Rank: #7 Big Ten
9-19, 3-13, 11th
last years record be any indication of what happens at Purdue
this season. A plethora of injuries decimated the squad and,
with a clean bill of health, second year coach Matt Painter is
ready to take this squad back to its rightful place far away
from the bottom of the Big Ten standings.
There are still quite a few departures from West Lafayette.
Every forward that didn’t get hurt, and even some who did, are
gone. Matt Kiefer averaged 12.0 points and 7.5 rebounds and
Marcus White added on 10.1 points and 4.0 boards before
succumbing to injuries. Gary Ware started 13 contests and Matt
Carroll was forced into action during 24 games. That covers
every forward who played in more than five games last year. The
backcourt losses are just as painful with the departure of
Bryant Dillon and Korey Spates. Dillon averaged 6.9 points and
3.0 assists during his senior campaign and Spates averaged 10.1
points in 15 games before leaving the program.
Due to the injuries, there is quite an impressive list of player
who didn’t see action last year. In the backcourt David Teague
and Tarrance Crump are expected to step into starting roles.
Teague averaged 14.0 points per game two years ago and will once
again light up the Big Ten with his long range shooting. Crump
was expected to be the starting point guard last year after
transferring from Shelton State Community College in Alabama,
but did not play during the 2005-2006 campaign. He’ll jump into
that role this year though and shouldn’t have any problems
taking over. Walk-on Geno Parker missed last season with a hip
injury and will provide some emergency depth. A couple incoming
freshmen also have the ability to make an impact. Chris Kramer,
a 6-3 combo guard, averaged 19.1 points and 4.0 assists last
year at Huntington North High School in Indiana and is a solid
backup for Crump. Keaton Grant is a versatile wing who can fill
up the stat sheet. The backcourt depth may prevent him from
seeing too many minutes immediately, but he is expected to
develop into a big time player over his career. The big guys
are where Purdue needs some help. Of course, having Carl Landry
back after playing in five games before a knee injury ended his
season will help. Two years ago the 6-7 forward averaged 18.2
points and 7.2 rebounds and all-conference honors will await him
for this campaign. Gordon Watt, Dan Vandervieren and Jonathan
Uchendu will provide some depth up front. Watt, a transfer from
Boston College, only saw action in six games for the Eagles, but
is a very athletic player who isn’t afraid to take his 6-7 frame
inside. Vandervieren is a solid shot blocker, but it will take
some time for the freshman to adjust to playing in the Big Ten.
Uchendu is a long and lean center with plenty of potential. He
won’t be a major force on the offensive end quite yet, but if he
can become a consistent player it will help out the frontcourt
problems that will plague the Boilermakers.
Who to Watch:
The perimeter trio of Nate Minnoy, Chris Lutz and Marcus Green
had quality freshmen campaigns and will be an important part of
the team as sophomores. Even though their playing time might be
diminished with the return of Teague and Crump, this group has
the potential to breakout. Minnoy, who started 12 games before
tearing an MCL in 2005-2006, averaged 10.2 points and 5.2
rebounds last year. The 6-3, 270 pounder can use his big body
to bang inside and may be asked to play up front if none of the
newcomers are ready to fill that role. Lutz averaged 9.2 points
during his first season at Purdue and proved to be a big threat
from long range. With Teague returning, Lutz may use that
three-point range off the bench.
All this team
needs is to stay healthy and find some time to play together.
It may take a little while for the rotation to sort itself out,
but there is plenty of talent here. If you’re looking for a
surprise team in the Big Ten, take the Boilermakers.
Crump, Junior, Guard, DNP last season
Sophomore, Guard, 9.2 points per game
Senior, Guard, DNP last season
Sophomore, Forward, 10.2 points per game
Senior, Forward, 15.2 points per game