Matt Painter can coach. We all know that. If he couldn’t, he wouldn’t be able to turn a program that won a total of 16 games the prior two seasons he came to Purdue to a program that has appeared in the NCAAs six straight seasons.
So since I got that out of the way, here I go.
This team is very, very young. With youth comes immaturity. Painter knows how to coach youngsters; he coached JaJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel into All-Big Ten players, some all All-Americans.
The problem is, Ronnie Johnson, A.J. Hammons, Rapheal Davis — although not necessarily him — and some of the other players don’t have the character that those three have. Those three were high-character type kids. I’m not saying that these guys aren’t; I’m just saying that they are wired differently, and they need to be coached differently.
Painter has been pretty critical of Ronnie and Hammons, sure, they have struggled at times this year, but they’ve also done a lot of good things. I read everything that Painter says when he is interviewed; I get the whole transcript at the Exponent. He’s being too critical of the freshman, in my opinion. He points out what they did well briefly and then comes back with tons of things they need to improve one. Do they need to improve? Sure they do. But give them a little break once in a while, pat them on the behind, give a high-five.
Hammons won Big Ten Freshman of the Week last week and Painter made nothing of it. In fact, he said he was shocked that he won it as Purdue got blown out by Indiana and Northwestern. They did get blown out, but find some positives in a season that hasn’t had many. This was the perfect time for that. I’m all for getting on people that aren’t listening and aren’t trying. Not sure if this is the case with some of these players, but sometimes you need to approach things differently. He’s frustrated and it shows. Like I said after the Northwestern game, he looked exhausted and worn out.
It shows, and I think it’s directly affecting some of his players. Be more positive and give these guys some time, Matt. I think you need to lay off some of these guys a little or I think you might lose some of them permanently.