Smotherman, Scott named to Indiana All-Star team

Some good news on the basketball front today. Purdue commits, Bryson Scott and Basil Smotherman, were named to the 13-man Indiana All-Star team.

2013 commit Bryson Scott takes the ball to the hoop during a high school game.

2013 commit Bryson Scott takes the ball to the hoop during a high school game.

Smotherman was not named to the team a year ago, but an excellent senior season propelled him into position. The Indianapolis Star reported the news today and here is the article they wrote.

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Next year’s freshman class

Last week I talked about next year’s team and some of the expectations. Here is an article from Gold & Illustrated, one of the best publications to cover Purdue athletics, and what they think about the incoming freshmen specifically.

I agree with a lot that is said in this projection for each freshman and what they can do next year. Bryson Scott brings an intensity that will change the dynamic of this Purdue team. Scott doesn’t like to lose — and he surely doesn’t like to lose a spot to a player on the team that he thinks he is better than. Competition within the team could prove huge next season.

Basil Smotherman is a wildcard like Gold & Black says. He is very athletic. Purdue doesn’t have a lot of those players and the ones that it does have, Jacob Lawson for example, haven’t developed yet. We’ll see if Smotherman can make an impact.

Stephens is a great shooter, I agree with what they say there. I would say to the questions section that he will more than likely be 100 percent well in time before Purdue starts its regular season. I believe that he needs to, while getting healthier, improve his strength as a player. Coming into college, Stephens needs to learn to play more physical, especially in the Big Ten. If he wants to do that, he needs to put on more muscle and mass.

Video project

With the basketball season over for Purdue, there wasn’t an “event” that directly pertained to my beat. I decided to cover both bases of my beat for this assignment, Purdue and basketball. The event that I attended was at the France A. Cordova Recreational Sports Center. I watched Purdue students play basketball at the new facility, and it was a lot of fun. Purdue freshman center A.J. Hammons was there looking on, as well. Basketball at the Co Rec can get pretty intense as I have noticed throughout my time here at Purdue, but sitting sideline and shooting video was something different. This was shot at the Gold & Black Gym on level one of the facility.

As I have interviewed a lot of Purdue students about Purdue basketball this year, I decided to do my interview away from the court. So I split my event into two parts you could say. Since my beat is Purdue basketball and I wanted to get some insight about next year’s team from a maybe more credible source than just a regular student, I interviewed Colin Mairet, he is one of the assistant sports editors at The Exponent and has followed Purdue basketball for a while, and it’s his job to follow the team. He talked about graduating senior D.J. Byrd and his impact of leaving, next year’s possible lineup, expectations and the incoming freshman that will be arriving.

Keady elected to College Basketball Hall of Fame

Former Purdue icon Gene Keady has been elected to the College Basketball Hall of Fame, one of the seven-man 2013 class.

I’m not that old so I don’t remember too much of Gene Keady. I didn’t really watch Purdue until Matt Painter took over, either, so the early 2000s when he coached I can’t recall anything. keady

So I don’t have too much credibility in saying this, but what the heck took so long?! I don’t know the qualifications of being in the hall, and I don’t know how old you have to be, but Keady seemed like a no brainer the moment he walked away from Purdue. He is still helping Steve Lavin at St. Johns, but it just seems like this is long overdue, to me at least.

Here is the article that the Purdue Athletics Department wrote about Keady going to the Hall of Fame.

Preview: Next season

Since the season is over, and there is really nothing to preview in the immediate future for the Purdue basketball team, I thought I would offer some thoughts on next season.

Purdue’s 16-18 overall record this season was certainly not what it wanted. Seniors D.J. Byrd and Dru Anthrop will not be back next year. One thing that a lot of fans do is underestimate a value of a certain player if they are not a star. They skip over the “glue” guys and the guys that don’t attract attention to themselves. Lewis Jackson is an example of this. Jackson was an extremely good point guard, even great at times. People underestimated him leaving and what kind of effect it would have. I think similar things might be said for Byrd. Yes, he didn’t play great this season. Nobody did. But even the shots he didn’t hit, he was stretching the floor. Purdue won’t have a player like that next season. Incoming freshman Kendall Stephens can be that guy, but to expect him to come in right away and do the same things as Byrd would be unfair. Although I do think Purdue collectively — if players work on their games over the summer — should be a better three-point shooting team. I think there is potential there for Terone Johnson and Rapheal Davis to improve their percentages.

Improve is a key word for next season. If this young team doesn’t put the work in during the offseason, I would expect similar results for next season; however, if players like Hammons, Ronnie, Davis and Simpson all improve, Purdue could be pretty good. And the potential is there for all four of those players to be great. The question is do they want to?

The incoming freshmen are highly-touted. Kendall Stephens, as mentioned above, is a 6-6 shooting guard that can really shoot it. If you YouTube his name and watch some of his videos, you will be impressed. He has a very good looking stroke. He needs to put on some weight and muscle if he wants to play in the Big Ten, though. Basil Smotherman is a really interesting prospect. During his freshman year in high school he was one of the top 30 or so ranked players nationally. Then he fell of the face of the earth so to speak. He fell out of the rankings and still isn’t ranked in the top 150. But all reports out there are that he has really transformed as a player in the last year or so and should be in the ranking the next time they are out. He is a 6-7, athletic wing-type player that can shoot from the perimeter. And lastly is probably the most anticipated recruit of them all, Bryson Scott. I imagesdon’t think it’s for his skillset either, although it’s pretty good. Scott’s intangibles are what sets him apart from everyone else. He hates losing and will do anything not to. You hear about a lot of players that are like that. None more than Scott. He has the potential to change the makeup of this team, an issue that head coach Matt Painter commented all season as something that needs to change, the culture of Purdue basketball that is.

I think next season will be better. How much better I do not know. I do think the incoming class will help this team get back into the top 25 at some point next year.

Interview with Purdue Student about college basketball

I interviewed Dylan Rudolph, a junior student here at Purdue, about the NCAA tournament so far and a little bit about Purdue basketball.

Q: Have you enjoyed the tournament?

Rudolph: Yeah, I have. I always enjoy this time of year when it comes to college basketball. The amount of upsets that happen are always interesting. This year you got Florida Gulf Coast and some other teams so that’s really cool.

Q: What’s been your favorite game?

Rudolph: I liked the Wichita State and Gonzaga game. Obviously, Gonzaga was the No.1 seed and they went down. The game went back and forth and had a lot of suspense at the end, which was cool.

Q: Who do you have winning it all?

Rudolph: I still have my championship team, Michigan, in it. Other than that, my bracket is completely busted. I had Wisconsin and Georgetown in my elite 8. Not good.

Q: Give us your take on the Purdue season and the decision to play in the CBI?

Rudolph: This year was disappointing, no doubt about it. A lot of people were predicting this team to make the tournament prior to the season beginning. We lost Hummel, (Lewis Jackson) and Ryne Smith, so there were a lot of holes to fill. We just had too much youth and immaturity this season.  I think we’ll continue to get better next year and hopefully make the tournament. As far as the CBI, I thought it was good for them to get the experience, even if it was a couple games. That goes a long way. I hadn’t even heard of the tournament before Purdue decided to play.

Reaction to loss in second round of CBI

The Purdue Boilermakers’ disappointing season culminated Monday night with a loss to Santa Clara, 86-83.

I could go into a overall season recap, but I think I will save that for later. Monday night’s game was won by Santa Clara’s Kevin Foster, plain and simple. Foster is school’s all-time leading scorer with over 2,000 points for his career. Head coach Matt Painter said that he was the best scorer his team has faced all season, including Trey Burke. While Burke may be the best player in the country, Foster is the best scoring two-guard, Painter said.He scored 28 second-half points after going just 2-for-9 and scoring six points in the first half.

I had honestly never even heard of Foster before Monday’s game, but he sure deserved all the compliments he was getting from Painter last Friday during his media teleconference. The dagger three that Foster hit with about 30 seconds left to extend the lead to 5, 83-78, was extremely contested and he hit it with no problem.

But Purdue should have won the game.

It outrebounded the Broncos, outscored them in fast break points, outscored them in second-chance points; all the categories that are good indicators of a win, Purdue won. It just didn’t win the ultimate decider, the end score.

The Boilermakers struggled coming out in the first half and more importantly the second, when they fell victim to a 26-12 run in the first 10 minutes. Santa Clara started hitting shots it just simply missed in the first. That run was ultimately too much to overcome for Purdue, an its season ended in a CBI second round exit. Ronnie Johnson scored a career high 27 points and his brother added 22 which were bright spots. But A.J. Hammons was a no show in a game that he could have dominated — Santa Clara’s frontline was not very good, and it lacked size and depth. Rapheal Davis didn’t score, although he did grab nine rebounds.

Maybe it is good that the season ended, who knows. Players can focus on what they need to do to get better for next season. One thing is for sure, next season needs to be better or else fans will start to get uneasy about the state of this program.