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24 Days to Purdue Basketball: Grady Eifert

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One of two seniors this year, Eifert looks to build on an improbable jump in minutes his junior season.

NCAA Basketball: Purdue at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Grady Eifert - Sr.

Fort Wayne, In

6’6”, 220 pounds

Wing

2018-19: Key Reserve/ Defensive Specialist

Grady Eifert didn’t just set career-highs in every measuring category last year during his junior campaign, he obliterated them.

Eifert came to West Lafayette as a preferred walk-on. When scholarships freed up, he was rewarded one. But it was never guaranteed his role would be more than mop up duty in blow outs.

In his first two seasons, Eifert played 72 minutes, scored 22 points, and grabbed 8 rebounds. He played 300 minutes last season. He scored 57 points and had 60 rebounds. I’m not good at math, so let’s just leave it at that’s a whole lot more than he had accrued before.

It wasn’t just numbers adding up on his stat sheet. He became a vital part of the team. Eifert has great size for his mobility. At 6’6” he has the size to guard multiple positions and his strength and hustle allows him to battle big men for boards. When Vincent Edwards went down with an ankle injury at the end of the season, it was Eifert’s number that was called to start in his place.

When Purdue was in a back and forth battle with Butler in the NCAA tournament, it was Eifert that was diving on the floor for loose balls and coming up with defensive stops. He became an invaluable change of pace for Coach Painter. A player that could defend his butt off while not doing too much on offense.

It’s unlikely his minutes will rise much over the 300 threshold of last season. Eifert still isn’t an offensive threat and Painter won’t have as many sure fire way towards points as he did last season. Eifert doesn’t hurt the spacing nearly as much when everyone else on the floor with him is a threat to shoot from anywhere. That won’t be the case this year.

But Eifert will be one of only two seniors. There will be six freshman that will potentially find time in a cluttered but unproven rotation. Eifert has proven his worth and is one of the few consistent wings Painter will be able to go to throughout the season. He’s now been through a Big Ten Title chase. He’s battled in March. He knows what’s in store for a team that will have five players who have never played a Big Ten game.

He’s still one of Purdue’s best defenders. He needs to add some kind of jump shot to be a full offensive weapon, but he moves well off the ball, cutting hard to the hoop and he swings the ball quickly on offensive. He’s a good offensive rebounder and doesn’t turn the ball over.

We are just over three weeks away from basketball. It will be Grady Eifert’s last season, but don’t expect it to be any different than the first three. Expectations will be too low, production will be high, and he’ll continue to represent all the things we value in Gold and Black.