Many people have already given up on making next season's NCAA Tournament, but I think that is a load of crap. Even in the last two highly dysfunctional seasons Purdue has managed to win at least 15 games, and with the amount of talent leaving the Big Ten for the NBA anything can happen. Things just need to come together. Sure, it will be very difficult to do, but not impossible.
Of course, for things to come together Purdue needs some leadership. The loss of Ronnie Johnson at the point denies Purdue of a quality player, but it also leaves only Bryson Scott and incoming freshman P.J. Thompson at the point. Since so much of college basketball relies on guard play the Boilers could certainly use an experienced point guard.
Enter Matt Carlino. Carlino is the newest player to announce that he is a fifth-year transfer who will graduate in June with immediate eligibility. Carlino has played at BYU in each of the last three seasons and, quite honestly, he would be a perfect fit for our situation. He is a 6'2" points guard that has averaged 12.2, 11.5, and 13.7 points in each of his three seasons for the Cougars. More importantly, he is a distributor, averaging 4.6, 4.8, and 4.3 assists in three seasons. In his freshman and junior seasons he led BYU to the NCAA Tournament, while his sophomore season had him take BYU to the NIT semifinals, so he has postseason experience.
The kid even had an Indiana connection. In high school he played for Bloomington South before going to UCLA and redshirting. He then went to BYU, where he started for three seasons. In his only season in Bloomington (he previously went to high school in Arizona) he led them to a 23-1 record. They had an undefeated regular season before getting upset by Jeffersonville in the regional final. This was the middle season between state championships for Bloomington South.
Carlino has had an excellent career for BYU. He is a career 33.5% shooter from three-point land (157-468) and he scored 1,201 points with 437 assists. He hits free throws at better than 71% too.
How does Carlino NOT fit in with Purdue's current needs? Vanquish the Foe, SB Nation's BYU blog, had this to say:
Fans of the team loved to see Carlino's passing, defensive savvy, and streaky 3-point shooting. Fans also remember the turnovers and the lengthy cold streaks from behind the 3-point line. I developed a type of love/hate relationship from watching him play. I defended him in front of my friends with lines like, "I know that right now he's missed 5 three-pointers in a row, but he usually drains these" and "No dude, I'm definitely sure he tried to do that, it wasn't just lucky." He's like a recessive gambling addiction, you can lose round after round of Blackjack, but win one big hand and you can't quit.
He is flashy, he is fast, he is unpredictable, and he most certainly makes it rain (from time to time). He is Matty Basketball, and I will miss him.
Well, he plays defense, and it is not like we haven't had to endure hot/cold guys in recent seasons. What do we have to lose if we go after him, anyway? It sounds like he has a good upside and it allows Scott and Thompson more time to learn the position instead of being thrown into the fire immediately. Hopefully he is on the radar of the coaching staff, because we can desperately use him. We have the scholarship room, so why not?
UPDATE: Purdue is, officially, in play:
BYU transfer Matt Carlino told ESPN he has heard from Oklahoma State, Purdue, UCLA, Pittsburgh and Memphis thus far. Eligible next year.— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) April 3, 2014