There is a lot of motion on the basketball recruiting front of late. Bryson Scott and Basil Smotherman have been active this week with two exhibitions against the Indiana Junior All-Stars. Those games included multiple 2014 targets playing on the junior side as well. Tonight and tomorrow the Senior All-Stars will take on the Kentucky seniors featuring one-time commit Derek Willis. Tonight's game is in Louisville, while tomorrow's is at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Both Smotherman and Scott have been very active this week as the seniors earned a pair of victories over the juniors. The seniors won 106-95 in Sullivan on Monday and 133-111 at Tipton on Wednesday. Scott was infamously a snub last season on the junior all-stars, possibly because of his intensity:
In my five years of covering the IndyStar Indiana All-Stars, maybe no player has intrigued my "What's next?" curiosity as much as Bryson Scott. The 6-2 guard from Fort Wayne Northrop plays basketball like the green flag is waving at the Indianapolis 500, gas pedal pressed to the floorboard.
The Purdue recruit has rubbed some people the wrong way at times, with his omission from the core six Junior All-Stars last year as a prime example. What Scott saw as "tenacity and passion" others saw as out-of-control behavior.
This is something I can attest to. I talked to Bryon after his Northrop team lost at Kokomo in overtime to end the regular season and he carries himself with an intensity that Purdue fans will love. In spending only 5-10 minutes talking to him you could tell he has the exact attitude that Purdue needs. He is going to come in and light a fire under players on the roster. He is the type that might go a little too hard in practice and piss off an upper classman, but coach Painter will back him up.
In Monday's exhibition Scott was an impressive 8 of 11 from the field and 3 of 4 from the line for 19 points. He also added two assists and two rebounds, all in just 17 minutes. On Wednesday at Tipton He was 6 of 10 from the floor and 4 of 5 at the line for 17 points with four assists and 8 rebounds. In both games he was regularly on the floor after loose balls and outworking everyone else on the floor.
Rest assured, everyone. We're going to love Bryson Scott in Gold and Black.
Smotherman did not put up eye-popping stats in both games, but showed that he is going to be a great complimentary player at Purdue on his athleticism alone. At Sullivan he was only 2 of 2 from the floor with four points and five rebounds, but one was an impressive two-handed dunk. At Tipton he was 3 of 3 with six points and five rebounds and another dunk. He showcased that he will be a scorer of opportunity at Purdue and one that may not fill up the basket, but will be there for key baskets via positioning, rebounding, and athleticism.
It is clear that both players are going to fit in nicely with coach Painter's system. Their attitude is sorely needed after last year. From multiple reports both played with a "give-a-shit" turned on, something Purdue lacked for long stretches in 2012-13.
Class of 2014
As mentioned, several targets were on the floor in both games Monday and Wednesday. With Dakota Mathias on board Purdue has a maximum of four slots open in the class of 2014, but I think coach Painter saves at least one spot for 2015 since there would be none (as it stands now) if he signs a five-man class.
P.J. Thompson - The rising point guard from Brebeuf in Indianapolis was impressive on Monday he was 5 of 11 from the field and hit on four three-pointers for 14 points with two assists. I saw him in person against Lebanon and he might be a tad undersized, but he is still an impressive playmaker. I can see Purdue adding him as a caddy for Ronnie Johnson for a year or two before giving him the keys as a junior. Thompson played only in Monday's game, as the Juniors had a core six that played with a north six at Tipton and a separate group of six players from the south at Sullivan.
Trevon Bluiett - Bluiett was a member of the core six that played in both games and showed why with 36 points over both games. He had 22 at Sulivan on 8 of 15 shooting and an impressive five steals. He only had 12 at Tipton on 6 of 13 from the field, but added five rebounds. He was recently moved to No. 41 nationally on the ESPN top 100, but I still think getting him is a longshot with HS teammate Kevin Ferrell at Indiana. It is too bad too, because he would be a great player to get.
Mack Mercer - Mercer, from Plymouth was also a member of the core six and played in both games. He only had eight points at Sullivan but shoed nice touch for a big man by stepping out and hitting two three. He only had three rebounds, however. At Tipton he had just four points and three rebounds, but added four blocked shots on defense. At 6'9" Purdue looking at him as a power forward, but Robbie Hummel showed us that a tall forward who can stroke it from long range is deadly.
Tyler Ulis - While he is from Illinois and did not take part in this Indiana-centric event he was recently moved to No. 38 on the ESPN Top 100. Purdue is on his final list of schools.
Reid Travis - Purdue has offered the 6'8" power forward from Minnesota who is ranked No. 40 nationally and he has narrowed his list to 15 schools, but he did not name them in this recent article:
I don't want wait out the decision, so I think once summer basketball is done, I should be able to just narrow my list all the way down to one, hopefully in the fall.
Complicating the issue is that he is also a highly recruited football player.
Class of 2015
There is not much that can be said with this group, as we need to find out how big the 2014 class is before we worry about 2015. As always, a transfer or early departure to the NBA (A.J. Hammons?) can drastically change things. Any 2015 commit right now takes one of the four open slots away from 2014 or is a hedge against someone leaving. Officially Purdue has offered 4-star recruits Jalen Brunson, Hyron Edwards, James Bolden, Jordan Ash, Jalen Coleman, and Luke Kennard. Brunson rates as a five-star on ESPN.
Class of 2016
The only offer outstanding here is Eron Gordon, whom Purdue has been on early. When he has two older brothers that played at Indiana, however...