The Boilers took to the court for a chance to show some of their progress this summer. So, what did we learn about the Boilers before the jump across the ocean to play four games in Europe? Here are eight takeaways:
#1 Fletcher Loyer will be the primary scoring option for Purdue
Listen, the guy showed the type of player he could be as a freshman last season. He had good flashes as a three level scorer and it showed a bit more today against his teammates that know the type of shooter he can be. Loyer hit multiple threes, drove to the rim for buckets, and was a facilitator on offense and he will likely be the second leading scorer next season behind Zach Edey.
#2 The Addition of Lance Jones is a Major Key
Jones, who was more known as a defensive first type of player in his time at Southern Illinois, flashed some potential as a scoring threat going for 13 points, 2 rebounds, and 2 assists. He likely doesn’t start ahead of either Braden Smith or Fletcher Loyer but that type of guy off the bench is what differentiates Purdue from the rest of the B1G. It may just be the thing that separates them from the rest of the country as well.
#3 Trey Kaufman-Renn, at Power Forward, gives Purdue the Best Front Court in the Country
We all know the reigning National Player of the Year is going to get his points and rebounds but Kaufman-Renn really shined today, as reports have suggested all summer long. Going for 13 points, 4 rebounds, and 3 assists, TKR really has an amazing set of low post scoring moves. Pairing him with Edey, if Edey can elevate his game to include being a threat to the 3pt line, gives Purdue two of the best low post scorers in the country. If Edey had left for the NBA, there is no doubt that TKR could very well be a 20 point, 10 rebound, 3 assist type of player for Purdue. His time is coming in 2024.
#4 Purdue is Going to Use High Ball Screens & Allow Braden Smith to Simply Work
Braden Smith has a certain flare to his game at the point guard position. What many people may not see is the nuance that he plays with at the position. Is he the most athletic? No. Is he the tallest? No. Is he the fastest? No. What he does is change tempo and pace as good as any point guard that I can remember in a Purdue uniform. It reminds me of Illinois point guard Dee Brown as smaller guards who altered their tempo with the ball in their hands to gain advantages on offense and put the defense on its’ heels. Smith struggled a bit from the floor today but Purdue’s ability to win the B1G again and make a run in March likely depends on his intelligence and savvy with the ball in his hands.
#5 William Berg Needs More Time
Berg is going to be a good player...down the line. I doubt the big man from Sweden logs more than 3 or 4 minutes per game with the likes of Edey, Furst, and TKR all playing the center position. Coach Painter spent considerable time with Berg on the nuances of the offensive side of the ball. Notably, CMP walked Berg back onto the court after a bad turnover when a double team came to him on the right low block. Berg spun low and threw the ball to a poor spot for a Braden Smith turnover and CMP showed him he needs to spin high or step out and use his length to find the open teammate. That is something Edey struggled with until last year.
#6 Purdue Wants to Play with More Pace
Sitting near Coach Johnson and Coach Painter, they were both very adamant about playing with a quicker pace getting into their sets. I have a feeling this might have more to do with the FIBA rules having a shorter shot clock but it’ll help the Boilers in season to not allow a defense get their feet set. Purdue, at times last year, needed to play with some more pace to not allow defenses to get into Loyer on cuts and screens or allow them to easily identify where Edey was for a double team.
#7 Colvin and Heide are Very Athletic and will Battle for the Starting Small Forward Spot
Yes, I know that Morton was out with a hamstring issue but he doesn’t provide the scoring ability that the two youngsters can. Colvin plays with good effort on the defensive end at times and Heide has a year of experience on him in that regard, so it’ll be interesting to see how that goes. Heide had a definite advantage from a rebound standpoint today and I believe he’ll likely end up starting at the small forward position if Morton doesn’t hold on to it.
#8 Brian Waddell has Bulked Up
Last year, Waddell really struggled when B1G play came along and the physicality turned up. The loss of a full redshirt season to lift and improve along those lines hurt him but it appears he has put on some needed muscle to take the contact that so often left him at a disadvantage on both ends of the floor. He is a heady player and not one that is likely to put up many 10 point games, but he is a player who makes everyone else on the floor better simply because he knows what he is doing. Waddell likely gets the short end of the stick for minutes this year but, like it finally did for Grady Eifert, his time will come.