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Exhibition One: An Introduction and A Re-Introduction

Exhibitions can be a funny thing.  You can glean from them very little, sometimes, or you can erase the woes of an entire season.  That, my friends, is what Patrick Bade did on a chilly November 2nd evening inside Mackey.  More about that after the jump.  

My name is Jordan.  I'm a fifth-year senior here at our Old Purdue, studying the the school of Technology and Minoring in Political Science.  I'm an avid sports fan, following everything from college basketball to European Soccer to both professional and college football.  I've been to nearly every single game in the past five years, including most of the games in the Big10 and NCAA Tournaments. 

I'm excited that T-Mills brought myself and my compatriots (John and Keith) of the Boilermaker Hero Variety in to write a student's perspective.  You can follow me on Twitter at @Jordan_Legend and on YouTube at (Note:  YouTube content may not be suitable for children).

Now that our pleasantries are out of the way, let's get to what you really care about:  Purdue Men's Hoops.  Below you will find my comments for each player or group of players, starting with our starters, then moving to the bench and the freshmen.  

  • JaJuan Johnson - Let me start my saying that JaJuan will be the lightning rod of this team.  His passion down low and his ability to step out and knock down a 15+ footer will be key to building momentum during this season.  As for tonight's initial impressions, my first thought was that the big fella looks much broader in the shoulders and upper arms.  I was very pleased with the idea of having someone so tall and lean have a lot of upper body strength.  Otherwise, little has changed - great ability on both sides of the ball at the glass, either throwing down dunks or rejecting shots.  

  • E'Twaun Moore - I have two things to report on Smooge.  First, I don't know what happened, but his hands are amazing.  The guy literally was catching high speed passes around the arc and down the court with one hand and effortlessly putting them in places the defender couldn't follow.  He's like a magician or something, it's beautiful to watch.  Huge style points.  Secondly, his shot selection is much better.  With Rob out, Smooge will take the brunt of the defensive pressure, and he knows it.  He's putting up shots like a grizzled old veteran of the program, and it's impressive.
  • Lewis Jackson - The one thing that stood out to me about LewJack's playing was what he did in transition.  His awareness of, well, everything was pretty crazy.  The guy's keeping himself between the basket and the ball on defense but is also tracking down picks and passes.  He could be a steal animal this season, and look for Painter to call on him to crack the press.
  • Ryne Smith - Ryne will benefit from E'twaun's defensive woes (clarification:  the defensive pressure E'Twaun will undeniably receive).  He will serve to be the kick-and-shoot guy, and tonight he looked pretty dang good doing it.  Like I said in one of my tweets, "In Spokane, I saw Ryne Smith hit 36 3 pointers in a row.. while blindfolded.. with JJ on his back.. from his room at the Davenport Hotel."   And you know what?  I was serious.  If this kid shoots half as well come game time as he does for the media, we will have our 3 point threat.  At the same time, his D-Game has gone from pestering to downright annoying.. let's see if he can't keep it up against the Big10's better guards.
  • PATRICK BADE - My, oh my.  What a game for Big Bade.  "The Understudy" must have been listening to The Great White Hope, after all.   He was fast to the ball off the glass, he had quality shot selection, and he made some cuts on inbounding plays that made me stand briefly with my mouth agape in wonder (bad idea in an arena full of college kids with sick senses of humor).  I don't know what else to say other than this is the Hummel-Lite we've been looking for.  This is what happens when someone plays at their intended position.
  • The Bench - John Hart was statistically the best player on the team, and looked it.  He did it all tonight, and did a great job replacing Ryne's kick-out jump-shooting role.  DJ Byrd came off a lot of good screens and had some very good looks at the basket.  He looks imposing like CK3 did, and could go places defensively. Kelsey Barlow was easily the biggest disappointment of the night after his 2010 March performance.  He looked lost in the offense AND defense most of the time and made a handful of turnover-forcing errors.
  • The Freshmen - Johnson and Johnson (Terone and Anthony) were great tonight.  They were almost interchangeably good to me, with a slight advantage to Anthony, who is both physically scary and skillfully imposing.  They seem like Smooge Jr.'s, but I didn't get to see a whole lot of defining play out of them.  Travis Carroll may or may not be the new Patrick Bade.  Time will tell.  He also looked a little lost and nervous.  I think Matty can coach him up, though.

General Offensive Comments

  • Picked up after first media timeout
  • Flashes of cohesive brilliance
  • Overall pretty good shooting
  • A couple miscues and missed passes
  • Too many turnovers, especially in first half

General Defensive Comments

  • Good ball awareness
  • Great speed to the ball off the glass
  • Interesting zone rotations sometimes (leaving Ryne in the paint alone at one point)
  • Sometimes too focused on the ball, leaving offensive players chances to get open
In foresight, I imagine this season to be likened to The Iliad, The Odyssey, or Dante's Inferno.  This season may be Matt Painter's greatest work yet, and I am excited to see what he can do with what he has in front of him.  Like I've said many times:  either you're with us or you aren't.  If you are, you better stick it out to the end.  If you're not, get out of our way.  Got it?

Be a Hero.  Be a Legend.  Be a Boilermaker.