubles and looks exactly like the highly recruited prospect Purdue recruited two years ago. Don't forget that Donny graduated high school in 2010. He spent the 2010-11 season at prep school. Then he spent the 2011-12 season as a redshirt. So he comes in as a 21-year old freshman that is hungry. Let's keep our eyes on Hale and see if he can't be our solution to our lack of scoring in the post, which plagued the Boilers last season.
#3 The "veterans" will be fine. A lot of people have reported that Terone and DJ have struggled. I don't believe this to be the case and here is why. We aren't in practice. Players and coaches do not listen and react to the media on a day-to-day basis. To them it is just a waste of time. And they should feel that way. In the final game of the Italy trip, Terone Johnson and DJ Byrd had double figure scoring games. Do you know what this tells us? It tells us that they are just fine. Italy's coaches have a lot more scouting reports on Purdue than vice versa. They know they have to guard DJ Byrd on the three point line. They also know that Terone is going to be creating scoring opportunities for himself and others. But them scoring in the final game tells me that they are practicing and training at a high level and will be instrumental leaders this season. One more bit of info on these veterans is Dru Anthrop was effective in distribution. He tallied around 4 assists per game, while recoring very low turnovers.
#4 Anthony Johnson has proven his scoring abilities also. Anthony seems to be either a three point shooter or he likes to use his runner/floater going to the basket. The good thing is, he is aggressive and has a scoring mentality. If he can improve his passing ability to set his teammates up, his game will go to another level. Boiler fans really want to see his turnovers down and his field goal percentage up.
#5 One thing we do know is the play of the FRONTCOURT is going to be better than last season. The play of Donny Hale is not the only reason. Sandi Marcius has shown his hardwork is paying off. Sandi had double-doubles and tallied 12 rebounds in the final contest. I don't think we will see Sandi dominating the post this season, but look for him to be able to defend, rebound, and become smarter in the offense. Boiler fans know Sandi as a "bowl in a china shop", but look for his strength to become a factor this season. I am happy with Sandi's development. At the end of last season, he was able to battle other teams' offensive centers. This season will be better and more consistent. AJ Hammons is making his potential evident with his inside/outside athletic game. And don't forget Travis Carroll who can be a weapon with his pick and pop game. The one player that isn't getting much attention is Jacob Lawson. Lawson was an impact player last year as a defender and rebounder. I look for him to be even more aggressive in this role as he seems more comfortable in his skin. He wasn't getting high rebound totals in Italy, but I assume the coaches didn't need to see him play as much as the others. Lawson has already proven himself and the coaches already know what he is going to bring. He did lead the Boilers in blocks. If Lawson can improve his offensive game, Boilers will be able to utilize his supreme athleticism a lot.
Well, that's my reflection and thoughts on the Boilers. What's next for Purdue Basketball? Workouts will resume when they get back for classes. Official practice starts in October. Please feel free to comment or critique this blog and any other post we have on our site. I also want to thank Purduesports.com for giving us fans the opportunity to follow. Signing off, #ADSD