After wearing #3 last year Caleb Furst made a change in the offseason to #1. It only makes sense as his last name is literally a misspelling of first. Like, it just seems obvious doesn’t it? Of course he should wear #1.
Furst is coming off a season which saw him go in and out of the starting lineup and have a fairly good debut season for a true freshman. Twelve starts is nothing to scoff at.
2021-22 Stats: 34 games, 12 starts. 14.6 mpg, 4.1 ppg, 3.2 rpg, 0.4 apg, 57.3% FG%, 42.3% 3FG, 71.7% FT%
Furst’s minutes began to fall off around the time of the loss to Rutgers. During Purdue’s Big Ten Tournament run he played just 10 minutes all against Michigan State. During Purdue’s NCAA Tournament run Furst played in all three games but had the most impact in the game against Yale where he played 21 minutes and dropped in 10 points. In the game against Texas he played just 9 minutes and against St. Peter’s he played 12. For a player who started the season so great what caused him to fall off?
It all seemed to start after he was held out of the game against Nicholls due to health and safety protocols i.e. Covid protocols. As we saw across the country in college basketball it can take awhile for a player to fully come back from Covid. For Furst it meant he lost his starting spot to Mason Gillis and never retained it. While Covid might have been a factor there’s also the freshman wall. It happens to nearly all freshman in the conference as the schedule can be grueling. Going from a high school schedule to college where you may play 3 times a week and are on the road for hours at a time all while taking 12-15 credit hours and keeping up with everything else in life can be an adjustment. There’s no doubt these things both played a factor in his drop in production.
With those things out of the way though there’s a hope for a return to early season form for Furst. During the exhibition against Truman State Furst tied for the team lead with 20 minutes played and looked like his old self while doing it. He went 5-9 from the floor, grabbed 6 rebounds, to go along with one assist and 0 turnovers. That’s quite the day. Purdue will likely continue to experiment with lineups this year that include Furst at the 5 in a “small ball” lineup. I use that term loosely because Furst is 6’10” so small only in comparison to Zach Edey. Using Furst at the 5 gives Purdue a lot of options at the other positions and puts opponents in difficult positions defensively. Furst is going to be an extremely important piece on this Purdue team. Here’s hoping it’s his furst (sic) season where we really see what kind of player he is. I think we’ll all be very happy with the results.