I think whenever you lead into a new year you are always questioning what new players will bring to the table. So lets take a look at each newcomer.
1. Kendall Stephens- this players contributions are by far the most obvious. Shooting is so valuable in College basketball, and from film and some time watching in person, Kendall Stephens is already as pure a shooter as anyone in the Big Ten. High, Quick Release, but most important is his CONFIDENCE. DJ Byrd obviously had confidence issues in his jump shooting, and would become discouraged and therefore streaky in his jumper following consecutive misses. Kendall believes in his jumper, worked on it, and doesn't seem to be holding it back even though he is no longer the top dog on his own team. Strength deficiency is obvious, but his length will become as much of a bonus as his strength is a negative in the long run. He will get stronger overtime, while maintaining that long lengthy frame to wreak havoc in passing lanes. Expect success early with this kid due to his shot.
2. Sterling Carter and Errick Peck- I put these guys together because they are one and done, but still have some value to bring. Maturity, Game Experience, and Strength seem to be positives of these to veterans. Carter is quite short, but strong, and has high confidence in his shot. Errick is just strong in general. Why do you think he dominates the boards in practice? His strength on the glass is clearly an asset that we as a team must be able to utilize. I expect both to have minutes that at least provide the opportunity for them to become involved in the flow of games. But deep down I hope we need them less and less as the year goes due to the freshman earning the minutes in place of the seniors. Because it would be nice to see a solid team with 80% of the contributors being underclassmen. Good future ahead. That is of course if these are resulting in wins.
3. Basil Smotherman- I love this kid! Athleticism, Length, and Strength. I think all boiler fans would agree that these are all very good and valuable traits. This kid will have the simplest role of the three freshman most likely. Defense, Rebound, Defense, Rebound. Haven't seen much of his offensive arsenal, but he is a left that can finish above the rim. I don't expect him to be aggressive very much this year, but look out when he does. Highlights sure to follow. Seems to be an emotional player who is physically ready for Big Ten basketball and will work his skills along also.
4. Bryson Scott- I'm biased in the fact that this is the kid I am most interested in watching play DI ball, but I see good things to come from this kid. However, he could have the hardest transition mentally to the game. To go from the scorer at will to the freshman newcomer, you often experience growing pains. He is fast, strong, and out of this world confident, and probably out of this world emotional too based on videos and previous HS games. And IMO he is coming into the most difficult position in the best conference in the country. It will be exciting to see him grow this year as he and Ronnie hopefully become a deadly 1,2 punch. He will need to learn to play smart defense, but no worries on putting forward a defensive effort as you all have heard. And I also believe he will need a better Jumper as time goes on. With the speed and strength he has, a consistent jumper would make this kid near impossible to stop from reaching the lane, which leads to points for himself, bigs, and that deadly shooter we mentioned earlier. He can make things much easier for Kendall if he can approach that.
Conclusion- In many ways I love this class far more than last years coming in. That is due to attitude and also how they can contribute immediately. This class is going to become the nucleus of some strong future boilermaker squads, and a invaluable piece to this years' squad. I'm ready for saturday's scrimmage. I'm sure we will learn a lot just through the revelation that can be found simply in competition. Weeks away! Boiler Up!