Wellsir, we had so much fun with our Big Ten brethren that we decided to bring sexy back for hoops, too. And who better to start things off with than the stalwart gentlemen at Boiled Sports… you can check our rantings on their version of the Inquisition over at their comfy digs. Onward-
Is Matt Painter there for the long haul (Gene Keady-style) or is there a good possibility of him leaving given the success he’s brought to the program?
Bite your tongue.
We’re big fans of Matty (“Matty” was coined by Brent Musburger, even though nobody else in the world calls him Matty) and his methods. He’s an easy guy to cheer for, he seems to do things the right way…and oh yeah, he’s got the program winning again. One lousy season when he inherited a mess from Keady and then it’s been 20+ wins and tourney appearances (and advances) ever since. It fascinates us how Painter turned things around so quickly yet down south a certain program continues to spin its wheels in year three of the new regime. But that’s another story for a different foe.
We think — and hope — Painter is here for the long haul. He recently agreed to an extension for another six years through 2017 which would bring him to twelve seasons in West Lafayette. For a guy who played for the program, we think that’s a good sign he’s here for as long as we’ll have him. We can’t foresee any reason we’d not want him as alums and fans, nor can we imagine him leaving. If he makes a Final Four, then he’ll be up for sainthood in WL, since that’s something Keady couldn’t ever do.
In your opinion, who’s a better pro prospect- Moore or Johnson?
Wow, that’s tough, and not just because we love all our kids the same. These guys both have explosive abilities but also seem to shrink at times…and inexplicably so. Both also play better when they’re mad…but they’re both very easygoing, so that’s not a frequent occurrence. Johnson needs a little more bulk, but I guess as of this moment I would lean towards him being a slightly better prospect, just because big men with a soft touch are often successful in the NBA, despite not getting the flashy press. (Think Tim Duncan, though, no, I’m not suggesting JJ is there yet.)
Moore has a silky smooth shot and when he’s in the proper mindset has this extra gear where he won’t be denied. He showed that in the first half against Sparty on Saturday and we’ll need him to show it again on Tuesday.
Considering the absence of Hummel, is this team meeting expectations, exceeding expectations, or failing to meet expectations?
Well, let me first say that you get a cookie for making it to the third question before asking about Rob. This story has been something that gutted us at first, as you might imagine. I can’t even describe how we felt at BS and in the Purdue community. Just absolutely crushing. And it wasn’t all for selfish reasons — it was feeling truly awful for Rob. I said on one of our podcasts that he’s the rare athlete who is liked by not only his teammates and fans, but by media, other coaches and opposing players as well.
Then we all realized things were not over, as we get to watch two (instead of three) potential All-Americans in JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore. Sure, we’d love to have Rob along, but it’s still been a great ride thus far and we’re back to believing a Final Four is possible. So to answer your question, I think the team is meeting our admittedly high expectations. But we think it’s fair for them to be high… as I said, this is a team with loads of talent. Let’s pretend for a minute that you’re looking at Purdue and Rob Hummel has never existed. Wouldn’t you think this looks like a damn formidable team? We would, too, which is where we landed on this. And seeing Rob’s positive attitude — the guy got over it faster than anyone — and its effect on the team, well, like I said, we began to believe again.
All that said, there is no way to avoid the “imagine if we’d had Rob” game unless these guys win the whole damn thing, right? No matter where the season ends, it’ll always be in the back of our heads that it could have gone one more game at least if Rob was pumping in 15-20 a game and playing defense. But that’s life and we couldn’t be prouder of how these guys have stayed the course.
Name one player that the media is ignoring, but Buckeye fans should know.
I don’t know if the media is talking about anyone but E’Twaun and JaJuan (and Rob Hummel more than anyone), but I guess I’ll go with Kelsey Barlow. Kelsey is a 6’5″ sophomore with a punk streak in him. We’d probably hate him if he played for somebody else. He got punished for giving the choke sign at IU last year and it was basically his nonsense on Twitter that got the whole team told this year that Twitter was off-limits. But he also is an instant energizer.
The latest example was against MSU. He entered the game and on the ESPN broadcast, you could see him eyeballing everyone…then the next time down, he took the ball and cut to the hoop to thunderdunk on everybody and bring the house down. MSU was just beginning to show signs of life and he slammed the door pretty emphatically. This is what Barlow brings, as well as the ability to spell Lewis Jackson at the point.
How has the upcoming recruiting class shaped up? How do things look for the future?
Purdue has never been able to recruit as well as IU based on name recognition, perceived tradition or dusty banners (for those whom 50 year old titles matter). But things are definitely looking good right now. There are those who were on Painter a little bit in recent months for not signing some of the big gets that Crean landed at IU. However, if Purdue keeps winning 25+ games a year and IU can’t even make the NIT, well, who cares?
The two guys on the list for next year are expected to make an impact right away…and with the loss of JJ and E’Twaun, that’ll be key. Jacob Lawson and Donnie Hale are their names and Hale in particular wanted to be a Boilermaker so bad that when he learned there wasn’t a scholarship available for him this year, he agreed to go play at a prep school for another year and then come to Purdue. We kind of like that.
As for 2012, Purdue has two four-stars (for whatever that’s worth), which makes the future feel bright for whatever weight you can put on 16-17 year old kids.
Painter isn’t a brilliant recruiter insofar as landing big-time, five-star headliners…but we don’t think that’s what he’s looking for. He’s looking for four-year guys who are willing to buy into his system of intense defense first, pressure defense second, physical defense third… and then offense. Seriously, though, the guys who fit the Purdue mold aren’t always the shiny recruits. We trust in Matt.
The Big East is getting the usual amount of media love from ESPN, but the Big Ten seems to be at an all time high in terms of quality teams this year. How would you compare the two conferences?
The Big Ten is loaded this year. Over half the teams ranked at any given time and your bottom half teams include tough outs like Penn State and Northwestern. ESPN and other media sycophants do indeed continue to trumpet the Big East and never seem to notice the glaring inconsistencies in their comparisons. If the Big Ten had an additional five programs, well, there would be even more good teams in the conference! The Big East is bloated and has absolute joke programs like DePaul, Seton Hall, Rutgers and Providence. Yes, they have some terrific programs, too, but let’s stop with acting like the Big East is a “gauntlet” to get through. Some of the schedule is brutal, yes. Other parts include getting to curb-stomp South Florida.
The Big East, as I write this, has seven of their sixteen teams ranked. The Big Ten has six of eleven. You tell me which sounds better. The math isn’t very difficult.
Add to that the Big East’s positively abysmal showing in the tourney last year…which, of course, is explained away with how hard their conference schedule and conference tournament are. Cry me a river.
It all reminds me of the same bullspit we hear all fall about the SEC, despite the fact that SEC East champ South Carolina dominated with a 9-5 overall record. Spare me.
Unlike the nonsensical bowl setup in football, the NCAA basketball tourney will demonstrate which teams are superior. And just like last year, I won’t be surprised when the Big Ten shows well.
I’ll tell you what I am sure of, though….nobody in the Big East can sing like this: