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35 Days to Purdue Basketball: Rapheal Davis

Purdue's junior small forward is expected to be a team leader in 2014-15.

Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

Before getting Jon Octeus earlier this week Purdue had a dearth of upper class leadership. Only two scholarship guys, Rapheal Davis and A.J. Hammons, have been here longer than two seasons. Davis has always been the more vocal of the two:

Rapheal Davis - Jr.

Hometown: Fort Wayne, IN (La Lumiere HS)

Shooting Guard/Small forward

6'5" 211 pounds

2014 prediction: Starter

I think we're going to start to see Davis assert himself as a three more and more this coming season. He wants to lead, as evidenced by what he said late last season:

"I have been trying to be a leader through my actions. Playing hard, rebounding, playing defense, doing the little things to help us win. Whatever Coach Painter asks me to do."

Purdue desperately needs that leadership, especially on the defensive end. Last season Davis was up and down. He averaged 6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and shot 43% from the field. He's always been up and down in his two-year career. His career high was 21 against Notre Dame as a freshman and he had a big 18 point game last season at Iowa, but he also has gone long stretches without scoring. As he got more minutes last season his numbers improved.

Purdue will get more out of Davis this season almost out of necessity. With both Johnson brothers gone Davis' role in the offense should expand. As a three, he needs to be able to defend as well as score inside and out. He hasn't been a terribly reliable three-point shooter in his career, but he does have his spot (right corner) that he seems to favor. This shot has to get better to open up Purdue's offense. The motion offense is much better when we have more than Kendall Stephens and Dakota Mathias as legitimate three-point threats. In turn, his scoring ability will open things up for Hammons.