F - C | 6’8” | 220 lbs.
Lake Forest, IL
Role: Starting PF / Sixth Man
We’re just 12 days away from Purdue’s opening regular season game against Fairfield on November 6th.
The Boilermakers are coming off four straight NCAA tournament appearances, including back to back Sweet 16 appearances. Coach Painter recharged his program with the 2014 draft class that included Dakota Mathias, Isaac Haas, PJ Thompson, and Vincent Edwards after missing back to back NCAA tournament appearances for the first time in his career as Purdue’s head coach.
This is important because that class of 2014 showed a turn in Coach Painter’s philosophy towards recruiting, and has resulted in a program that has returned to one of the premier programs in the country. Painter is not only getting talented players, but the right players. For the second straight year Purdue has reached the Sweet 16 while having a sophomore National Player of the Year finalist. This year, that player, Carsen Edwards, will return for his junior season.
This is important because when Evan Boudreaux decided to sit out his Junior year at Dartmouth, he had his sight set on two things: graduating from Dartmouth and then transferring to a program that would get him into the NCAA tournament.
An initial Xavier commitment was removed when Chris Mack decided to take over the Louisville program. Enter Coach Matt Painter and a young Purdue Boilermaker roster, but one with plenty of upside and a whole lot of athleticism.
Evan Budreaux should fit in even better than the last time he played college basketball despite having averaged 17.5 points and 9.5 rebounds per game for Dartmouth his sophomore season. For that Dartmouth team, Boudreaux was their everything. He had a %shots over 31 and finished nearly 30% of the team’s possessions when he was on the floor.
Those numbers are likely going to be way down for Purdue this year and that should fit Boudreaux’s game perfectly. Boudreaux is a good offensive player. He bullied the Ivy League inside and has a decent long-range shot (40% his freshman year, 35% his sophomore) but he also turned over the ball and was most effective as a pick and pop big man.
There won’t be anyone on Purdue taking that many shots not named Carsen Edwards. He’s probably the best scorer in the country, and he’s gotten better each of his first two seasons.
Boudreaux is going to make me go the obvious cliche route of a player that went and graduated from Dartmouth. He’s a really smart ball player. But he’s also one of the toughest players on the court. His motor is always going. Watching highlights of his games at Dartmouth, the exciting thing to watch is all the work he does off the ball. He’s relentless with his movement, he knows when and where to cut and he’s always a step ahead of the defense as soon as his defender stops paying attention to him for a second. If he gets switched onto a smaller defender, he will put that defender on the block and seal him off and if he doesn’t get the ball right away, he will keep moving and creating new angles to get the ball. He doesn’t stop.
Which is perfect for a team that will be athletic around him - will limit his exposure to guarding wings and bigs that are too quick for him - and a guard that will take up most of a team’s attention in the pick and roll game. Carsen’s ability to hit pull-up jumpers already puts a defense in a predicament. It’s so hard to stay with him as the primary defender that you’re practically forced to hedge (Don’t even think about straight switching a big man onto Carsen). Do that against a Boudreaux and Edwards pick and pop and you will get eaten alive, consistently.
This will be a go-to play for Purdue in crunch time. It forces the defense into the tough decisions that can be overcome for a play or two with perfect rotation and all-out effort, but more than not, the defense will break in critical ways and Purdue will end up with an open look.
Defense will be the question, as well as position. Can Boudreaux be effective at the five? Can he defend the modern four? He should help on rebounding which is a big need for this team.
Sitting out a year, his jump shot should be even more improved. He should be quicker. He might even be smarter, and a young team will look for his maturity and effort for a team that might struggle with consistency night to night.
Boudreaux came to Purdue to make the NCAA tournament. The pieces around him should make that possible and him a perfect fit to push for a deep March run.