We made it guys. Game week. 5 Days.
The Boilermakers are coming off a season where they won the Big Ten by two games. They’ll be returning four seniors in the starting lineup. They’ve represented the United States and won silver in the World University Games. They’re ranked in the top 20 to start the year.
With that much experience and talent, Purdue doesn’t have to worry about their floor. They’re going to be a very good basketball team. They could be special.
The ceiling of this team will likely be defined by the newcomers like our five day countdown player Eden Ewing. Ewing comes to Purdue via Junior College in Texas. He was a three-star recruit out of high school and had offers from LSU, Fresno State, and Iowa State.
Purdue’s front court is both crowded and unknown. Isaac Haas and Vincent Edwards will take a majority of the minutes, but the rest of the names all have question marks.
Can Jacquil Taylor stay healthy this year? If he does, there’s your minutes at the center spot.
Is Matt Haarms actually ahead of schedule? It appears the 7’2” slender man might be ready to provide some minutes at either big spot. He was really good in Purdue’s last exhibition game of the season.
Aaron Wheeler might be the best athlete at Purdue since Glenn Robinson. He’s big enough to play the four, but might be best suited at wing once he finds a shot.
Then there’s Eden Ewing, who has struggled to get on the floor for Purdue in the off-season. He played sparingly at the University Games. He’s a classic tweener - not quite big enough to bang, but not skilled enough to play the perimeter. His game seems to rely on decent athleticism and an in-between game.
His biggest issue has been foul trouble. On defense, he’s been all reaching limbs and blown whistles. He’ll need to defend to find meaningful playing time. Despite coming in as a sophomore, expect a similar learning curve. JuCo competition is not quite the same as playing in the Big Ten.
But Ewing’s value is obvious. That same tweener label is a compliment. It’s part of the push for position-less basketball. Ewing has already gotten rave reviews from his teammates about his attitude and his experience should help the freshman joining the program with him.
Purdue opens their season Friday against SIU Edwardsville.