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Boilermakings for 7/11

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I wanted to begin this week’s edition of the Boilermakings by talking about the rumors flying around who is eligible and who is not for the coming football season. I can’t really say much about players that were already on the roster like Brandon Erwin because once a student is on campus and attending classes it is a whole different ball game.

Personally, I have little sympathy for them unless they have circumstances beyond their control. As Keith Smith has exhibited, it is possible to get your grades up in a hurry over the summer. The players also have a number of options as far as tutors, study tables, and such to help them academically, probably more than most students do because the university has a vested interest in them. I understand the demands of playing a sport in college are immense, but not impossible. The help is there, but the student athlete must take it. In short, if they flunk off the team, it is their own damn fault.

I do want to touch on the subject of initial eligibility, however, because of the concern I have seen on GBI about incoming players like Jordan brewer. This is an entirely different ballgame because it is controlled more closely by the NCAA and the institution can monitor the situation for the student, but it is ultimately based on the student’s work in high school. Since I worked in the initial eligibility call center for 8 months until this past March I’ve got a pretty good idea of how the process works.

First of all, unless you are Jordan Brewer himself, his parents, an NCAA Eligibility Center employee or work in the compliance office at Purdue University, you cannot get direct information on his case. Therefore, any information outside of those sources is officially a rumor, not gospel. Even if I were still working there I could look up the information either at the request of one of the above parties or for my own curiosity, but I couldn’t publish it here. It was a temptation to do so while working there, especially since I did have some pretty good info I wanted to post, but I never did. Thank goodness for privacy laws.

Second, the process itself takes awhile before anything becomes official. In addition to that, there a number of things that can hold up initial eligibility ranging from low test scores, to missing credits, to high schools not reporting core courses properly. Shoot, eligibility could be denied simply because a student has yet to log in and electronically sign part of their registration. If I student has missing information hat can hold things up as well. Even if the answer is no once everything is in and evaluated there are other courses of action. There are thousands of students the NCAA is working through right now, but the rumors are probably out there because Purdue, as a major institution, keeps close tabs on the players it is interested in. If he’s close, it may indeed take awhile to work through the process. That, or he may have simply not come up in the queue yet. As I used to tell parents when they would call in, it is best to be patient because of the sheer number of people they are working on. I wouldn’t be too concerned for at least another month on Brewer or anyone else that has been mentioned in "rumors".

Danny Hope lands recruit #2

Ishmael Aristidenow has some company in Purdue’s 2009 recruiting class as Florida receiver Gary Bush Jr. is headed to West Lafayette. Considering the way that the Hurricanes have put a virtual wall around Miami-Dade county under Randy Shannon, either this kid is a steal or not worth Miami’s time. Either way, I am excited that Hope seems to be making some inroads into Florida. This is his second recruit from the sunshine state, which certainly has no shortage of talent. I seem to remember a pair of receivers that went under the radar from Florida who did just fine with us. Their names were Chris Daniels and Vinny Sutherland.

According to this article, his dad was a teammate of Jerry Rice at Mississippi Valley State. Hopefully that means something for learning by osmosis. I’m sure I could pick up a thing or two about catching a ball if I met the greatest receiver of all time just once. The kid seems pretty athletic. I like that he is also a pretty good runner in track as well as a basketball player. That should translate into decent running and jumping ability. I actually like this pickup, especially since we thrive on unheralded receivers. He doesn’t have overwhelming size, but neither did Vinny. He only had 15 catches all of last season, but 6 were for touchdowns. I can live with that ratio if he’s going to catch more passes here.

Keaton Grant ahead of schedule

This is nothing less than fantastic news for the basketball team. The Indy Star reported this week that Keaton Grant is ahead of schedule in his rehabilitation from knee surgery. Since both he and Chris Kramer were banged up for a large portion of last season we can only imagine how good Purdue will be if both are healthy.

My concern mainly lies with Kramer for a couple of reasons. First of all, we have heard nothing about him all summer. That’s not good when he’s already played too banged up seasons. Second, and I hope I am not the only one that has seen this, but Kramer has seemed a bit off since he clanged his head off of the basket support at Clemson. Ever since that moment he’s played just a little more timid than before when it comes to driving to the basket. I am hoping that it is not a physical thing, but he has just seemed a little off since then.

Women’s basketball has high expectations from South Dakota recruit

I admit that I have been spoiled by women’s basketball in my life. While my beloved Kokomo Wildkats and Purdue Boilermakers have never won a men’s championship within my lifetime, the women’s team for each school has had great success. Kokomo has won three state championships since 1992 with a runner-up appearance and five more appearances in the final four. Once I got to Purdue the women’s team won the national championship when I was a freshman and was runner-up when I was a junior. Aside from a couple of good opportunities to riot (not that I participated or have video evidence that I took in 2001 and conveniently edited before turning in), it was a great time as those teams were exceedingly entertaining.

Look, not everyone likes women’s basketball. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of the WNBA, but at leas they are trying unlike most players in the NBA. Plus the games aren’t fixed. Other than that, I am a basketball freak and I am a big fan of any basketball team, regardless of gender, that is going to make Purdue look good. The 2009 women’s team should be fantastic, and as we see from this article, Sam Ostarello could play a very large part in that success. She certainly sounds exactly like the type of player that thrives at Purdue: hardworking and unselfish. Hopefully the men’s team won’t be the ones hanging a few new banners in Mackey Arena. With the talent already on hand in both programs and more on the way, the renovation had better examine reinforcing the roof so it can hold all the banners.

Taking Miller time to a new extreme

Unfortunately, the news here at Boilermakings isn’t always good news. With the retirement of the Big Dog, Purdue currently only has a trio of players in the NBA with Brad Miller, Brian Cardinal and Carl Landry. Landry just had a pretty good rookie year for a second round pick with Houston. Cardinal is using his oversized contract to tour the league as a bargaining chip. Miller, however, is apparently enjoying his offseason with the Kings a little too much.

As I was sitting at work I heard a news brief that Miller will miss the first five games of the 2008-09 season due to a drug violation. Brad Miller is just about the last player in the NBA I expected to hear involved in something like this, just ahead of John Stockton and A.C. Green. From the sounds of things he didn’t exactly go Tony Montana (or even Matt Jones) with the drugs, but a violation is a violation. Brad has done well in his career, turning an original 10 day contract after going undrafted into a pretty good career. This certainly won’t help matters.

Double secret probation?

I have to end Boilermakings this week with a comment on the end of a number of recent suspensions. I am not referring to Kellen Lewis down at Indiana. He did what he did and that is IU’s problem. Obviously, they are overjoyed that their one chance at a good season is returning. I am, instead, referring to the end of the indefinite suspension of Torri Williams and Nickaro Golding.

Both players are obviously guys that will probably see quite a bit of playing time because of the lack of depth on our defense. If they make it through Tiller’s program of monitoring over the summer they have the talent to be difference-makers on a defense that is desperately in need of them. Golding has a little more leeway since this was his first suspension, but with Williams one has to feel this is his last chance. There are some that are surprised that he even has this next chance, but I get the feeling that like Selwyn Lymon, his obvious talent is giving him chances he otherwise wouldn’t have.

Williams is an enigma because on the field he has been such a hard luck case. The poor guy can’t seem to stay healthy. If he can this year, he has the potential of really helping a 2009 defense that could be great if he gets a medical redshirt due to his injury in 2006. Off the field, however, it is obvious that he just doesn’t get it. This is obviously his last chance, and I hope he finally gets the message. Maybe allt he injuries have not allowed him to focus solely on football, therefore allowing other "distractions" to come into play. I don’t know, but I hope he finally gets it. If not, well, he’s been hurt so much that we’re used to not having him around.

Off the Tracks announcement:

Just a brief announcement here about the blog in general as a coda. I have recently agreed to join the Yardbarker network. Why, do you ask? Well, I would like some ad revenue, that’s why. I needs to get paid to keep up my standards of hookers and Krystal. I’m not yet sure how all this works, but for a preview of it feel free to head over to MGoblog for a look.