2012-2013 ITH season preview: Purdue Boilermakers

  • 09/26/2012 9:06 am in

With the college basketball season on the horizon, we’ll be taking a long look at the conference at large as well as Indiana’s roster over the next few weeks. Today, we look at the Purdue Boilermakers.

With the departures of Robbie Hummel and Lewis Jackson, it figures to be a year of transition in West Lafayette.

Hummel and Jackson combined to score 26.6 points per game last season, and they were the team’s two true leaders. Behind those two, Purdue made a run to the third round of the NCAA Tournament, and nearly pulled the upset of No. 2 seed and eventual national runner-up Kansas. The Boilermakers finished the year 22-13, and 10-8 in the Big Ten.

But the cupboard is certainly not bare. The Boilermakers return guards Terone Johnson and D.J. Byrd and forward Travis Carroll, and they bring in a rather large recruiting class. Johnson’s younger brother — Ronnie Johnson (North Central) — joins the team, along with big man A.J. Hammons and guard Rapheal Davis (Fort Wayne).

Terone Johnson is Purdue’s top returning scorer at 9.2 points per game, and Byrd averaged 8.9 points per contest last season. Purdue coach Matt Painter figures to run much of his offense through those two veterans, but a couple of the freshmen could have an immediate impact.

Hammons, the 82nd-ranked player in the 2012 class according to ESPN.com, started his high school career at Carmel before transferring to Oak Hill. He’s a 7-foot, 280-pound center who gives Purdue a legitimate body inside. The 6-foot-9, 229-pound Carroll carried much of the Boilermakers’ post duties last season.

“I think he could be an impact defensively,” Painter told The Exponent of Hammons. “It’s still a long way away. He’s got great size and he’s got great feel. Like most big guys, he’s going to have to get into shape. He will have to learn to concentrate and play through some fatigue.”

Ronnie Johnson, ranked 93rd in the 2012 class according to ESPN.com, is a 6-foot, 170-pound guard that is capable of making an outside shot. Terone Johnson is more of a two-guard, so Ronnie Johnson will likely play a significant amount at the point guard position.

“At our point guard position,” Painter told The Exponent, “we’ve had a guy there for the past four years and I think it’s important to get (the team) used to playing with Ronnie Johnson. Terone and Anthony [Johnson] are both kind of combo guards. It’s so important to get that experience playing with the guy who’s running your team.”

Bottom line: Because of the team’s youth, Purdue is one of the most difficult teams in the conference to forecast. The freshmen — Johnson and Hammons, specifically — are capable of stepping in and contributing this season, but they are certain to go through some growing pains early. If the freshmen play well, the Boilermakers are capable of hanging around in the middle of the conference. If not, they might finish near the bottom this season.

Quotable: “I’ve really been impressed by A.J. He’s 7-foot but he can run the floor. He clogs up the lane so much. We really haven’t had that before,” Terone Johnson told The Exponent.

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  • mrjonessodaandme

    No reason we should’t extend the winning streak against the Boilermakers to 4.

  • Guest

    Moderator – why do all my comments go straight to the moderator, then now show up?

  • If you’re not registered, then your comment is moderated before it’s posted.

  • superhoops

    Century old unsuccessful program? Yeah, I think PU sucks, but c’mon. So they have no national titles, but they have had success some other Big 10 teams would like to have. How many Big 10 titles do they have? 22? Seems like they have had some success. Laughable what gets posted just because it’s PU. Again I hate PU, but I recognize that they have had some pretty good teams over the years and real battles with IU. I hope everytime we play them we kill them, but century old unsuccess? Hardly.

  • Hack Wilson

    Laugh and relax, it was a jab at Purdue. Simply a joke.

  • IUfanPurduePhD

    If PUke finishes sixth or above in the B1G, that will be a successful season given their current team; I see them finishing between seventh and ninth. When Travis Carroll is a key piece of your team, you’re in trouble.
    Both Caroll and Hammons will have trouble staying out of foul trouble against Zeller… if Anthony Davis can’t do it, I highly doubt the tag-team of Carroll and Hammons can. I think PUke will still be a tough game at Mackey, but we’ll abuse them at the Hall.

  • Big_Shot_C_Wat

    I have two W’s written in pen on my schedule. Same story with Purdue. Not enough talent, but they will try to use that to motivate their players. It will help them get an extra win or two, but they will be lucky if they make the big dance this year. I forsee the CBI in the boilermakers future.

  • Oldguyy

    Ronnie Johnson is listed at 6’0″? Must have had a growth spurt over the summer.

  • Then don’t waste ink, just write PURDUE next time, LOL!

  • DarkSouth

    I like Painter as a coach and he’s a better recruiter than I originally thought. Too bad life threw him a curve ball and stuck him up there in W. Laffytaffy, or whatever that town’s called.

  • jmfriedman

    After all of the ill wishes and smack talk from all the PU fans the last few years, it is nice to see them back at tier 2 in the Big Ten. I truly hope they lose every game. I don’t see them hanging with us AT ALL this year. IU is way too athletic and even at Mackey it should be a severe beat down. I hope we play them a third time in the conference tourney to make it 5 in a row!

  • DarkSouth

    I keep hearing how much their bigs have improved from Purdue people. I also think Ronnie will be a pretty good player over his career, though probably pretty up and down as a freshman. Think he’ll be a better college player than Terone.

  • David Banners

    Purdue has had their best success beating us when their team doesn’t have the talent we had, it was a motivating factor in the Keady days and is now. Still see us being too deep for them to keep up.

  • jmfriedman

    Question- How extreme will the difficulty in recruiting to PU be with IU on the rise?

  • CreamandCrimson

    There’s plenty of very good players in the state (and the rest of the Midwest) and more than enough to go around. I think Purdue will continue to recruit Northwest Indiana very well. Their next couple of classes are already looking pretty good. I fully expect Purdue to hang around in the top half of the conference but of course, not be a national title caliber program.

  • CreamandCrimson

    I think Purdue is going to be decent this season. They will probably suffer from some wild inconsistency. Win some, and lose some, that they shouldn’t. Replacing your two leaders with freshmen and inexperienced contributors will cause that.

    Obviously, losing Robbie Hummel and Lewis Jackson is a big deal. They will miss the leadership, the points, and the versatile defense and rebounding (Hummel). However, they will have finally some height and bulk in the middle. Will it be quality size or just size? No way of knowing yet. I was never impressed with Hammons when he was at Carmel but that was a long time ago and he shouldn’t be judged on how he looked then. I don’t think Carroll is ever going to be more than a big body, same thing for Sandi Marcius. Jacob Lawson is very athletic but hasn’t show very much skill up to this point. I think Jay Simpson is going to be very good but he may not be ready yet to be a major player this season.

    The backcourt/forward spots are going to be interesting as well. DJ Byrd will need to find consistency and stop disappearing. His shooting can be a big weapon for them and he could put together an All-Big Ten season if things break right for him. If Terone Johnson could hit a free throw or play decent defense, he would be a very dangerous player. Raphael Davis is an impressive player and I think he could be a really good scorer for them. I think Ronnie Johnson was underrated by recruiting services. He is a really good player and will be a difficult matchup for the next four years. Bottom line, Purdue is probably a low-end tournament team this season that will feel like they are building for the 2013-2014 season. I think we drill them at Assembly Hall (of course, I feel this way about almost all of our home games this year) but the trip to Mackey will be tough (as always, but we still win). I guarantee this, at the end of the year, they will still have zero national titles.

  • DarkSouth

    Painter has been a good recruiter, which I didn’t think he would be. That Hummel/Johnson/Moore class was rated by Basketball Prospectus as the 5th best class in the Big Ten since 2002 (behind 3 OSU classes and IU’s ’04 class which gets partial credit for #5 Josh Smith).

    Also, this year’s class is top-15 in and next year’s may finish top-20. I’m not a huge fan of these rankings, but they’re somewhat useful as a consensus of what recruiting people think.

    He’s not getting IU, UNC, UK type classes but he’s not at those schools. I think he’s doing a pretty decent job with it. Not elite, but pretty good.

  • marcusgresham

    “He’s 7-foot but he can run the floor.”
    Uh, ‘scuse me, Terone. Have you seen our PAIR of 7-footers run?

  • marcusgresham

    Even if you are registered, you have to make sure your name comes up when you click on the comment box. Sometimes it kind of resets and you have to log back in to Disqus.

  • jahhoosier

    On paper and ignoring any imbalances created by the lack of a true round-robin schedule now in the B10, I do not see any way that Purdue finishes ahead of IU, Sparty, Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, Minnesota, or Iowa. In fairness, I also do not see any way that they finish below Nebraska.

    Another thing I cannot see is the B10 sending more than eight teams to the NCAA, and seven is more likely. That leaves Purdue fighting with Northwestern, Penn State, and Illinois for a slim chance at an NCAA berth if the B10 gets a record # of teams in.

    The Boilers could be better than any of those three teams and they could be worse than each of those three teams. But it might not matter, anyway, if the selection committee does not take eight teams.

  • Jethro Troll

    This is Painter’s 8th year as Head Coach at Purdue, and you mentioned just 2 seasons. And by the way, I have yet to see ANY recruiting site rank this year’s Purdue class in the Top 15. Painter failed to build on the momentum he had with the ’07 class, despite having a great opportunity to do so.
    You can sugarcoat it all you want, but there is a reason we find Purdue in the position it’s in right now. I guess we’ll just have to disagree with the reason why.

  • SCHoosier

    Boilers will be young.but like all Purdue/Painter teams they will be hardnosed on defense..and will continue to develop thru out the year. They’ll upset somebody in the conference….don’t believe it will be the Hoosisers..but that’s why they tip it off.

  • unclekerfuffle

    I know I have a strong bias and my comment is based on nothing but emotion but I have a warm fuzzy feeling knowing that order seems to have been restored to the universe based on my (and others’) current expectations for the outcome(s) of future IU-Purdue basketball games. Hopefully, we can get back to the high level of competition seen in the Knight-Keady era.

  • Of course we have to preface all of this by indicating these predictions come before half the team gets arrested in a 3;30am bar fight, so we will have to wait and see what their roster looks like after that! 🙂

  • DarkSouth

    You’re right about this year, just looked it up and they’ve dropped to top-20 instead of top-15. But IU isn’t even top-10 anymore with this 2012 class on ESPN’ system.

    And it seems that nationally their 2013 class is held in higher regard. Like I said, Painter isn’t an elite recruiter but he’s pretty good to get talented players to go to Purdue.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    I find it hard to believe that 280 pound AJ Hammons can run even as well as Peter.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    CBI?! I’d say every B1G team is too talented for that… I’ll give them an NIT berth!

  • Evansville Hoosier

    returning players are awful. Terone Johnson and DJ Byrd are your go to veterans? Come on. But Davis seems like a solid player, Ronnie Johnson isn’t a bad PG, and Hammons is solid. They’re 2013 class isn’t bad either.. Should be more competitive next year. But the Hoosiers are recruiting and playing to be a consistent top 3 team in the conference… Purdue is preparing to be consistently top 6. That’s probably how all this should be.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    Those teams would have to have a really solid non-conference to make it 8. I will say though that I’m fairly sure of 35 at large teams, at least 7 B1G teams would be among that 35 best teams… But since the conference is so strong their resume won’t be as strong as an Iowa State or something like that. Too bad, tournament’s loss.

  • Evansville Hoosier

    signature win at Mackey, yes. Any chance that the Hoosiers don’t get up enough for that game and get beat, no.

  • jahhoosier

    Since the B10 has gotten seven in before, I feel pretty confident that will happen this year, unless a sub-.500 (conference) team has a really bad non-con. However, I think the top seven should all have good non-con records. Iowa, for example, whom one would predict to finish #7, has a REALLY easy non-con schedule this year.

    I mention 8 only because you have to allow for it, given a) the fact that 7 has happened when the B10 was smaller and b) the B10 is perceived by everyone to be far & away the deepest conference this year. But I sure wouldn’t hang my hat on the possibility.

    Your larger point is the right one, though…tournament’s loss. In an era of such large conferences, a 68-team tournament is simply too small & non-major conferences’ policies of using their tournaments to award the auto-bid just makes the problem worse. Too many good teams are being left out.

  • MisterSlippery

    Can you imagine how hard it is to recruit kids to come to Purdue? It’s an awful place that just makes you feel dead inside. I feel a lot of sympathy for the kids who end up there. That would suck.

  • skotchie

    I’m a loyal IU fan all my life, I always want to beat Purdue but have never hated them. I had a lot of respect for coach Keady and still do. I understand the rivalry but have never understood the hate. I root for Purdue when they play anyone but IU because they are a fellow Indiana with a lot of home grown Indiana talent, and I have quite a few friends that went to Purdue from the Fort Wayne area.

  • boilerrising

    Sorry, but I’m reading bad information on this site. Purdue has one basketball national championship. I read a couple of post on here saying they will still have 0 national
    titles after this season. They won it in 1932 with the legend John Wooden at point.

  • They have one national title with Indiana legend John Wooden as point guard in 1932.

  • They have one national title with Indiana legend John Wooden as point guard in 1932.