Purdue Basketball is known nationally for a few things; staunch defense (see: Chris Kramer), being scrappy, Robbie Hummel's ACL. A couple things it is not typically known for, like most Big 10 schools, are scoring or style. However, in our first three regular season games, that's primarily what we got. I've seen more dunks in 3 games this season than I think I did in a month of play last season... and it's pretty great. Additionally, we have guys like John Hart and Terone Johnson coming off the bench and having consistently big games. And finally, JJ and E'twaun have games we were all expecting of them against a 2010 NCAA Tournament Team.
Let's face it: the teams we have played thus far in the regular season aren't what we'd call our "primary competition." It's easy to dismiss our performances in these games due to the talent level we have been up against, but I think these games go a long way to reveal the potential a team has. Here are a few of my notes:
- Terone Johnson - How long before this kid is starting? Anyone wanna place some bets? The only thing about his game that really needs work is his turnovers and assists, which will come with more on-court game experience.
- John Hart - Versatility. He can shoot, he can drive, he can dunk, he can steal, he can make effective passes. I don't know what else we want from a guy, especially off the bench. I'm surprised he's not starting, too. Very impressed with him thus far.
- Momentum and Tempo Control - Oakland opened very strong against our Boilermakers, and many fans started to get a little wary of how that game would shake out. However, halfway through the first we had made up a fairly large deficit and kept it close going into halftime. The team wasn't shaken by a rocky start and rallied to get things going in the right direction, controlling the ball and playing Purdue basketball.
- Depth and Endurance - We ultimately took over the Oakland game by wearing down our opponents. This basketball has great depth and a lot of players that can play multiple roles. Additionally, our key players have excellent endurance. It is scary to think that JaJuan stayed in the game for 40 minutes to handle Keith Benson when we could've gone stretches without him on the court and still been just as productive.
- Dunks and Style - I mentioned this before the jump, but wowwie wow wow. Kelsey Barlow's dunk assists are the best part of his game. John Hart's dunk in the last game was a stunner, and just what we needed to get the fans going. JJ's windmill from under the hoop was a thing of beauty. And then, there was the "One Dunk to Rule Them All": E'twaun's ridiculous, one-handed, Michael Jordan-esque super alley oop. I was almost in tears after that dunk. I was in college basketball bliss.