For the sake of this post, consider that Purdue will most likely play a 3 guard lineup for most of the season, with some 4 guard lineups. At first glance, it would seem that our team is going to have some big challenges in the post. We lost our top three post players, Drey Mingo and Sam Ostarello to graduation, and Taylor Manuel to transfer. But the cupboard is far from empty. Maybe we are lacking in the experience factor, but we do have talent for the 4 and 5 positions.
The 5 position, Center/Forward will most likely be filled by Whitney Bays in the starting role. At 6-3, she has the size. She also has proven to be a top talent, especially coming out of high school. Having sat out a year for transferring from Maryland, she'll have to shake off the rust. But we must have her in good health for the entire season to reach our goals. Backing her up will be Camille Redmon, at 6-4 the tallest player on the team. She has good skills, but last year seemed to get pushed around some. Hopefully she has had good off-season workout success, in order to bang with opposing centers and forwards. It can really get physical in the Big Ten inside.
The 4 position will present itself with quite a large number of options. I expect Liza Clemons to start there. She has battled injuries since arriving at Purdue, and last year was bothered by her shoulder. Hopefully she is 100% healthy this year. She came in as a Hoopgurlz top 100 player out of Fort Wayne. This should be a breakout season for her. She seems to have what I call economy of motion. She doesn't just run around and flail for rebounds and shots. Every move seems to be made with deliberate intent. She did get some valuable experience last year in a reserve role. I would have thought Joslyn Massey would be her backup but haven't heard anything about her and she didn't hardly see the court in games last year. Not sure if the game is too fast still, or if she has nagging injuries, or just why she hasn't gotten more playing time. While a little undersized for power forward, she does have good bulk for 6-0 and should be able to box out for rebounds. Several other players could play the 4 in either a Guard/Forward type of combo, or simply as a tall guard. At 6-2, freshman Bridget Perry could fit in well here. Also we could play some 6-0 guards here such as Dee Dee William or Torrie Thornton. Thornton, like Clemons, has fought injury problems so she hasn't seen much playing time. Equally good with the right or left hand, she could prove to be versatile in the position. Also, while Williams hasn't really scored a lot, she does so many other things well, being our best overall defender. She can definitely guard opposing forwards or guards. She had to learn a lot of guard after playing post at Ben Davis High School. She has been called on to play the point, defend, and just play smart basketball, and has proven she can do what she is called on to do. She did score more last year, so we will see if she can top that this year. She has worked hard on her shooting, so hopefully she can score more and not allow opposing teams to lay off of her giving her open shots. Being a senior, she has a ton of experience, especially playing alongside KK Houser and Courtney Moses.
In summary, yes we lack experience in the post, and could use another tall forward. But we should be a very fast team, and with three guards 6-0 or taller helping out, we should still be able to get it done in the paint. We are loaded with guards, with a lot of experience and talented freshmen and sophomores. I'll cover the guard positions in my next fanpost. Following that will be a third post on the overall team prospects for the season.