Purdue gained another player on Thursday, but he is not someone who will fill the final scholarship open for 2013-14. Instead, the Boilers picked up a new walk-on who will be a valuable practice player. His name is Trace Cureton, and he is not your typical walk-on.
Purdue has three walk-ons expecting to return next season. Neal Beshears has been with the program for two seasons and, unless a scholarship player is added, will possibly be rewarded for his time on the team with his third year coming on scholarship in 2013-14. Like Dru Anthrop, he has been with the program long enough that there may be some meaningful minutes next year.
Stephen Toyra is entering his second year with the team. He actually played some first half minutes against Penn State in Happy Valley when coach Painter was looking for a motivational tool. He played seven of his 30 minutes in that game and had his only two points a few weeks later in a home blowout of Northwestern.
Finally, John McKeeman was the answer to the question, "Who is No. 2 warming up with the team against Michigan?" McKeeman played in just one game, for one minute, against Western Illinois.
Those three will form a veritable bench mob next year as Trace Cureton, formerly a high school teammate of Errick Peck and Kelsey Barlow, will join the roster as a walk-on from Sinclair Community College. Cureton is a guard that averaged 8.3 points, 4.5 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and shot 32% from long range at junior college last year.
Cureton is an interesting case. He graduated high school in 2009, but only played one season in junior college, so he has three years of eligibility left. He has good size for a guard at 6'4" and could be a contributor. He had a scholarship offer from Miami (OH), but instead chose to walk-on at Purdue. Also, his family is full of Division I athletes.
His brother Justin was the starting center fielder as a senior this year at Indiana, and got to play in the College World Series with the Hoosiers. His brother, Luke, will play baseball at Indiana next year. Another brother is a walk-on at Ball State as a defensive back, Ian Cureton.
His impact remains to be seen. Obviously as a walk-on he is not going to get big minutes at first. Coach Painter has shown he is not afraid to play walk-ons if they earn the time, however. Bobby Riddell played out of necessity and was a big contributor as a senior. Dru Anthrop earned a scholarship after two years. Mark Wohlford also earned a lot of playing time.
At the very least Purdue has a solid practice player that can help everyone else get better. He is also a guy with a great sense of humor, as his Twitter handle is @MochaMamba.
UPDATE: Well, maybe not:
Sources at Purdue tell me the reports that Trace Cureton will be an invited walk-on for basketball are inaccurate at this time.— Jeff Washburn (@JeffWashburnJC) June 20, 2013