A lot of the SB Nation Big Ten sites are breaking down their respective basketball seasons player by player and there is always great basketball discussion going on here, so I thought I would do the same thing.
Officially, Purdue had six departures, four walk-ons, and five returning players, so I am planning on taking a look at all 14 players on the roster in those groups, respectively. First, let's look at the departures:
Terone Johnson - G - The four-year regular contributor scored his 1,000th career point and led the Boilermakers in scoring, but still took an unbelievable amount of grief from the fans because he did not do more. It was TJ that took the final shot of the season, as he attempted to show the senior leadership that many craved from him. His numbers were decent at 12 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game, but he was far from efficient.
Terone shot a paltry 40.5% from the field, so he had to work awfully hard to get those 12 points. He shot 35.6% from long range, but I would love to see his percentage on "threes taken while stepping into the shot from a pass" vs. "all other three point attempts". He seemed to be money when he could step in rhythm and shoot off the pass.
Another huge disappointment was his sad 58.1% shooting from the free throw line. From a guy that tries to get to the rim he was going to take a lot of free throws, but he was far from consistent once at the line.
We all wanted TJ to be The Man, but I fear he will go down much like D.J. Byrd. He is a great player to have when he is not the main option and defenses forget about him. When he is the focus of the team he isn't able to rise to the occasion.
Best game: TJ dropped 22 and looked great in the overtime loss to Michigan late in the season. It was his best game from there (4 for 8) and he almost single-handedly led Purdue to the upset.
Travis Carroll -F - Ah Tacos, a player that was once hoped to be a great forward, then lamented as a useless player, then eventually a fan favorite. I felt he was out of position, at least offensively, his entire career because he had enough of a jump shot to be a stretch four. Unfortunately, he lacked the quickness and strength needed on defense to play there.
Tacos saw action in 26 games and averaged only 7.1 minutes per game. When he was in, he played hard, however, and was one of the few players on the roster to give a consistent effort. He gave you his best every night, but his best often was not good enough to make a huge difference. He could give you a few rebounds, a putback basket, and a few screens, but not much else.
Best game: On senior day Tacos came off the bench to provide a spark and a season high seven first half points against Northwestern. He even hit one of only two three pointers he made all season. Unfortunately, he was the only player aware a college basketball game was going on that night as the regular season ended in one of the ugliest losses under coach Painter.
Jay Simpson - C - Simpson's career is done, as he entered this year with such promise, but a heart condition forced his retirement from basketball. We did get 26 games out of him, however, and the glimpse of that promise was evident several times as he averaged 4.3 points and 3.6 rebounds per game.
You have to wonder how much his physical limitations held him back. What was once deemed as stamina issues, which held him to only 12 minutes per night, can now be viewed as signs of that heart ailment. He still showed flashes of greatness, however. He had a nice touch from outside as a big man and could even hit the three.
Best game: Let's go with the 77-76 opening win over Northern Kentucky. With Hammons serving a suspension Simpson got the start and dropped 14 points in a season high 25 minutes on the Norse. Purdue barely survived, but without Simpson this is an embarrassing defeat.
Sterling Carter - G - Purdue only got Carter for 27 games before the ACL curse got him, but he was exactly what we needed. Carter tried to lead by example as a tenacious defender and even though he was a streak shooter, we knew he had a game where he could go "mad bomber" in him. That game was the last win of the season in which he dropped 19 on the Hoosiers despite averaging less than five points per game.
When combined with his Seattle career Carter had career low numbers, but I think you can still call his lone season in West Lafayette a success. He was a legitimate threat from long range that could take the pressure off of other players. He was second on the team in steals behind Bryson Scott and was one of the only players that brought constant effort on defense. I really wish he had another year in him, but ti feels like the team really mailed it in once he tore his ACL at Nebraska.
Best game: It has to be the Indiana game. He scored 10 straight points at the beginning of the second half to turn a close game against the hated Hoosiers into a rout. Even though he only played two more games in his career after that he'll go down in the lore of The Rivalry as a difference maker as Purdue ended a four-loss streak to IU.
Errick Peck - F - Peck was the second of the two graduate transfers and I also would consider him a success. I never expected him to be a guy to come in and drop 15 and 10 on teams, but Peck was perhaps the most consistent player on the entire team. He averaged 4.6 points and 3.6 rebounds per game while shooting 48% from the floor and 35% from three.
He was almost metronomic in those numbers too. He was going to give you 15-20 solid minutes each night, good hustle on the offensive glass, and the occasional three-pointer. He trailed only Hammons in offensive rebounds and I know he had to have led the team in offensive rebound putbacks for baskets.
Best game: At Iowa Peck had a career high 12 points and was 5 of 6 from the field with a pair of threes. Again, he contributed enough to keep Purdue close in a near road upset over a ranked team, but as a whole the Boilers could not get it done.
Ronnie Johnson - G - Unlike his brother Terone, who seems to have had fans mellow on him since the end of the season, Ronnie leaves town in bad form. His public comments about his transfer lend credence to the theory that he and coach Painter did not get along, and further rumors of his father's involvement and differences of opinion with Painter also show that something was far from right behind the scenes.
There was some good from Ronnie. He was the team's second leading scorer and primary distributor. If Purdue needed crunch time free throws he was the better choice than many to be taking them, but that is not saying a lot. Overall, he got better and shot better than he did as a true freshman. His turnovers were down too, but his final games as a Boilermaker did not go over well. He had 7 turnovers against Ohio State in the Big Ten Tournament as opposed to only three assists. He also had a 7 turnover game at Iowa and 26 of his season high 70 turnovers came in the final six games.
So where did Painter lose Ronnie? It is hard to say, but I heard rumors about his transfer close to the beginning of the Big Ten season. He played hard and put up good numbers even in late losses, but he often tended to rely only on his brother while on the floor. A solid point guard can't work that way.
Best game: He had 21 points against Michigan late in the season, but I am going to go with the close loss at Minnesota. In that game he had 12 points, 7 assists, and more importantly, no turnovers. That was the Ronnie Johnson we needed as Purdue almost pulled off a miraculous late comeback.