50 Days to Purdue Basketball: Travis Carroll

Happy Travis Carroll Day to all! And to all a good night! As you may have guessed, it is an unofficial Purdue sports holiday today--Travis Carroll Day. Today we celebrate the big #50 bringing us to 50 days until the start of the new Purdue basketball season, and I guess that is worth a party (somewhat). While I won't be at the Cactus drinking to Tacos' honor tonight--unfortunately--I still feel like I should celebrate the big guy somehow. Or at the very least, I might try to score some free T-Bell on account of it being Tacos Day and all! Wow, that was a bad joke...

Anyways, however you choose to celebrate your Travis Carroll Day, be safe and Boiler Up! As expected, we here at H&R will be celebrating this day by profiling #50 in the colossal "Days to Purdue Basketball" Countdown series. So, without further ado let's put Tacos under a microscope on his very special day, shall we?

Travis Carroll - Jr.

Hometown: Danville, IN (Danville HS)

Forward

6'9", 229 pounds

2012-2013 projection: Starter at Forward

Tacos enters the new basketball season with heightened expectations, to say the least. If all things go smoothly, he should be a very important asset to the team and a major key to its success. For example, he is now a junior--an upperclassman--and along with teammates D.J. Byrd, Dru Anthrop, Sandi Marcius and Terone Johnson, he is one of five upperclassmen on this year's roster. Therefore, it is pretty apparent that Travis is expected to become a vocal leader of the team this fall, especially when it comes to showing all of the incoming freshman the ropes of college basketball.

Something else that makes Travis more important to the team this year is the fact that he is an incumbent starter at Forward and basically the #1 at that position. When you look at his numbers--20 starts and 6 appearances as the Sixth Man in 35 total games last season, 17.1 minutes per game--this makes Carroll the most experienced Forward or Center currently on the team in terms of minutes and starts. Coupled with the departure of a certain Robert John Hummel, Travis enters the new season as the #1 Purdue Forward. He is basically THE man at Power Forward.

This means a few very interesting things, some of which are obvious, of course. First, Travis' number of minutes and starts will spike dramatically this season, based on his new, larger role within the team. Expect him to start at the 4 in most of the games this year. Also, expect Tacos to be on the court for over 20 minutes in nearly game.

Some of the other things that concern #50 this season are much less clear. A burning question about Travis is whether or not he can take his game to the next level in terms of production. In the past, he has been solid playing a contributing role within the team, but he is in all sorts of trouble if he puts up less than 3 points and pulls down less than 3 rebounds per game. While his stats in the field goal percentage (.481) and blocks per game (0.5) categories looked great last year, he has an opportunity to become one of the biggest contributors to the team's success if he can shoot the ball more and play much more stingy defense. Some of these issues will works themselves out as Tacos sees more time on the court. Some of them, though, may go unanswered.

As I close this profile, I would like to say that Travis Carroll is a great basketball player. But, he needs to step it up big time this year if he wants to help Purdue achieve truly awesome things in the upcoming season. He has the potential to play much better on both offense and defense. And I don't mean to draw any Hummel comparisons, but Travis should be working to emulate that guy's game as he gears up to start at Forward again and be a team leader this time around. Lord knows that being Robbie-esque in terms of gameplay is never a bad thing. And Lord knows Travis will need some pointers to challenge talented Forwards in our conference. Seriously, The Big Ten always has its fair share of freakish big men who can ball. Travis will be getting up close and personal with these guys in his junior season. Hopefully, he has adapted and elevated his game to take on the very best.

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