Not all the news was bad Saturday night. Matt Painter, who was getting a lot of negativity thrown his way for the lack of movement on his wide-open 2014 recruiting class, landed his second commitment for the class of 2014 with Ohio forward Vince Edwards. This comes after a bad week where my personal favorite Steve McElvene committed to Dayton, Bryant McIntosh went to Northwestern, and JP Macura committed to Xavier.
Edwards has long been a target of coach Painter and this is a "win" simply because someone finally chose us over a fellow Big Ten program. In this case the loser was Michigan, who was also after Edwards.
The versatile forward seems to be what Purdue needs. He is an ESPN top 100 player (ranked No. 80 nationally) and a Rivals top 125 (ranked No. 122 by them). Both he and Dakota Mathias give Purdue two top 125 players according to Rivals, marking the third straight season Purdue has gotten at least two top 125 guys.
Edwards gives Purdue a true inside-out forward:
Edwards suffered an ankle injury late in the summer AAU season that limited his play, but Purdue never wavered from its desire to sign the athletic wing from Middletown. It's interesting that the first two pieces of this recruiting class are from the Buckeye state, where Purdue fans may remember produced former Boilermakers Todd Mitchell and Ryne Smith.
So what is next? As you can see from the grid, Purdue now has three open scholarships for the class of 2014 and 2015 combined and still has no scholarship seniors on board for the 2014-15 season. As it stands now, I would guess that two-year walk-on Neal Beshears gets awarded the "extra" scholarship for this coming season, and would also get it as a senior if coach Painter "banks" a scholarship for the big 2015 class. Beshears would be a senior in the 2014-15 season, so if Purdue has an extra scholarship available it will not affect the 2015 class if Beshears takes it. This is how Dru Anthrop was on scholarship his final two seasons.
Next, it appears that getting a big is a priority. A.J. Hammons will have the NBA calling if he has a good 2013-14 season and, let's face it, if he is truly an NBA caliber center he will be gone before becoming a senior in the 2015-16 season. He is the most likely to leave early by far, so his scholarship could be in play for the 2014 or 2015 classes.
It also means the coach Painter wants to find a replacement for him. With McElvene and Isaac Haas off the board there are few options. Alec Brennan is still considering Purdue. Chicago center Marlon Jones also has an offer. Jabari Craig is another player that has been named as having some interest with Purdue.
Perhaps the more interesting news is the list of players that are now back on the market that Purdue has contacted in the past. James Blackmon Jr. though not a center, is getting a push from Purdue after he backed away from Indiana. Getting Blackmon would be a gigantic coup for Matt Painter, and could cause a few other dominos to fall. Jaquan Lyle also decommitted from Louisville and tweeted this weekend that he wants to play in college with Cliff Alexander. It is an extreme longshot, but why shouldn't coach Painter at least contact both and say that he has plenty of room for both of them, especially since Alexander is only the No. 2 rated player in the country.
In fact, we've got the room if Hammons goes pro after this year, so let's just get Blackmon, Alexander, Lyle, and available Indianapolis forward Trey Lyles to go with Edwards and Dakota Mathias. It sounds like a good class to me and everyone that wants to play together gets to play together.
Someone make this happen.