If it’s Saturday, it must be the roundtable. Where I send a question to the staff and share their answers.
With Purdue currently in the middle of their European vacation, what do you want to see out of this team that will be lacking Zach Edey? Is there a player you want to see step up or a particular style of play you want them to experiment with?
I’ll get the cliche answer out of the way first. I just want everyone to come out of this healthy. Purdue has a shot at another special season and the last thing we need is for someone to get injured during minute 35 of a game in Europe against a team no one has ever heard of.
What I’m really looking forward to is to see Caleb Furst grow into the talent we know he can be. He came out of HS highly touted and while he’s done well at Purdue so far I know he can do more. There’s a talent there and a quickness that hasn’t fully been utilized yet. With no Zach Edey on the floor it gives Furst a chance to have a bit more freedom. I’m looking forward to see his growth this season.
I mean, the obvious answer should be to see what the likes of Furst/ TKR/ Berg can do at the five considering Zach won’t be at Purdue or on the court forever (sad). I think we could see Trey Kaufman-Renn really start to hit his stride inside as the sole big man, but that’s predicated on his offseason growth. We know Trey is really savvy with his moves down low, something I swear he learned from Trevion Williams, but as Andrew has mentioned, he has a tendency to look like a deer on roller skates. That’s fixed with time and I think Trey will be a real asset to this squad.
The other player I am interested in for this trip is Brian Waddell. We have a good indication of what each Purdue player can do on the court, including Colvin, Heide, and Berg, but I feel like we don’t truly know what a fully healthy and fully mobile Waddell looks like yet. We know that his knee injury hampered his lateral quickness on defense but I believe it also could have affected his shooting a bit. Does a 100% Waddell make big improvements and force Matt Painter to give him more minutes? This overseas trip could be very telling.
I think this is a wonderful chance to get a glimpse of the team in 2024/2025. From the first three games, I think it is apparent that TKR and Furst at the 4 and 5 makes Purdue incredibly athletic and quick up and down the floor. That’s what I think most Purdue fans want to see: a quicker and more athletic Purdue team.
I think it is incredibly important to see Cam Heide’s growth at the 3 position. So far through three games, Heide has been very impressive. In game two, Heide flashed his potential going 5-5 from the field with 3-3 from behind the arc. He totaled 15 total points along with 2 rebounds. He was on his way to another quality game three before hurting his lower back on a highlight level dunk (Purdue noted that he is fine).
The growth of Heide as a SF who can use his athleticism on both ends of the court lifts Purdue’s ceiling and is a point that Purdue fans can make as to how they are different from last year.
I think the obvious answer here is athleticism at the guard spot and consistent shooting. Purdue faltered at the end of last season and besides Edey looked scared to have the basketball when it mattered. We need a guy who not only isn’t scared to take control of the game when nothing else is working, but wants to. Carsen Edwards and Jaden Ivey come to mind instantly. Didn’t matter if they missed the last ten shots, they were taking and making the next. The confidence on the floor when you need it. Will it be Loyer after having a season under his belt and a little more confidence? Will it be the Uber athletic gutsy freshman, Myles Colvin or Camden Heide? Or as I’ve seen clips, maybe the sleeper Brian Waddell? The game are fun to watch but I’m not putting much stock into what they tell us as of now. All I know is we need “that guy” this year… who steps up? Well for now it came be any number of them.