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Purdue And Errick Peck: How Do they Fit?

Purdue has Errick Peck on board, so what does it mean?


Purdue Basketball received some much-needed good news on Wednesday when Errick Peck announced his decision to use his final season of eligibility in West Lafayette after playing for Cornell for three plus seasons. Peck was a key reserve as true freshman in 2009-10 on a Cornell team that reached the Sweet 16 and missed the entire 2011-12 season due to a knee injury, opening the door for his transfer to a bigger program.

The numbers are good but far from overwhelming. As a 6'6" 223 pound forward he averaged 9.7 points, 4.8 rebounds, and 1.6 for Cornell in 2012-13 coming off of injury. How does he fit in with Purdue though?

First, your updated Scholarship Grid:


Outside Shooting

One of Purdue's biggest vulnerabilities in 2012-13 was the lack of any outside shooting aside from D.J. Byrd. Byrd was 79 of 218 from three with Terone Johnson next on the team at 37 of 107. the only player with more than 10 or more made threes for the entire season was Rapheal Davis, who was 10 of 33, and two of those ten came against Western Illinois in the CBI.

Peck at least brings the threat of the outside shot. He was 14 of 43 last year and 25 of 66 as a sophomore. For his career he is 45 of 127 for a respectable 35% average. With Byrd gone much of the same load is going to fall on Kendall Stephens. It is not like Purdue is going to suddenly be full of snipers, but Terone is at least a threat from outside and Davis, Ronnie Johnson, and Peck should at least be decent.

Purdue still needs more production and development from the guys returning as opposed to those just entering the program, but everyone knew Byrd was taking threes last year. Now there will at least be a little mystery and teams don't have to focus solely on one player on the perimeter.

A Better Barlow?

Peck was a high school teammate of the infamous Kelsey Barlow, and what we lost in Barlow's dismissal from the program and a year of his services could be given back even better. Peck is a slightly bigger, stronger version of GDB. He is not afraid to work on the glass and get rebounds. He defends well with the ability to block the occasional shot or get the occasional steal. He can distribute the ball if necessary, though I don't think he will serve as a backup point guard like GDB.

Ultimately I'd like to see him work as a run, rebound, and defend guy that is capable of scoring the ball, just like Barlow was doing before his dismissal. That is not a bad thing.

Senior Leadership

Right now, Purdue has Terone Johnson and Travis Carroll as upperclassmen and that is it. TJ is a player that could be an all-Big Ten talent this year, but Carroll is a hard-working career backup that does some things well, some things poorly, and is more of a reserve than a difference-maker. They are the only two players on the roster that have played in an NCAA Tournament game.

The rest of the roster is comprised of two walk-ons, four sophomores, and four freshmen. That's it. Peck brings in a calming presence that has played in a lot of ballgames and has been through a lot of wars. At Cornell he has played against some decent non-conference opponents (Wisconsin, Duke, Syracuse, Minnesota, Kansas, and Kentucky) so he knows what big games feel like.

As long as Peck meshes well with the roster he helps fill a leadership vacuum. Since he is an Indiana kid on a roster full of them I think he'll do fine.

Projected lineup:

With Peck on board here is how I can see the lineup working out:

Smaller, quicker starting five:

PG: Ronnie Johnson - So.

SG: Terone Johnson - Sr.

SF: Rapheal Davis - So.

PF: Errick Peck - GS

C: A.J. Hammons - So.

That's a pretty quick, athletic starting five that can spread the floor and open things up for Hammons. All four are at least capable outside shooters, and if the volume can come this season that will help Purdue immensely. All can create their own shots as well.

Big Five:

PG: Ronnie Johnson - So.

SG: Terone Johnson - Sr.

SF: Errick Peck - GS

PF: Donnie Hale - So.

C: A.J. Hammons - So.

People have been up and down on Hale, but with the loss of Lawson and Marcius he is now our second best post player by default. I can also see Carroll starting in this role based on experience alone. Carroll is better away from the basket, but doesn't have the size or strength to really pound down low defensively. Hale is slightly better there, but Carroll's hustle was better last season.

Let us not forget Jay Simpson here. The big man can give us a pair of twin towers to cause havoc in the paint defensively like the Pacers are currently doing with Roy Hibbert and David West. Simpson easily could pass Hale and Carroll in the rotation.

Top reserves:

PG: Bryson Scott - Scott is going to be a bulldog and compete for minutes immediately.

SG: Kendall Stephens - With Anthony Johnson gone Stephens is going to get even more minutes. Everyone was talking about his shooting prowess, but Ic an see him starting off as a Ryne Smith/Byrd guy when both were coming off the bench and sniping from long range before teams knew about them and they were starting.

SF: Peck/Davis I think Davis and Peck are our best options here regardless of if we go big or small.

PF: Travis Carroll - Name Purdue's best shooter from the field last season. It was Carroll, who was a stunning 62.5% (25 of 40). You know what you're going to get from Travis. He's going to give you 8-10 minutes of hard work every night, a couple of rebounds, a decent mid-range jumper, and generally scrappy play. We could do worse in that regard. I still like Tacos' jumper enough that I'd love to see him become a three-point shooter (he is 2 of 6 in his career), but I feel the same about Hale, who also shot well from long range in HS.

I would love to have TC as a reserve at the three, but he is not quick enough to defend opposing threes.

C: When Hammons needs a spell Purdue is going to go small. I see Simpson, Carroll, and Hale splitting his reserve minutes, but we could have really used the Chooch in this spot.

From all this it looks like Peck is a key addition. He is more of a forward when Purdue needs another one on the floor, but not a hulking power forward to protect Hammons' weak side. He can bring his defender away from the basket to open up the motion offense, and Purdue was sorely lacking that in 2012-13.

Finally, here is a video I shot after getting some info from the Cornell basketball blog: