GBI Magazine

Gold and Black Illustrated Vol28, Digital1

Gold and Black is a multi-platform media company that covers Purdue athletics like no one else.

Issue link:

Contents of this Issue


Page 63 of 74

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 1 64 Because of it, Purdue expects to play small- er and faster when mobile backup big men Jacquil Taylor or Matt Haarms are on the floor. Whatever increased tempo Purdue plays with — and it's not like the Big Ten's top scoring team last season was defined solely by its plodding before — would jibe with the anticipated rise to prominence of sophomore guard Carsen Edwards, one of the most tal- ented scoring guards Painter's had in West Lafayette. Whether it's for Carsen Edwards, Vincent Edwards or whoever, expect more ball-screen offense from Purdue, for one thing. And while Purdue returns an outstanding corps of jump-shooters, Swanigan's passing out of the post and the attention he drew around the basket were critical components to it. "I think the floor can be more spaced out depending on what our lineup is, because we'll play small sometimes," point guard P.J. Thompson said. "I think we'll have different offense, whether it's dribble handoffs or pick- and-rolls, but we're definitely going to have to get in the paint, just because we don't have a Biggie to throw it to every time and Isaac can't play 40. "We definitely have to make plays for our teammates and ourselves off the dribble." That would fall in line with the skill sets of two of the players Purdue will feature most prominently offensively, both Carsen and Vincent Edwards, as well as the improvement Dakota Mathias, in particular, seems to be showing scoring off the dribble. TAYLOR'S TIME In context, no Boilermaker did more to answer the questions surrounding him in August than hard-luck junior big man Tay- lor, who missed last season due to injury, the third season out of five that have been basi- cally a wash for him due to health issues. UP AND DOWN THE ROSTER A look at each Boilermaker as of summer's end: No. Player Position Year Height Weight 1 Aaron Wheeler Forward Freshman 6-9 200 The rookie combo forward has shown immense promise and more physical readiness than he was probably given credit for before he enrolled. But he remains a bit rough around the edges and Purdue has experience in its frontcourt. There's no need to rush him along. 3 Carsen Edwards Guard Sophomore 6-0 190 The player with the most potential to make the biggest leap from last season to this one, the guard stood out for USA Basketball's 19-and-Under team in June, maybe a springboard to big things now. He'll contend to lead Purdue in scoring. Defense and efficiency will be hot-button emphases, but he looks better now than he would have last season. 5 Eden Ewing Forward Junior 6-9 215 The junior college transfer couldn't enroll until July. It'll be a process for him, most likely, as he looks for a niche to carve, but his athleticism and energy stand out against the rest of Purdue's roster. 11 P.J. Thompson Guard Senior 5-10 185 Purdue's multi-year starter at point guard is as known a commodity by now as they come. His track record of taking care of the basketball as well as any guard in America and making seemingly every big three-pointer he takes follows him into his final season. In terms of leadership, Purdue's in good hands at the most leadership-driven of positions. 12 Vincent Edwards Forward Senior 6-8 225 The senior should see his usage amped up with Caleb Swanigan off to the NBA. And the NCAA Tourna- ment last season showed a player who's first-team All-Big Ten-capable. He'll have every chance to reach that level this season. Purdue needs him to have his best rebounding season. When he's at his best on the boards, he's played his best. 14 Ryan Cline Guard Junior 6-6 195 A dangerous shooter and now experienced presence, Cline will be a key contributor again. He seems to be more aggressive playing off the bounce, which may not be his defining strength, but would balance out his repertoire some. 15 Tommy Luce Guard Sophomore 5-10 150 The walk-on guard can best help Purdue in practice, with his game-night roles still limited to mop-up duty. Fans will continue to want him to shoot. 20 Nojel Eastern Guard Freshman 6-6 220 This will be an experiment of sorts, playing the forward-sized freshman at the point, especially at this early stage of his career. But he's an excellent passer who'll give Purdue another threat as a penetrator and maybe some value-added on the glass. 23 Jacquil Taylor Center Junior 6-10 240 Some of the best news of the summer for Purdue came in Taylor's play. He's healthy and looked it and more early in World University Games play. He's been active, aggressive, rebounding with physicality, blocking shots and giving Purdue the sort of mobile 5 as a defender and screener it hasn't had lately. 24 Grady Eifert Forward Junior 6-6 220 The walk-on forward was given early-rotation opportunities in initial World University Games-related events and produced every time. The fact he got those chances underscores the value of his consistent effort and the trust coaches have in him. He could contribute this season. 31 Dakota Mathias Guard Senior 6-4 200 Purdue's stalwart two-way guard has been more aggressive off the dribble than ever, whether it's been penetrating or dribbling into mid-range jumpers off shot fakes or screens. He'll be an All-Big Ten candi- date, for certain, this season. 32 Matt Haarms Forward/Center R-Freshman 7-3 250 Purdue didn't get as comprehensive a look at the young big man this summer as it did everyone else, since citizenship matters barred him from participating in Taipei or benefiting from its unlimited-practice allowances. But he's not as new to the program as the other newcomers and will have ample opportuni- ties to vie for a meaningful role in the fall. Purdue could use another big for its rotation. 44 Isaac Haas Center Senior 7-2 290 The senior big man dominated at times on offense in early World University Games events, but has run into foul trouble at times, too, crystalizing one of the biggest questions around him leading into this season. When he's on the floor, Purdue's getting him the ball. It needs from him consistency, sound decision-making and the best he has to offer on the boards in addition to the destination player he'll be offensively. 55 Sasha Stefanovic Guard Freshman 6-4 195 The freshman enjoyed a strong summer. You might call him a pleasant surprise for Purdue. He made shots all summer, showed a sharp basketball IQ and dispelled perceptions of him as a one-trick-pony jump-shooter. Thing is, with Mathias and Cline in the program, there might be redundancy there. Stefanovic would seem like a textbook redshirt possibility because of it. — Brian Neubert

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of GBI Magazine - Gold and Black Illustrated Vol28, Digital1