The Boilermaker Nation can now let out a collective sigh of relief following Sunday night's commitment of 2013 target Bryson Scott.
Hopefully the news will ease some people off the panic button. Despite the negative sentiment that seemed to be growing rampant in respect to Purdue basketball recruiting, MP knows what he's doing and is doing a great job.
And this held true even prior to Scott's commitment.
When Painter closed out the class of 2012 in late October of ‘09, the initial attitude seemed to be how nice it was going to be to sit back, relax, and watch other teams scramble to fill their rosters.
It turned out to be much easier said than done.
There was no way to anticipate the $*#% storm that the local media would kick up when Indiana picked up a handful of in-state recruits. It's hard not to get an inferiority complex when IU's Return To Greatness is the theme of the month for just about every media outlet in Indiana.
But in all honestly, I can't blame local media outlets for the crimson-heavy coverage. Partly because most the media caters to IU for demographic reasons and partly because IU landed some huge recruits and deserves the recognition. Purdue, quite frankly, didn't have as much to write about at the time either...
Unfortunately, the IU pride fest has caused many Purdue fans to lose sight our own recruiting successes that Purdue is enjoying. Hopefully Bryson Scott's commitment has help reinforce the notion that everything is still as bright as it was a year ago. Obviously Scott alone isn't what is to be excited about, but a player of Scott's caliber will serve as a great foundation to work off of.
In case you are still doubting Purdue's current state of recruiting, I'd like to attempt to drop some optimism on ya...
Obviously missing out on Branden Dawson and Chasson Randle has stung (to put it lightly). However, when it ‘s all said and done Purdue has a very solid 2011 class coming in ready to play next season.
- In addition to senior Robbie Hummel, the Boilermakers will get a huge frontcourt boost with the services Donnie Hale (Bridgton Academy) and Jacob Lawson (Oak Ridge). Both will arrive on campus ready to defend and rebound. Depending how their offensive games develop, both forwards have the skill sets and athleticism to be great Big Ten players. I've raved about these two for awhile so I will spare you my unabridged analysis of the pair.
- The trio of forwards will be joined by sharp-shooting redshirt Anthony Johnson. AJ will undoubtedly be anxious to make his mark after a year of practicing with the team and gaining strength. Anyone who saw AJ's in the exhibition games knows the 4 star SG will be confident and ready to compete for minutes out of the gate.
- Sure there is going to be plenty of question marks with the departure of E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson, but those question marks were an inevitability the day they stepped foot on campus. Robbie Hummel will assume the leadership role and help transition the team to post Class of 2007. Obviously Purdue's offense is going to have a brand new look, but Painter will have a lot of talent to work with....And it will keep getting better each year.
The 2012 class (which may not even be complete just yet) is another a very impressive haul that will add weapons in all areas. Rapheal Davis (Fort Wayne South Side), Jay Simpson (Champaign Central), and Kyle Molock (Dublin, OH) will each bring talent and a diverse skill set to a young and possibly rebuilding team.
- Rapheal Davis isn't hyped as much as some other recruits in his class, but I'd take him over anyone in the state. If anything, he's a victim of not being from Indianapolis. At 6'5 200 lbs he has the size to play 3 but the skill set to play 1 or 2. He played PG during AAU this past summer and demonstrated GREAT vision to go along with his ability to score at will. He'll come in ready to give the offensive a new weapon. With his size, he should be able to defend at multiple positions.
- You won't read about Jay Simpson Indiana, but the 6'8" 220 lbs forward is regarded as
one of the the top prospect in his class in Illinois. He has the size and natural talent to be a Draymond Green caliber player; however, his asthma and assertiveness are minor road blocks that need to be addressed for him to reach his true potential. I am not worried about the work ethic of anyone who is committed to play basketball for Matt Painter. Big men take time to develop and he has two more years before he steps foot on campus. He'll be a great pickup and will add depth to a already loaded front court.
- PG Dublin PG Kyle Molock will be out this season with an ACL injury, thus he'll likely be the unwarranted recipient of doubts and questions. Personally I am going to give him the benefit of the doubt that he'll be 100% recovered by the time he hits campus. A lot of people let his injury cloud their judgment of Molock when comparing him to players with more Rivals/Scout/ESPN stars. Don't forget, he is still a stud. (Case and point.) He was (and still is I assume) considered the top PG out of Ohio. Don't let the fact that he has 3 instead of 4 stars warp your perception of the kid. Barring any unfortunate snags in his recovery, Molock will be a great catch for Purdue.
- As I hinted before, Painter is still actively recruiting a 4th member for this class. He's been heavily recruiting Gary Harris (HSE), Jeremy Hollowell (LC), and DeJuan Merrero (Bowman) despite not currently having an opening.
Considering the talent in the class of 2013, Painter can afford to be very picky... but if he lands any of those three I'd be pleasantly thrilled.
- As I've mentioned many times before, the recruiting battle for the class of 2013 will be an in-state dog fight. It's going to be an old fashion Keady vs. Knight-esque battle for local talent. With the state packed full of high-major prospects and IU's undeniable momentum, this will be the first class that Matt Painter and Tom Crean really go head to head. As much as it pains me to see IU enjoy success, this is how it should be. And there's a good possibility that both teams will end up as "winners." Lucky for Purdue, the real winner will be decided by what is made of the talent.
- Devon Davis and Collin Hartman's commitment to IU was obviously a huge blow to Painter's 2013 plan, but it was likely a blessing in disguise. Both were obviously Purdue targets and Hartman was likely on track to get the Branden Dawson full court treatment. His early commitment means that Painter can shift his focus to other in-state targets. Hartman also showed interest in Illinois, OSU, and was a huge Duke fan so even if he didn't commit to IU his recruitment would have still been a battle.
- If I did not make myself clear, Bryson Scott's commitment was huge for Purdue for a plethora of reasons. He was recruited to play (and likely start) as a shooting PG. Purdue has seen the downsides of playing a pass first PG with a...uhh...developing shot. It has (and continues to) negatively impact the rest of the team offensively by making Purdue much easier to defend. Offensively, Scott is the antithesis of the Lewjack-style offense. He has demonstrated great vision as a PG, but he is also a huge scoring threat. His ranged extends past the 3 point line, but he's also not afraid to use his thick frame to bull rush the lane and finish strong to the hoop. After 3 more years of high school ball, he'll be very difficult to stop.
- Bryson Scott's commitment should also have a positive impact for other recruits in the class of 2013. Other targets considering Purdue will have the peace of mind that they'll be along side an elite-level point guard. With so many Purdue targets from inside the state borders, there is no doubt his name will carry some weight to it. (And hopefully carry a lot of weight to fellow Fort Waynian VJ Beachem.)
I'd like to preface with the fact that It's still early in the recruiting process and there is no pressure to close out the class in the near future. Some kids develop late and some kids don't develop as expected so there is no need to sound the alarm if Bryson is the only commitment for the next year. Don't forget what happened last time we closed the class out in a hurry...
- The 2013 outstanding targets that Painter has pursued the hardest are Basil Smotherman (Heritage Christian), Zak Irving (HSE), and VJ Beachem (FW Harding). Landing any of the 3 would be huge pickups.
- Additionally, Painter has been working on his networks in the Chicagoland area. He has been following Jabari Parker (Simeon), Jaylon Tate (De La Salle), and Kendall Stephens (St. Charles Il) closely, but it's to early to really gauge how serious Painter and the recruits are at this point. We'll definitely get an idea as their high school seasons progress.
- It's still early in the process and there is no reason to think that any of the 2013 targets will be making decision anytime soon. Matt Painter has casted a wide net of talented prospects and Bryson Scott will serve as an excellent foundation that should help entice prospects.
That pretty much concludes my scattered and possibly unreadable look into the future. I tip my hat (and apologize) to anyone that actually made it to the end of this novel.
Now lets get back to supporting Purdue in the present...