Now that this year is officially in the bag, I’m ready to look to next year. After all, we’re Purdue fans so there’s always next year right? Let me preface everything by saying this isn’t necessarily what I think is going to happen, but it’s what needs to happen if we are going to finish in the top half, or maybe even top 4, of the league next year.
AJ – Obviously AJ needs to stay and he needs to become a consistent, dominate threat. He’s shown the ability to be the most dominant player in the league, but he absolutely can’t just disappear for games at a time. Of course foul trouble is going to come up at times, but he needs to do his best to limit the fouls (by this I mean he needs to do his best imitation of Aaron Craft so he gets away with every questionable call). He has all the ability to average something like 15 points, 8 boards, 3 blocks.
RJ – Again, the first thing is he needs to stay. After seeing how fans treated his brother after 4 years I wouldn’t be surprised if he wanted to leave. As everybody has said all year, he needs to become more like a LewJack floor general and a true pass first PG. In his defense, other players need to show they have the ability to score consistently in order for a pass first approach to work. If he can average 6-7 assists a game that alone will win us several more games.
RayD – He needs to be the leader this team has been sorely lacking the past several years. He can be a glue guy that does a little bit of everything, and his passion and intensity can make him a great leader. Numbers aren’t going to be as important to him as his leadership is.
Kendall – Shot selection. We know he can knock down shots from 5 feet behind the arc, but it doesn’t mean he should attempt them every time. He can easily shoot 50% from 3 if he takes good shots. Towards the end of the season he flashed some ability to pump fake and get to the hole and the FT line, which will be a critical skill as well.
Basil – All the intangibles are there. In a couple years I think he has the potential to be our best player. Basketball IQ and athleticism through the roof, if he can develop a 15 foot jumper look out.
Bryson – Absolutely have to limit the turnovers and poor decisions. In high school he could get to the rim and be a score first type of guy, but like RJ we need him to be a floor general who’s looking to pass first. Despite what so many people say, I don’t see Bryson moving over to the 2. He will be a solid backup point if he can adapt his game to the college level. The intensity he brings will allow him to be a great player if he can learn to harness it.
Haas – Probably the most important thing will be pushing AJ in practice. If all goes well, AJ will play 30 mins a game, and Haas will contribute a physical 10 mins of very solid backup center play.
Mathias – I hate setting high expectations for freshman, but if he can translate his game to the college level he may be able to work his way into the starting role at the 2. I would LOVE to see us start the season with RayD at the 3 and Kendall at the 2, but unfortunately at this point Kendall can’t guard opposing 2s. I already mentioned I don’t think Bryson is cut out for the 2 either. So the door is open for Dakota to log a very large amount of minutes.
Edwards – Again, don’t like setting expectations too high, but he could be critical at the 4. Both he and Basil will be outsized there, but hopefully they’re quickness can offset that. He seems to be able to do a bit of everything, but again it will depend on how his game translates to college.
Taylor – I really have absolutely no idea what to expect from him. Will he log minutes at the 4 or 5 or will he even potentially red shirt this year? The point of this post is what we need to do to be successful, so if everybody listed above does their job I don’t see where he fits in (again though its hard to say how the frosh are going to come in, I didn’t think Basil would fit in at the start of this year).
Thompson – Behind RJ and Bryson at the point. Push them in practice, but if we’re going to be a good team next year I don’t see him getting many minutes.
Obviously the things we all associate with Purdue basketball are defense, heart, and hustle. Every single player on the team needs to improve defensively, even AJ has a lot of room to grow there. Everybody needs to passion that RayD plays with every game. If the rest of the team can show half the passion he does we will greatly improve.
So hopefully a few of these things work out next year and we make some big strides as a team!