Over the next few weeks, we will take a look at some recruits that Coach Matt Painter and his staff are looking at or have committed in the incoming classes. In this series we provide an overview of the player, provide a comparison to a former Purdue basketball player, where Purdue stands with the recruit, and hopefully hear from the player or one of their coaches. Let’s jump into the second of Purdue’s 2024 commits, Brownsburg’s Kanon Catchings.
Rated as the 89th player in his class according to 247, Catchings is a 6’6 and 185 pound small forward from Brownsburg High School in Brownsburg, Indiana in the class of 2024. The son of former Illinois Miss Basketball and WNBA player Tauja Catchings and the nephew of college and WNBA legend Tamika Catchings, Catchings has the background to be a successful player in a system like Purdue’s.
Catchings, as a sophomore, shot 42% from three while averaging nearly 12 points per game for a quality Brownsburg program but has improved his all around game while leading that same Brownsburg program as a junior. This season he is averaging 20.1 points per game on 54% shooting from the field with 5.1 rebounds per game, 1.8 assists, and 1.9 steals while shooting 40% from behind the arc.
Prior to his commitment to the Boilers Catchings held offers from Butler and Xavier while also holding interest from Illinois, Ohio State, Michigan State, and Indiana. Catchings committed early in the process and likely would have garnered more interest and offers had he not.
Catchings is a really hard player to comp from a Purdue perspective because, like Myles Colvin, he brings a higher ceiling due to his athleticism with elite length and height. Catchings is 6’8 right now and may not be done growing so there is a good chance we could end up seeing a 6’9 -6’10 small forward playing for the Boilers. With that said, after searching for a player I thought Purdue fans would recognize (and staying away from the obvious Aaron Wheeler or Robbie Hummel answer) was former Ohio State Buckeye Keita Bates-Diop (I apologize if I give anyone PTSD from this comp).
Bates-Diop was a 6’7 small forward who was a little slight of build coming out of high school before he enrolled at Ohio State. He was an adept ball handler and shooter but exceled at just doing everything at a really high level. Bates-Diop was composite top 30 player in the 2014 class but only 51st according to 247. For those that remember Bates-Diop during his time at OSU, he did a lot of different things for them including being a primary ball handler. He was a true three level scorer who really excelled at getting players off balance around the arc and hitting mid-range jumpers. What he also did really well was rebounbing at the rim, especially as an offensive rebounder (here is where Purdue fans likely get PTSD when thinking about Bates-Diop).
Catchings has really shown immense growth in his game over the last calendar year and as his body continues to grow and get bigger, his game will continue to grow as well. Right now he is really high level catch-and-shoot player from behind the arc but the growth in being able to create his own shot is really showing through in his junior season at Brownsburg. Recently, he scored 32 points in a matchup against top 5 big man Flory Bidunga and Kokomo and Catchings was easily the best player on the floor (and it wasn’t close). He scored at all three levels, created his own shots, finished at the rim, and finished many times over an elite high school rim protector in Bidunga.
Where Does Purdue Stand?:
Catchings is currently a solid verbal commitment to Purdue and it doesn’t seem like he will waiver at all from that.
Catchings is in the midst of a great season with his Brownsburg Bulldogs, Catchings sat down with H&R staff to discuss his growth as a player, his commitment to Purdue, and how he thinks he fits into Purdue’s program.
Hammer & Rails: Brownsburg has been off to a wonderful start at 14-1 with your only loss to 5A #1 Ben Davis. How has the season gone so far for you?
Kanon Catchings: It’s been pretty good for the most part. Ups and downs obviously tired having school for 7 hours and practice but for the most part we have stayed healthy. Being at the top its hard because they want to knock us off. It’s a pretty good grind.
H&R: What is different for you as a junior playing on varsity versus last year? What did you think you needed to work on most heading into this season?
K.C: I think just as a sophomore I was nervous trying to figure out my role. Obviously I am strong, taller, just better overall and I think have more confidence in what I am doing knowing my role better than last year. Just working on my consistency, strength, defense, and being a better leader.
H&R: Who is the best player you have played against so far this season?
K.C: It’s definitely Flory. He is huge and never stops the whole game. He has a high motor and really plays hard.
H&R: With what your family has been able to accomplish on the court here in the Midwest, your last name obviously carries some weight with it. What has that been like as you start to step into the spotlight yourself? How do you think that helps you on your journey to Purdue and major college basketball?
K.C: I just try to make a name for myself but it has been good having someone that has been through it before. It’s definitely a bit of both in that I want to make a name for myself but having some people there (Mom and Aunt) who have gone through it makes it easier at times.
H&R: What has been the best piece of advice you have received about playing basketball or recruitment? Who did it come from?
K.C: I think my best advice playing basketball has come from my mom telling me: ‘Rebound, rebound, rebound. Do everything you can to help the team win.’ And in recruitment my Aunt said to take your time and if its the place you want to be don’t waste other team’s time.’
H&R: You committed to Purdue at the start of your junior year while many believed you were still developing and could have garnered a bit more offers and exposure had you waited. What was it about Coach Painter and the staff that made you feel comfortable to commit?
K.C: I’ve seen the teams they have had and the good seasons lately and seeing how the develop players and I just wanted to be a part of that. Coach Brantley made me feel like I was talking to, not a coach, but someone who I just knew. Someone that I could talk to about more than just basketball. He is someone that talked to me about more than just basketball.
H&R: Coach Painter and the staff at Purdue have shown results in developing players. Is that something that you felt strongly about in committing to Purdue? What has the staff relayed to you about what they feel they can help you with the most?
K.C: ‘Yes, definitely. They said they could really help develop me in the weight room and that is a big aspect that I need to improve in. And in general just making me a better overall player. Being able to get my own shot is what I have worked on developing already so making me a better overall player is important.’
H&R: Your mom and aunt know how recruiting is and the ‘game’ that can be. How helpful was it to have two people close to you to help navigate that and give you advice? What was the best piece of advice they gave you during the process?
K.C: It was very helpful because I didn’t really know what to do or what to say to a lot of stuff. It can be over whelming but it can be really exciting to see your hard work pay off. The most exciting thing so far was my visit to Purdue on the first day of summer break. I took visits to Indiana, Illinois, and Cincinnati as well.
H&R: Did you play any sports growing up other than basketball? When did you start to realize that basketball might be the one I need to focus on to be successful?
K.C: I played some soccer until around 3rd grade but in middle school was when I started to focus on just basketball. I didn’t play football because my mom was scared to have me play.
H&R: You play for one of the best AAU programs in the country in Indy Heat and in the best youth basketball league in the country with Nike EYBL. What has that experience been like so far? How has that helped your overall game?
K.C: It’s really fun. Playing against some really good players that you don’t usually get to play against and traveling to different places to play is really fun. Getting to play against guys with the same size and same athleticism is really good.
H&R: Obviously Mackey Arena is a special place to play but if you had a choice to play a game on any court or at any arena, which one are you choosing? Madison Square? The Palestra? Rucker Park? Staples Center?
K.C: Probably the Staples Center because of all the great players that have played there that I have seen like Kobe Bryant and Lebron.
H&R: There are a lot of great players that young guys and girls like to pattern their game after. Who is someone that you really enjoy to watch and think ‘I think my game is similar to theirs?’
K.C: Umm, probably Paul George and then this past year probably Jabari Smith, Jr. Jabari is just real smooth and the size that I want to be.
H&R: What has stood out to you so far about Purdue’s season? Is there a specific thing that excites you the most about what Purdue does offensively?
K.C: Watching them beat big teams like Duke and Gonzaga was really cool. I think they get a lot of open shots and also having some big players inside that are huge. That would help me a lot.
H&R: Your team is down 2 points and there is 15 seconds left. Your coach looks at you and says you are taking the last shot. Do you want the ball in your hand or is there an action you want to run to get you into a certain position?
K.C: If we are down 2 I’d like to run an action but if we are down 1 or tied I’d like to have the ball up top. I’d like to get an elevator screen to the sideline for a corner 3 where I feel the most comfortable shooting.