Our countdown for the greatest sport ever returns this week, and I could not be more excited for it. A lot of changes have came to this program and a new era of Purdue Basketball is about to begin. The ceiling is high for this team, and I'm ready to see what they are going to bring to the table this season.
Unlike last year, this team has more than two seniors. The first player in our countdown will be struggling to find minutes this season if he hasn't made big strides in his game.
Travis Carroll - Sr.
Hometown: Danville, IN (Danville HS)
6'9" 247 pounds
2013 projection: Reserve at forward/center
Call me crazy, but I like TC. He's not great by any means, but he does the dirty work that goes unnoticed a lot of times. He's the definition of a hustle n' bustle player. However, he does goof up quite a bit, but I don't think it's the end of the world when he gets on the court.
TC is really going to have to fight for minutes this year with guys like A.J. Hammons, Jay Simpson, Donnie Hale, and Errick Peck being able to play 4's or 5's. We've got some depth at both positions, but we aren't super deep, so there are minutes for TC to grab.
Last season, TC played in 33 games; averaging 1.8 points and 1.6 rebounds in 8.3 minutes a game. He led Purdue in blocks three times and had his best game when Purdue played UNC-Wilmington where he registered 10 points and 4 boards.
Travis Carroll was a guy who I thought could really be something his freshmen year. He played well next to JaJuan Johnson, and had a lot of promise going into his sophomore year. But each year he seems to take a step backward. I will never forget him missing a wide open layup at Xavier two years ago.
Like I said earlier, though, Travis Carroll does a lot of stuff right even though his goonieness covers up a lot of it. TC is a pretty good pick and roll defender, something that our bigs struggled with last season. He's added some weight, so he will be difficult to push around in the post. He fights HARD for rebounds, and is a solid offensive rebounder. He also accepts his role and doesn't complain. Going from starting majority of the games as a sophomore to fighting for minutes as a senior is rough, but TC plays on.
Carroll brings leadership to this team, and that is something we really didn't have last year. If anything, TC can be a player-coach and help mentor the younger guys. Our Derrick Fisher, if you will. I TC has a great senior year and can help contribute in one way or another.