Last season Purdue only had one legitimate three-point threat, and he was a freshman at that. As good as he is, the Boilers need someone else to step up and help carry the load so he can thrive. Otherwise, he becomes D.J. Byrd in 2012-13, where the opposition knows that he is the only long-range option and they key on him.
Kendall Stephens - So.
St. Charles, IL (St. Charles East HS)
2014-15 Projection: Starter at Shooting Guard
A lot was expected of Kendall last season. As the son of one of our best players ever, he was expected to solve the shooting woes that had plagued us a season earlier. The problem with that is that we got rid of our only shooter (Byrd) and gained just one shooter. As a team Purdue attempted 538 3-pointers, but 173 were attempted by Stephens. The only other player that attempted over 100 was Terone Johnson.
In terms of made threes, Stephens had 64 of the 176 Purdue made as a team. Johnson was second with 37 made triples, but the shooting game may get even larger this season. While Stephens returns, Johnson (37 of 104), Sterling Carter (28 of 91), Ronnie Johnson (17 of 56) and Errick Peck (11 of 31) are all gone as four of Purdue's top 6 3-point shooters.
So, Kendall is still going to be a gunner, but will he have help? Only Rapheal Davis (9 of 33) tried more than 15 triples among the returning players. His freshman season was successful at 8 points per game, but he needs more of an all-around game. He had less than two rebounds and one assists per game. Having Dakota Mathias will help, but has Stephens improved his defense enough to play them both at the same time? Can Davis, Vince Edwards, Jon Octeus, or anyone else hit the three with enough regularity to take some of the pressure off of him? If so, he can gun it like Ryne Smith. If not, he becomes Byrd, trying to get off challenged shots as opposed to open looks.