You can't teach size. Purdue has two tall players vying for playing time at the center position - Bree Horrocks and Nora Kiesler, at 6-5 and 6-6. The team will need more offensive production from these two players deep in the post to open up more mid range and long range shots for the rest of the team.
Starting at Center
Junior, Height 6-5
Every player adjusts to the college level at a different rate of speed. This seems to ring true more so for centers than for other positions. In high school, a very tall player can stand flat-footed and swat shots out of the air. While Bree Horrocks spent most of her freshman year adjusting to the college game, she made significant improvements in her contributions to the team her sophomore season. Horrocks provided some much needed post scoring, grabbed rebounds especially on the defensive side, made some nice passes, and moved much better without the ball.
Now that she is a junior and one of the team leaders, Horrocks will be called upon to produce even more in the scoring department especially. She has a nice touch on her shot and can hit some mid-range jumpers as well as shots closer in. Expect to see more player development in other areas, including overall speed, defense, shot blocking, and offensive rebounds with stronger moves to block out opponents to get those rebounds. Horrocks will be called upon to use her natural height to clog up the lane and make it more difficult for opponents to drive to the hoop.
Reserve at Center
Sophomore, Height 6-6
A lot of the same things apply to Nora Kiesler. She is tied for the tallest player in Purdue history at 6-6. During the non-conference season, Kiesler showed some great promise at taking advantage of her height. She seemed to hit a bit of a freshman wall during the conference season, but over the course of her freshman year maintained a shot blocking and altering presence in the post. Kiesler has also worked hard on keeping her hands up high, taking a pass up there and putting the ball in the basket without bringing her arms down. That is only going to get better and more frequent.
Already an intimidation factor on defense, Kiesler will be called upon to up her point production. Other skills to look for improvement on are moving without the basketball and passing out of the post.
With 3 awesome forwards, adding in these two centers, this should provide Purdue with some really good scoring options in the post. Ae'Rianna Harris will be added to the mix as a true freshman and may get some playing time at the center position if the team is playing against a shorter lineup. Harris will also be expected to contribute on offense more than she was asked to do in high school.
This completes the player profiles for our 2016-2017 Lady Boilers. On the one hand, Coach Versyp will have to replace her best player of a year ago in April Wilson with some young talent at the guard position, but overall, this year's team is deeper really at all positions on the court.
The exhibition game against Ursuline College will be covered in live video by BTN Plus on this coming Sunday at 2 PM, for those of you subscribed to that service. It will be interesting to see how the new mix of players gels and how playing time is distributed with such a deep bench. Coach V is also looking to push the ball up the court faster than in previous years. We will see how that project is working out very soon.