Big news in Boiler country, 4-star recruit Emmanuel Dowuona, a 6’9” big man from Miami, Florida, has announced he will be Coach Matt Painter’s second commitment to the class of 2018. He joins fellow ESPN100 big man Trevion Williams as freshman to be in 2018 in what has been an impressive string of big man dominance in the B10 for Purdue.
While Trevion Williams has been referred to as Biggie Lite, Emmanuel Dowuona follows more in the mold of more mobile Purdue big men like Jajuan Johnson or Jacquil Taylor. He is not an explosive vertical athlete, but he’s incredibly quick for a big man with long arms created to deter shots at the rim.
Dowuona’s defensive potential is limitless. He’s the modern defensive center - long arms and quick feet. He’s able to cover the ground necessary to hedge on pick and rolls, stopping the penetration before returning safely to his man or switching onto the smaller man and preventing any clean looks at the rim.
On offense, Dowuona shows a lightning quick first step and nice touch around the rim. He’s effective in the in-between area of the paint, softly dropping in hook shots or floaters. His release on his jump shot is high above his head, and the movement in his lower body is minimal. While not a long-range shooter, he shows the foundation of a big man capable of knocking down the fifteen footer with consistency.
He’s not a bruiser, but his first step and body control around the rim could create problems for any big man that isn’t quick on his feet. Dowuona isn’t a high-flyer, but he’s constantly around the basket. He gets up quick and his long arms allows him to get to offensive rebounds.
Dowuona is the perfect complement to Williams who despite a larger skill-set, is less of an explosive athlete and less versatile on the defensive end. The two players should be able to share the floor and Dowuona’s ability to cover ground will make up for any lateral limitations Williams might have.
The exciting part, is he has most of the physical tools you can’t teach. The tools you can teach? Purdue’s staff has cornered the market on developing big man. Raw talents like Jajuan Johnson and A. J. Hammons have both been turned into All-Americans and Big Ten Defensive players of the year under Coach Painter’s staff. There’s not a college that develops skill sets and adds athleticism as well as Purdue.
Dowuona comes in with all the check marks of a potential difference maker in the front court on a team that will be losing Isaac Haas after the 2018 season along with three other seniors. Expect Dowuona and Williams to be the cornerstones going forwards in the front court.
Coach Painter is still in the hunt to add to a 2018 class that will be vital to fill in the holes of four seniors, but with basketball, just one or two recruits can make the difference in a program for years forwards. Each addition - especially 4-star big men - is a huge step forward in sustaining the success and culture that Painter has built back up in West Lafayette.
Dowuona is an exciting, versatile big man, and he will joining a staff that gets the most out of their big men.
Go ahead, start licking your chops Boiler fans. This kid is gonna be exciting.