Keith is at Big Ten Basketball Media Day in Chicago today, so he will have a full update later. Follow him on Twitter at @BoilermkrHero.
Donnie Hale really wanted to be a Boilermaker. He was willing to reclassify and come as part of the 2011 recruiting class because he knew there wasn't room for him last year. The sad thing is that we really could have used him last season after Robbie Hummel went down, but he is here now. Instead, he headed off to Maine to attend Bridgton Academy after graduating from New Albany High in 2010.
While at New Albany he was an Indiana All-Star. At 6'8" 212 pounds he was the difference-maker on a solid New Albany team that was 19-3 when he was a senior, but they were upset 59-57 in the sectional by bitter rival Jeffersonville. The year before that New Albany was 23-1 with their sole loss coming to Bloomington South in the regional. South went on to win their first of two state championships in three seasons. As a sophomore New Albany was again undefeated, only to lose to Julian Mavunga, Gordon Heyward, and Brownsburg in the semi-state. That put him at 68-5 in his last three years at New Albany, but the Bulldogs had early exits in the tournament each time.
Still, he was a highly sought power forward and an automatic double-double, something we could definitely use. It is hoped that he and Jacob Lawson can hold down the power forward spot this season while Travis Carroll and Sandi Marcius play the five. This would allow Robbie to play outside as a three and destroy most other threes we would face. If anything, the arrival of Hale actually gives us depth in the post that we have never had under coach Painter. We may not have a true space-eating center, but we now have a bevy of versatile forwards.
Hale scored 1,236 points and grabbed 620 rebounds in his career at New Albany. That shows he is ready to go inside and do some of the dirty work we desperately need. Here is the last recruiting update andy did on Hale from last season. He was a 15 and 10 guy there, and we should be getting a quality player. Remember: Cuonzo Martin, David Teague, and Keaton Grant all went there before coming to Purdue.
We all know what it will take for Hale to see the floor. He is going to have to work and adapt to coach Painter's system. The amount of playing time he gets will be directly proportional to the work he puts in. It is clear that he is a player at a position of need, but nothing will be given.