Matt Painter has learned from his recruiting mistakes in past years. He’s been vocal about it. He’s talked about finding himself going after stars and not players. Not building a team that would fit together. He’s talked about his inability to find enough shooting talent to fill a roster. That’s why in recent years Painter has been explicit about recruiting a shooter in each and every class. It’s the one thing that you can’t have too much of on a basketball team. Especially as we Purdue fans have seen the shooters become inconsistent in some of Purdue’s biggest moments of recent years.
Enter Fletcher Loyer. You might have heard about him during March Madness this year when he won himself a contest for three point shooting and took home some of the most bizarre hardware you’ll ever see.
@FletcherLoyer wins national high school 3-point contest.— Purdue Men's Basketball (@BoilerBall) March 29, 2022
1st rd: 21-16 over Duke’s Kyle Filipowski.
Finals: 24-13 over Austin Montgomery (undecided).
Defeated Taylor McCabe (Iowa WBB) to win “Battle of Champions”.
2nd Boilermaker to win (@Ryan_Cline13 - 2015). pic.twitter.com/k0NqbSVLVv
You can see he’s got two Flavor Flav like trophies because he won the male division and then also beat the champion of the female division to be crowned the champion of champions. As the tweet above notes you might remember the last Boilermaker to win this title as Ryan Cline. Cline of course would go on to have a very memorable career at Purdue where he came up big in the biggest games of his career. That Tennessee game will live on forever in highlights and all of our memories.
So, clearly I’m saying that Loyer will be just as impactful, if not more so, than Ryan Cline right? Well, no. While I hope that’s the case that is an awful lot of expectation to throw onto a freshman who hasn’t played one real game in the Old Gold and Black. Instead, all of this is a long way of saying that Purdue has reinforcements coming who can hit the three consistently.
For those interested in a bit of family history of the Loyer family it should be noted that his brother Foster played at Michigan State before transferring to Davidson. His father is a scout for the LA Clippers and was previously the interim head coach for the Detroit Pistons. His grandfather played for the Boilermakers in 1964 and his mother served as an assistant coach on the Purdue volleyball program. So there’s a lot of both athletics and Purdue history from this family. For me, I love to see this type of player come home to Purdue after having so much history with the university.
Loyer has been thrust into the starting lineup as a true freshman joining classmate Braden Smith as one of two true freshman that are expected to begin the year in the starting lineup. That’s quite a feat on a Matt Painter coached team or just in college basketball in general. Loyer played 18 minutes against Truman State and struggled from the floor. In his first action in front of a crowd the true freshman was just 1-5 from deep and 1-7 from the floor overall. Most impressively though were the 6 assists to 0 turnovers that Loyer dished out. If this young man can truly find the open man like that he’ll be a valuable addition even when the shots aren’t falling.
Look for Loyer to stay in the starting lineup as the season progressed and for his shot to fall at he gets his feet under him. Loyer will be asked to do a lot this season but everything about his high school career, and his clock winning antics, show that he’s capable of stepping to the plate. Matt Painter and Purdue will need him to continue to do so for this season to be a success.