Everyone knows Carsen Edwards is the man. He will be even more of a focal point this season with four starting graduating after last season, taking their nearly 50 points a game with them. In their place, Purdue will have 5 freshman, all of them likely to find some time on the court. There are only two seniors to counteract the youth movement.
Let’s take a look at one of them.
Odds so far:
What’s gambling without a long shot?
Grady Eifert has been one of the better stories in Purdue basketball history. He came to Purdue with an athlete’s name, a legacy kid, and no scholarship. He worked his ass off behind the scenes and on the sideline and was rewarded with a scholarship, but that wasn’t enough. He kept working. He kept improving. A feel good human story became a feel good basketball story.
After playing just 54 minutes in his first two seasons at Purdue, he became a regular contributor and important role player for Coach Painter his junior season playing 300 minutes including 17 minutes in Purdue round of 32 victory over Butler in Detroit. A victory that would not have been if it weren’t for Grady Eifert who grabbed 5 rebounds, a steal, 2 points, and played his usual tough and smart brand of defense.
He got his first start of his career when Vincent Edwards went down with an ankle season at the end of the year at Illinois. He responded by scoring 6 points without missing a shot, grabbing 5 boards and assisting on two baskets. It has been the theme of his career. Despite the lack of hype, despite the walk-on moniker early in his career, despite inconsistent playing time, despite a lack of size for the four he normally plays, Eifert was called upon when Painter needed a spark and the kid from Fort Wayne responded.
Eifert is the Mackey Arena ideal. A Brian Cardinal without the devotion or offensive game. He finds the ball off misses, boxes out his man, and sells his body out for just the chance at an extra possession. But this article in particular is about who will be Purdue’s second leading scorer.
As the forum likes to joke (sorry to beat you to it) but if Grady Eifert is Purdue’s second leading scorer the team is in big big big trouble. They won’t just miss the tournament, they might get relegated to the Sun Coast league. Scoring points is just not what Grady does, and that’s fine. Especially with a team of youth, his defense and ability to be effective without the ball will be paramount to balancing the court this season. He’s already proven himself in the biggest stages. He is someone that Coach Painter trusts. With a team this young, that will be invaluable.
But his career high in points is 9, which he did twice at the beginning of the season this last year. It happened against Chicago St. and Fairfield. (In fairness, he did score 8 points on the road against Marquette in between those games.)
It’s been eight season since 9 points would be good enough to be the third leading scorer on a Purdue team. (That team was front loaded with E’twaun Moore and Jajuan Johnson scoring the most of Purdue’s points.) Let’s say it’s highly unlikely that Eifert, or any player, would make that kind of jump when minute will still be inconsistent for most of Purdue’s bench. With all the youth and uncertainty, and a ton of bodies, there will be stretches where minutes will go to and away from most of Purdue’s role players.
Eifert is an effective cutter, but a lot of his success last year getting to the basket was created by how much attention Vincent Edwards and Isaac Haas received. There will be less concern with Purdue’s post players this year. Eifert is not likely to become a gunner from deep either. He was open almost constantly last year and was hesitant to shoot it. That’s his role, to move the ball, cut hard, and maybe grab an offensive rebound. Just because he’s surrounded by youth this year, don’t expect that to change.
Eifert is so effective, in large part, because he knows what he’s good at and doesn’t try to do anything more.
Grady Eifert’s odds to be Purdue’s second leading scorer: 250-1