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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 26, Digital 5

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED OLUME 26, ISSUE 5 60 keep running our offense," Mathias said of Purdue's troubles with clos- ing games. "I think at times when we get leads we get a little stagnant and we play not to lose instead of to win. If we change our mindset like that, I think we'll be all right." What Purdue needs in those sit- uations is aggressiveness, confi- dence, assertiveness, just people who want the ball in their hands in crucial situations. It stands to reason to suggest experience should matter there, as Purdue's influential sophomore class has moved to upperclassman status and last year's freshmen, Swanigan and Cline, are now sea- soned. But guard play obviously will be crucial again. P.J. Thompson returns as Pur- due's incumbent point guard, com- ing off a season in which he set a program record for assist-to-turn- over ratio and led the Boilermakers in three-point shooting, a rousing success of a season for a first-year starter by almost any broad-reach- ing, objective measure. But Purdue's guard play in the postseason could have been better. That will be a need in 2016-17, as Thompson be- comes a junior and Purdue likely brings in experi- ence to comple- ment him. The target as of the end of April was Michigan graduate trans- fer Spike Albrecht, the former Final Four star from Crown Point who's recovering from the hip surgeries that kept him out of his senior sea- son with the Wolverines. Albrecht visited Purdue in April and was expected to then take trips to Wichita State and Syracuse, but the Boilermakers make a lot of sense for him. As of now, Carsen Edwards is Pur- due's only incoming freshman. He will be Purdue's quickest and fast- est backcourt player and bring more of a dynamic scoring element than anyone in the program currently, but in a perfect world, Purdue could allow him to phase into things at a reasonable pace and not have too much pressure thrust upon him too early in his college career. He will be transitioning into a true point guard role after serving as more a scoring guard for his high school and will have to play at an entirely different pace than he's used to, common adjustments for young guards from one level to the next. But Purdue's issues this season weren't the responsibility of any one player or any one position. They were a team-wide albatross. And, thus, it's now up to everyone to be part of the solution. Even if it loses someone early to the NBA, Purdue should have the pieces next season to win a lot of games. But come March, there will be pressure, pressure to earn some measure of redemption for the fail- ures of the past two NCAA Tourna- ments. "We've done it two years in a row, put ourselves in a good position, then didn't finish it," Thompson said. "If you can't learn from two years in a row in the NCAA Tourna- ment, then you probably shouldn't be here." j 1241 Cumberland Ave, Suite B West Lafayette, IN 47906 Phone: 765-497-0197 A Fee-Based Investment Advisor located in the Purdue Research Park 25+ Years of Investment Management Experience Bill Banker, President Purdue University Alumnus '85 Purdue Baseball Alumnus '81-'85

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