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Purdue Basketball: Scouting the Freshmen - Brandon Newman

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We’re over halfway through the season, it’s time to assess the new guys.

NCAA Basketball: Penn State at Purdue Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

Brandon Newman

Physically

After taking a redshirt last season, Newman doesn’t look like your typical freshman. He’s listed at 6’5, 195 on Purdue’s official roster, and that surprised me, because I was expecting him to be around 205. Dude is cut up with some serious shoulder/arm definition. If I asked you to describe a wing in the modern game, you’re probably going to end up describing Brandon.

I think Newman will continue to fill out during his Boilermaker career. He looks like a wing that could play around 215-220 without much trouble. He’s a beast right now as a freshman, but he’ll be a freak of nature by the time he’s a senior.

Skill Set

Offense

It’s hard to find a Purdue comparison for Newman because his game is rather unique. When he’s playing well, he doesn’t dribble much. I see shades of Klay Thompson in his game.

Count how many time he dribbles in this clip.

I’m not sure I’ve seen a college player score 21 points and only dribble the ball 3 times, but Newman pulled it off against Oakland. In a lot of ways, his game matches his personality. He seems like a quiet, introspective dude, and he’s got a quiet, but stunningly effective game.

When he drives the ball, he has a knack for finishing with his left hand around the rim, even though he shoots with his right hand. That’s another quirk that catches the opposition off guard. You see a ton of one handed players in college basketball, but Newman is adept at finishing with either, and seems to prefer his off hand.

Skill Set - Defense

On defense, you can tell he’s still raw, and gets caught ball watching on occasion. I anticipate that clearing up with more experience, but it’s hard not to get excited about his potential on the defensive end. He’s got this weird ability to block jump shots. You don’t see that often on the college level because guys are usually pretty good at determining when they have enough space to get a shot off. I don’t know if he has longer arms than shooters expect, gets off the floor faster than shooters expect, or is a step quicker than shooters expect, but whatever the reason, he blocks an inordinate amount of 3 pointers.

Stats

(all stats are per game averages)

Min - 25.6

FG% - .415

3p% - .403

Reb - 3.4

Ast - 1.6

Pts - 8.9

Advanced Stats

Offense

PER (player efficiency rating) - 13.6

Usage - 19.5

Points Produced - 139

Effective Field Goal% - .512

Offensive Win Shares - .6

Steal% - 1.8

Block% - 2.7

Defensive Rebounding% - 13.2

Defensive Win Shares - .6

Areas In Need Improvement

Like most first year players, it’s all about consistency for Brandon.

This stretch of games is a good example of his season thus far:

Maryland: 17 Pts

Rutgers: 4 Pts

Illinois: 14Pts

Michigan State: 2 Pts

His low key, low dribbling game can get lost in the mix for Purdue. He’s not a guy that forces many shots, and if he doesn’t get the ball in a spot he likes, he’ll move it on to the next guy. For Purdue to reach it’s potential down the road, Newman will need to become more assertive on offense, because he has the talent to be one of the better scorers on the team.

On defense, it’s all about maintaining concentration and doing the little things right. He’s got the length and athleticism to be a stopper on the wing, but as I mentioned above, he occasionally loses sight of his man because he’s watching the ball. I’m not overly concerned by this and I think it’s something the coaching staff will help him clean up.

Overall

It feels weird to say Newman is a pleasant surprise this season. He was a highly touted, 4* player coming into Purdue. I was somewhat surprised that he redshirted as a freshman, but hopefully that year pays dividends down the road. If I’m not mistaken, he’ll be heading into his third freshman year next season and looks to be a fixture in the starting lineup .

Brandon looks to be in prime position to be one of Purdue’s best players in the near future, and brings a mix of skills on the wing that we haven’t seen on a Matt Painter team in a good little while. You’ve got to give Matt and his staff an A+ in player evaluation, recruiting, and development on this one.

Purdue Player Comp

Jimmy Oliver