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Gold and Black Illustrated Vol28, Digital1

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Page 62 of 74

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 1 63 BY BRIAN NEUBERT S et aside for a moment the simple magnitude of Purdue getting an opportunity to wear the red, white and blue — well, mostly the white and blue — by representing the United States on an international stage at the World University Games. Consider, instead, the inevitable benefits Team USA will draw from the experience, once it returns to being primar- ily Purdue at the end of August, not just the games it will have played in Taipei, but the many practices it was able to hold this summer in advance of them. Long story short: Purdue should enter this season to come further along — and knowing more about itself — than perhaps any other season ever, because of the World University Games experience and all that came with it. "With scrimmages and practices, we probably got 30 opportunities to be together before we went to Taiwan," Coach Matt Painter said. "That's pretty cool to be able to spend that kind of time with your teammates and work on things and try to get better, especially when we have four seniors. Even though we have four seniors and a lot of ex- perience, we lost somebody that was huge for us, a great player (in Caleb Swanigan). "Even though you only lose one guy, you're still a differ- ent team. We have to figure things out. Last year we ob- viously did. I think we will also this year, but it does take time. We're able to get some early time here this summer, and that's definitely going to benefit us." The summer afforded important experience opportu- nities for new players and potentially valuable leadership opportunities for older players. Returning captains Dakota Mathias, Vincent Edwards and P.J. Thompson essentially ran July practices while coaches were off recruiting. "Our coaches trust us now and I think our class has kind of earned that from them," Edwards said. Shortly thereafter, Purdue boarded its flight to the Far East following a revealing few months of practices. Here's a look at some of those reveals from the sum- mer, as well as early World University Games competition. DIFFERENT ON OFFENSE With All-American Swanigan gone and Isaac Haas unlikely to be a 30-plus-minute-per-game player, the Boilermakers won't be as post-centric as they've been lately. SO FAR AHEAD Purdue should have learned a lot about itself this summer Tom Campbell Vincent Edwards and the Boilermakers have taken advantage of a busy month of August, hoping their overseas play in the World University Games is a good platform for the start of the 2017-18 season.

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