Today's player is basically Bobby Buckets. He is a townie that walked on to the basketball team, but has already earned some first half laying time when coach Painter has wanted to send a message. Before the season he was awarded one of the open scholarships that Purdue had, so for at least this year he is on the school's dime.
Stephen Toyra - Jr.
Lafayette, IN (Faith Christian HS)
6'3", 180 pounds
2014-15 Projection: Possible contributor at guard
When Toyra came to Purdue I didn't know what to expect. He played at a school that wasn't even officially a member of the IHSAA yet, but he averaged 23 points and 8 rebounds as a senior. In his final three seasons of HS ball he averaged over 20 points per game, but again, Faith Christian wasn't IHSAA yet. He wasn't playing the best competition.
Since coming to Purdue he has embodied the spirit that we look for in a Purdue basketball player. I will be blunt: He has played first half minutes (against Penn State as a freshman and Michigan as a sophomore) because he played with a lot more heart than previous guards.
As a freshman he only had two points, which came in the home win over Northwestern. Last season he had 12 points, four coming when he played extensive minutes at Michigan. What I like about him is that Painter is not afraid to use him as a motivational weapon. He is a smart player that won't try to play beyond his means, but he is going to play hard. Painter has shown that if someone isn't going to play hard, he'll put Toyra in because he knows that he will give maximum effort.