If you listen to the Hammer and Rails podcast, follow us on Twitter, or generally read articles where I talk about Purdue basketball you’ll know that my two favorite players on this Purdue squad are Ethan Morton and Mason Gillis. I just love the way the two of them play. They are always out there busting their asses, diving for loose balls, and making the hustle plays. All throughout last season on the podcast I had to defend Gillis in a non-stop battle against Casey who was desperate for Caleb Furst to overtake him and usurp all of his minutes. That didn’t happen as Furst sort of faded down the stretch while Gillis’ power only grew.
Gillis stands at 6’6” and 230 pounds and is just a bruiser of a player. If you read the piece on David Jenkins Jr. over at our friends at Boiler Upload you’ll see that Mason Gillis is the same feisty player in practice that he is during games. Jenkins left practice and headed to an interview with the media with a bruised and bloodied face because of Mason Gillis. I’m told he’s at least one of three players that has taken a shot from Gillis during practice this year.
That’s the kind of effort we want to see. Purdue fans love it. We cheer for it. We thrive on it. When Purdue has guys who do the dirty work they quickly become fan favorites. Just ask Todd Foster, Brian Cardinal, Kenny Lowe, Chris Kramer. These are names we remember for not just their offense but their defense, their hustle, their attitude. These were players who embodied Purdue toughness and I think you can add Gillis to that list.
Gillis drastically improved his three point shooting in his second season with the Boilermakers and if he can keep that up it will be a boon for this young team who is looking for experience and consistency on all corners of the floor. Just take a look at this stats from the prior two seasons and note the improvement.
2020-21 Stats: 28 games, 23 starts. 22.2 mpg, 5.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg, 1.3 apg, 46.5% FG%, 35.2% 3FG, 81.4% FT%
2021-22 Stats: 33 games, 25 starts. 23.5 mpg, 6.4 ppg, 4.8 rpg, 1.1 apg, 49.6% FG%, 41.4% 3FG, 85% FT%
I will admit that Gillis does sometime play a bit too much like a bulldog, he made some crucial mistakes in the game against St. Peter’s, but we can forgive that because more often than not Gillis knows what he’s doing and finds himself in the right place at the right time. He’s a king of the garbage bucket and loves to go after the tough rebound. He’s a guy who your glad is on your team even if that means sometimes you get an elbow to the face,
So that’s it folks. That’s everyone. The team is ready. The fans are informed. Tonight at 6:30 PM on BTN Purdue basketball finally returns. It’s like Christmas morning!