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12 Days To Purdue Basketball: Kelsey Barlow

Kelsey Barlow drives us crazy as Purdue fans. He is freakishly athletic, but has sometimes taken some plays off in his career. He can ignite the crowd with a coast-to-coast ruthless throwdown, or he can unravel four months of hard work by getting himself suspended for the NCAA Tournament. He'll lock the opposition down on defense, or he'll do something dumb like throw up the choke gesture in Assembly Hall.

That's why we call him GDB.

There's almost no middle ground with him. It's either "Godammit, Barlow!" when he does something frustrating or "God Damn, Barlow!" when he does something amazing. Right now he is about as far into the doghouse as possible because of whatever happened to get hisuspended for the postseason last year. His defensive intensity is irreplaceable, so when he was lost for the Big Ten Tournament and NCAA Tournament in March it threw everything off. After surpassing all expectations and showing that a Final Four run was possible it all came crashing down in an embarrassing defensive effort against VCU.

It's tough to call if Barlow makes a difference in that game. On the one hand, he is a key defender and his mere presence allows us to rotate better and simply rest guys against a furious attack. on the other hand, everyone sucked defensively and was a turnstile when we got flat outplayed.

We know what we're going to get offensively from GDB. He can occasionally hit the three or the mid-range jumper, but he does most of his work slashing to the basket. He is an effort guy that could be a hell of a rebounder if we turned him loose to crash the glass on every shot. I've been calling for this for some time, and it has paid off in a few games. He had a career high 11 boards against Indiana State and had 8 against IU in Mackey.

Word is that we're getting good GDB, and Painter has said he has come a long way since his suspension. We never got official word on his suspension. Rumors ranged from drugs to kicking Ryne Smith through a plate glass window. The bottom line is that we need him to get his head on straight and be good GDB for a full season. He brings to us size and athleticism that no one else on the roster brings. I would rather not have him on the team than have to deal with more bad GDB.