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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 27, Digital 5

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Page 67 of 87

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 27, ISSUE 5 68 BY BRIAN NEUBERT T he impact made by Purdue's 2014 sign- ing class is difficult to overstate, as it was the right group at the right time for a Boilermaker program that had endured back-to-back forgettable seasons. From Day 1, Vincent Edwards, Dakota Mathias, Isaac Haas and P.J. Thompson — Jacquil Taylor signed in that group, too, but has been set back by injury — were part of the solution when the program needed substance as much as it needed good players. That year's freshmen provided both and Purdue's for- tunes turned quickly. Now, the '14 class is leaving. Edwards and Haas have their names in the NBA draft. They can — and likely will — return, but if they do, the end of the line comes next March, as it will for Mathias and Thompson, too. The foursome will leave as one of the most productive and influen- tial classes in Purdue's modern era. They won't be easily replaced. But that's the process Matt Painter and his staff are undertaking currently, this spring and summer and into the fall, maybe next spring, to put together the 2018 class that, in effect, would fill this forth- coming void. Scholarship numbers are a moving target, depen- dent on what Purdue does in terms of additions this spring to next season's team and whether there's any further attrition to come. None, beyond the NBA situ- ation, is expected, but it very rarely is. Purdue will have at least four scholarships, though, and while the point and the post seem like needs, the wing will come to center stage, too, as evidenced by Purdue's early moves. There's probably no established hierarchy to who the Boilermaker coaching staff wants in this class more than anyone else, but if there were, it's safe to say that the names Robby Carmody, Eric Hunter and Damezi Anderson would be way up there. Carmody, from the Pittsburgh area, has been a prime Boilermaker target since prior to his sopho- more season, for pretty obvious reasons. The 6-foot-4 guard is probably one of the most competitive and toughest players in his class, those being his defin- ing characteristics, but not to the point they should overshadow his excellent athleticism, his shooting and slashing ability and his ample defensive poten- tial. Carmody, ranked's No. 99 nationally in his class, looked at one time on track for a relative- ly early decision, which very well might have been Purdue had it materialized, but his recruitment now seems on pace to go into the fall. He's buried in great offers, but Purdue's main competition may be CRITICAL CLASS TO COME Purdue's 2018 class will be an important one in the big picture Brian Neubert Purdue would like to keep local point guard Robert Phinisee home. How inclined he might be to do so remains to be seen.

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