Love him or hate him, Coach Matt Painter is getting the recognition he deserves.
This year was supposed to be a reloading year, as four starters graduated and outside of a couple of players, most of the roster had not seen significant playing time. That inexperienced showed during the first half of the season, and as the calendar turned to 2019, it looked like Purdue was poised to miss the NCAA tournament unless they could slightly turn it around during conference play.
Now, with four games left in the regular season, Purdue has the chance win a share of the Big Ten title, and they’re in the driver’s seat along with Michigan State. With Purdue’s success and turnaround this season, Matt Painter has been named one of the 15 finalists for the Naismith National Coach of the Year Award.
[Painter] recently led Purdue to its 13th Big Ten win of the season, becoming just the sixth program in Big Ten history to win at least 13 games in three consecutive Big Ten seasons. Purdue’s next win will make the Boilermakers just the third program in league history, and the first in 23 years, with at least 14 league wins in three straight Big Ten seasons.
Along with Painter, the other finalists are (listed in alphabetical order by last name): Rick Barnes, Chris Beard, John Beilein, Tony Bennett, Mark Few, Tom Izzo, Mike Krzyzewski, Chris Mack, Eric Musselman, Nate Oats, Kelvin ‘so call me maybe’ Sampson, Roy Williams, Steve Wojciechowski and Mike Young.