The other day I read a post over at BoiledSports (great site BTW) and the premise focused on the trajectory of Purdue basketball and it's slide towards irrelevance. It specifically focused on how a recruit might view our program, and how long it's been since we've been relevant. The cliff notes version is this year is bad, last year was bad, 2 years ago was ok, and 3 years ago was really good (but we bombed out to VCU in the tourney). So if a recruit was a junior in high school, they would have been in 8th grade the last time we were really good. That's like a lifetime to a kid; which is true. But recent success is not the only thing a recruit looks at and that's why most schools have highs and lows over an 8 to 10 year cycle. There are very few schools who have been consistently good over the last 8 years. So let's take a look at Purdue's last cycle and focus on recruiting.
2007. Ah the magical class that could do no wrong. Let's take a look at some of the myths around this class. First, Matt Painter got them because he had a year to just recruit. This isn't entirely true. Matt Painter was the associate head coach, and he attended every game and practice, and spent a lot of his time watching film and creating game plans. He wasn't just camped out in the region like some have made it seem. Second, IU was in transition. This is false. They were 21-12 during the '05-'06 season and made the second round of the NCAA's, losing to Gonzaga. The '07 class all committed by the fall of '06; following 2 seasons in which Purdue combined to win 16 games. Gasp! They committed to a last place team! As we know this class ended up being very good!
2008. Painter missed on 2 of his main targets, Tyler Zeller and Gordon Hayward. Everyone knew Zeller was really good, and he could have put us over the top. Hayward, wasn't highly touted, as we were his only major offer, but Painter saw lots of potential. LewJack and Ryne Smith (who was ridiculed by Purdue fans for 2 years) ended up being good pieces though.
2009. Didn't really miss on our main targets, but Jeff Robinson ended up not qualiffying and he went to Xavier. Byrd ended up being a good contributor, Barlow could have been really good, Chooch was a disappointment and Bade, well he was part of a great YouTube video.
2010. Again we didn't have any big misses, our recruits just didn't pan out. Anthony Johnson was highly regarded (lots of offers, OSU included), Travis Carrol didn't grow anymore and his lack of athleticism left him undersized and Terone has been a pretty good contributor, but not as good as most thought he would be.
2011. Wow did this year hurt. Painter finally started to capitalize on the on court success and got in on a ton of top tier guys. Brandon Dawson, Chane Beheanen, Amir Williams, Chasson Randle, Jonathan Holmes and Nnanna Egwu. Most of these guys made official visits to Purdue, but we didn't close with any of them. We were in the middle of one of Purdue's most successful stints and these guys could have kept it going. And we were left with Donnie Hale and Jacob Lawson. Yikes. So after the VCU loss Painter decided it was time to for Purdue to step up recruiting, so he forced the administration to give him resources (we also lost an assistanct at an alarming rate during those years). Of course after 3 years of sub-par recruiting the damage was done.
2012. Jay Simpson and RayDay verballed super early, after their freshman years of high school, and long before Painter Gate. Ronnie Johnson and Hammons verballed after the big raise, and they are probably the 2 best players we got since the '07 class (interesting!?!). FYI, GRIII committed to Michigan long before he shot up the rankings (side note, Michigan hit on a TON of 3 star guys from '09-'11). As for the big miss, Gary Harris. We got in way after MSU and others, but maybe the fact that we were in it at all was because of Painter's new contract and resources.
2013. Bryson, Basil and Kendall also verballed super early, in the winter of '11. So they can directly be linked to the success we had been having in '09-'11. They are the recruits that BoiledSports kind of references, kids that saw us on TV all the time and wanted to play in Mackey.
2014. Might be the year the investment really pays off. Vince Edwards and Bates-Dip (OSU) were our 2 biggest targets for a while and we got Edwards. Mathias sounds like a great shooter, but Painter got on him early and he decided to verball with us just as other schools were picking up interest. Taylor, he might be a hidden gem, not sure on him, but still a recruit from Boston, that probably doesn't happen without increased resources. And finally, Isaac Hass. To me this recruitment stands out. We orginally lost him to Wake Forest and then he wavered. Painter hopped on the Purdue plane and flew down to Alabama the night before a game, and got to talk with Hass before the local school got to him (UAB). The conversation lasted 20 minutes, and he decided to become a Boiler. No way that happens before 2011. We also got out and found recruits outside of Indiana. Again no way that happens pre-2011.
The point of all of this is to look at the big picture. Sure, right now sucks, and I don't think Painter has done a great job coaching this year. But I also think we are trending back up. In 2011 would any of you have thought we were trending down? At the time it appeared we were up, but if you look at that '09-'11 group it was clear we were going to come crashing down. Right now feels awful, but I think we are ready to move back up. That's pretty much how it's worked for 100+ years of Purdue basketball.
So stay the course, and Boiler Up!