We’re in the middle of the spring evaluation period, which is huge for college basketball recruiting. The players closing out their junior years that are uncommitted are getting close to a commitment and the offers for younger players are starting to go out. That’s where we are right now with Purdue. We currently have one player committed for the 2019 class, but the 2018 class may not quite be done yet. Here is what I have been able to track down in terms of who we’re after for 2019, and I hope to do a second 2020 update next week.
First, a look at the scholarship grid:
Purdue Basketball Scholarship Grid
|Matt Haarms||RS Soph.||RS Junior||RS Senior|
|Aaron Wheeler||RS Freshman||RS Soph.||RS Junior||RS Senior|
|Sasha Stefanovic||RS Freshman||RS Soph.||RS Junior||RS Senior|
Evan Boudreaux basically slides into the spot Jacquil Taylor had before leaving. It should be noted that for most of the past two seasons Grady Eifert has been on scholarship because we have had open space. It seems very likely he will be next season as Purdue currently has three open slots and it seems unlikely that coach Painter would add three more players. The most likely scenario would be Francis Okoro as a multi-year guy and maybe a graduate transfer that does not cut into a loaded 2019 class. With so many high profile offers for 2019 out there we don’t want to use up one of the three spots currently available there.
Francis Okoro – Normal, IL - Right now this is the most interesting development, as Francis Okoro (No. 40 247, No. 42 Rivals, No. 33 ESPN) plans to reclassify from the 2019 class to 2018 class. Our own Caleb Swanigan did this a few years ago and it worked out well for him. Okoro recently visited Purdue and will visit Illinois next week. He has also visited Oregon and it is generally accepted that those three are his finalists. Okoro is a 6’9” 225 pound forward that can do a little bit of everything. Think of him a Biggie-lite. he is athletic and can bang at the basket but also play on the wing.
I am not sure where he would rank compared to the 2018 list, but should he commit only Swanigan and E’Twaun Moore were Painter commitments rated higher. Considering those two guys are the only two Purdue guys in the NBA I think it worked out well for them.
It is really a toss-up as to where Okoro goes, but we’ll know soon. If he ends up at Purdue he is an immediate impact player that possibly sends Emmanuel Dowuona to a redshirt. It also makes 2018 a very frontcourt-heavy class. Still, you don’t pass on a top 50 guy ever.
Isaiah Thompson – Zionsville, IN – Thompson has been committed for some time and is inline for a big senior season at Zionsville. He will likely become a 2,000 point scorer and has a good shot of cracking the top 25 all-time. He is a different type of guard from P.J. He is a lot more of a scorer like Carsen Edwards. That is a strong comparison and he is not Carsen 2.0, but maybe something like a Carsen 0.75. He can get hot and drop 40 against anyone at the high school level.
Right now he is on the shelf with a broken bone in his foot. The downside of that is he is not able to play with Indy Heat on the EYBL circuit, where he could be in the ear of Keion Brooks and Trayce Jackson-Davis. He will possibly be able to play them on the Indiana Junior All-Stars and later in the summer, but right now it would be really nice to have him there doing some unofficial recruiting.
Trayce Jackson-Davis – Greenwood, IN – Jackson-Davis (No. 23 247, No. 22 Rivals, No. 24 ESPN) feels like a guy that will be in the middle of an Indiana vs. Purdue tug of war. Givent hat IU just got Romeo Langford it would be very, very good if we can nail down Jackson-Davis, who is arguably the top player in Indiana for 2019. Like Okoro, he is a versatile forward that is not anchored on the low block. He has a great midrange game and can pop out to shoot the three. He also fits the mold of “athletic as hell” type of player that we need.
Basically, his offer list should be “the Big Ten”. Michigan State, Ohio State, Purdue, and Indiana all want him, but my gut tells me it comes down to IU and Purdue.
Keion Brooks – Ft. Wayne, IN – Again, I wish Thompson was playing right now so he could be in the ear of Jackson-Davis and Brooks (No. 28 247, No. 35 Rivals, No. 29 ESPN). Getting both plus Okoro would give Purdue and incredible frontcourt. It would be a different type than we’re used to as well. With Matt Haarms and Dowuona as the likely 5 duo protecting the rim the other three could roam all over the color causing havoc with their athleticism.
I saw Brooks back in March and my evaluation is “HOLY SHIT THIS KID IS ATHLETIC!!!” He has held a Purdue offer since he was a freshman and in the one game I saw him he is the type that can do little things for most of the game, then take over with 2-3 highlight plays in a row. His best play was with a 47-47 tie and 1:36 he drove baseline and threw down a monstrous two-handed dunk in traffic while getting fouled. It was jaw dropping because Zionsville specifically plays a stout 2-3 zone designed to stop such things. If Painter got him and stuck him at the 3 spot he could do filthy, unspeakable things to opponents.
Armaan Franklin – Indianapolis, IN – Franklin (No. 97 247, No. 126 Rivals, NR ESPN) is an up and coming combo guard from Cathedral in Indianapolis. At 6’4” he is a bigger guard, which is good. I haven’t really seen him yet, either. This past release was the first time he got into the Rivals 150. Xavier, Ohio State, and Louisville are also in play for him. This past year was the first year he really exploded onto the scene.
Malik Hall – Wichita, KS – Hall (No. 55 247, No. 49 Rivals, No. 54 ESPN) is another big guard at 6’5” from the same program that gave us Matt Haarms. This spring he averaged 14.3 points and 5.3 rebounds per game at the Westfield EYBL event. From this article it would seem as if Purdue would have a good chance at getting him, but if Kansas gets involved you never know.
Mason Gillis – New Castle, IN – Like Thompson, Gillis (No. 121 247, No. 122 Rivals, NR ESPN) is currently sidelined with a knee injury, but could be back later in the summer. Painter has made him a priority for the class, but with Okoro, Jackson-Davis, and Brooks out there we can only take so many forwards. He is listed as a 6’7” 210 pound power forward, but could possibly play at the 3 at Purdue. Butler, Xavier, and Ohio State are after him.
Isaiah Stewart – LaPorte LaLumiere – Stewart (No. 14 247, No. 10 Rivals, No. 13 ESPN) would be one hell of a get for coach Painter. He is a 6’8” 227 post player that is one of the best rated centers in the nation. Basically his offer list is “anyone”, and that includes Duke. Getting him over Duke would be a huge surprise.
Drew Timme – Richardson, TX – Timme (No. 108 247, No. 48 Rivals, NR ESPN) is highly regarded by ESPN and Painter has shown he can pluck a good player out of Texas. He has had a Purdue offer for a while and has even visited. I also have to give it up for his highlight reel being “That’s a badass white boy.”
I would love to get Okoro, Brooks, and Jackson-Davis just to get hyper athletic in a hurry. If we get Okoro and he does reclassify to 2018 then we only have two spots available. Do we aim for a guard then? I could see something like Okoro-Brooks-Hall as being a great class. Overall this class seems high on athleticism and versatile wings. I like that because we haven’t really had that under coach Painter. It would be a different, more modern look that could be a lot of fun to watch.