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Purdue Basketball Off-Season Homework: William Berg

Purdue keeping the tradition alive with 7+ foot centers

Syndication: Journal-Courier Alex Martin/Journal and Courier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Another 7 footer at Purdue? A tale as old as…. well 14 straight years. Berg joins in the long list of giants that have made their way to Purdue. No, we aren’t chemically engineering people in a lab or grabbing them from outer space (I think) but it’s known that Purdue has become Big Man U. They have a reputation of turning these boys into men, developing them better than any other school and finessing their abilities.

Zach Edey came to Purdue very green. He played hockey (drink!) growing up before switching to basketball his sophomore year. Purdue took a guy who didn’t know much about college ball into a NPOY in 3 years. Yeah, they kind of know what they’re doing.

So enter new big man William Berg. Berg came in the same recruiting class as Loyer and Smith but with Edey in front of him, Painter decided to redshirt him last season. A decision I think player and coach probably agreed on as he learned to adjust to B1G basketball.

At the end of last year he broke his foot during a practice and underwent surgery leaving him in a boot until May and removing 8 bone spurs. In an interview, Berg claimed he had been having trouble with his ankles since his freshman year in highschool and during recovery was the best he had felt in a long time.

The problem with having a 7 foot + frame is it takes a toll on the body and injuries are always a concern. So what happens with Berg this year? Well, that’s a good question. Purdue is loaded with big men. With Edey announcing he was coming back that eats up a lot of minutes at the center. Then we also have TKR and Furst who will be splitting minutes along with Gillis.

One of the biggest things for Berg is getting healthy. A foot injury isn’t something you want to mess around with and end up hurting again, so first thing is making sure he takes his physical therapy seriously and doesn’t rush it. We’ve seen players in the past get hurt that ends up plaguing them their entire career and I would hate to see that happen.

Second, will be to put on some muscle, Berg is more akin to Haarms than Edey in terms of stature but he needs to put on some bulk if he’s going to bully the post. He commented in the past that going up against Edey during practice was eye opening in terms of trying to guard down low.

As mentioned above he’s more similar to Haarms in his Euro style of play. He has the ability to stretch the floor and float outside for a 3 with his speed. We’ve seen him do it during clips of practice but not in a college game setting so far.

Edey’s going to be the starting center this year, understandably so, but Berg will be his relief and offers a different style of play; which can be good thing when we are having a matchup problem or going against smaller athletic teams. If Berg can come in and hit the 3 while also guarding the lane it’s going to be hard to beat this Purdue team. He adds a completely different versatility to the offense if he can show up.

Edey won’t be going to Europe with Purdue next week so we should get to see a lot of what he has to offer on the floor, and as long as he stays healthy, I’m excited to see what dynamic he adds to this team.