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55 (really, 51) Days to Purdue basketball: Sasha Stefanovic

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We’re late!

NCAA Basketball: NCAA Tournament-North Texas at Purdue Andrew Nelles-USA TODAY Sports

I suck.

You would think that the most anticipated Purdue basketball season in years would mean that I would know when to start the player countdown. Well, I didn’t. It was suppsoed to start last Wednesday with Sasha, so I am four days late.

Sorry.

Sasha Stefanovic - Sr. (5)

Crown Point, IN (Crown Point HS)

6’5”, 200 pounds

Shooting Guard

2021-22 Projection: Starter

At this point the shooting guard position is starting to look like the Old Testament books of Chronicles. Ryne Smith begat DJ Byrd begat Dakota Mathias begat Ryan Cline begat Sasha Stefanovic. Matt Painter’s offense thrives on shooters like Sasha, and as we saw from Cline’s game against Tennessee, having a guy that can get incandescent for a few minutes can be the difference in a game, especially if he can create his own shot.

Sasha is more than a shooter. He can create a little off the dribble and is not afraid to attack the basket. He is also shooting over 80% from the line the last two seasons, so he is an effective closer there too.

Sasha is going to play a very large role in Purdue’s success this year. He is a 5th year guy, so no one knows the program better than him. He has NCAA experience on a Big Ten championship team. He needs 404 points to reach 1,000 for his career, which, with a full 31 game season plus tournament games on the back end is doable. That’s a little over 11 points per game if Purdue plays at least 36 games. Considering he was right at 9 points per game the last two seasons that is reasonable.

I want to see Sasha continue shooting north of 40% from three and get close to 85% from the line. He will have some looks with Purdue’s dominant post game. He has hit game-winners in his career. It should be a big season for him and if he is splashing a few threes per night Purdue is going to win a lot.