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14 Days to Purdue Basketball: Ryan Cline

The likely lone senior in the starting lineup will finally get his chance for the spotlight.

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-Midwest Regional Practice Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan Cline

Sr. | Carmel, IN

Wing | 6’6” | 195 lbs

Role: Starter

Somehow we’re here, the two week mark. Just 14 days and Purdue basketball will be back.

It’s been a weird collegiate journey for Ryan Cline, who finished second behind former teammate Caleb Swanigan for Mr. Indiana his senior year of high school. The kid from Carmel came to West Lafayette with the moniker of sharp shooter and has mostly lived up to that reputation from his very first game in Mackey Arena where he went 4 of 6 from three against North Carolina A&T.

He has been one of the nation’s most consistent shooters for all three of his season. For his career he’s 127 for 319. That .398% from deep is the 13th best mark in school history. He’s made at least 40 threes all three seasons in his career while shooting at least 38%.

Despite this consistency in production, the minutes have never really been there. Ryan Cline has been stuck behind Purdue’s leading three-point shooter in history, Dakota Mathias, for the entirety of his career. Combine that with the Carsen Edwards explosion this past season, there just haven’t been the kind of minutes available to Cline that he’d get most places.

But that changes now. The roster looks clear for Ryan Cline to not only start, but to be the main perimeter threat across from Carsen Edwards all season.

Cline’s improvements have been subtle over the three years. His shooting has mostly remained the same, and he’s always been a good passer, but he controlled the ball even better last season. He led the team in assist to turnover ratio (3.32), an impressive feat for a team with four seniors, two of which are near the top of the schools assist to turnover ratio record in P.J. Thompson and Dakota Mathias.

But most importantly for this team, Cline has went from a complete defensive liability to a surprisingly effective one this last season. He had some key possessions in the NCAA tournament game against Butler where he drew the Kelan Martin match-up when Mathias went to the bench. Purdue will start a shooting guard in Carsen Edwards who is under six foot. The size of Cline at 6’6” and Nojel Eastern, also 6’6”, will be vital to allowing for Edwards to not get outsized in his match-up.

Cline’s improvement will have to continue in all areas. He’ll be asked to score more than he ever has. He’s often been too willing to let the offense move around him while he soaked up attention but not being aggressive. His career-high in points per game is just 5.4 during his sophomore season. He averaged only over four shots per game that season. He will need to be a consistent focal point for an offense and he will have to create baskets, not just for other people, but for himself. He’s started to show more of a willingness to drive, but he still lacks the quickness to continuously get to the hoop. He will have to use the leverage of his shot to create space for himself.

But expect his shooting to take a natural uptick. Cline will. for the first time in his career, know that the minutes are his to have. He’ll have the luxury and breathing room to be aggressive and not worry about being taken out of the game no matter how well he’s playing.