#11 Purdue: 2010-11 Basketball Preview
Overall Rank: #11
Conference Rank: #3 Big Ten Conference
2009-10: 29-6, 14-4
2009-10 postseason: NCAA
Coach: Matt Painter (112-56 at Purdue, 137-61 overall)
When Robbie Hummel was out with a knee injury, Purdue struggled. During that stretch, they went 5-3. Half of their losses came during that short time without Hummel. That is how important he is to this team. All looked well with Hummel healthy at the start of practice. However, that did not last long as he re-tore his ACL the following day and will miss the entire 2010-2011 campaign. Purdue hoped to make a Final Four run and looked poised to do so, but that is not likely the case anymore.
Key Losses: G Keaton Grant, G Chris Kramer
What Hummel’s injury does do is puts a lot of pressure on incoming freshman Travis Carroll and redshirt freshmen Sandi Marcius. At 6-9 and 247 pounds, Carroll has the size and strength to make an impact as a freshman. He is not a typical bruiser in the paint, but he is a good passer and at least has enough size to fill in some minutes. Marcius has a little more potential after sitting out last season with a broken foot. He is a big body at 6-9 and 260 pounds and will have to play some quality minutes. The backcourt newcomers were getting most of the hype prior to Hummel’s injury. Terone Johnson is a superb point guard who will be running this team in the years to come, but Anthony Johnson is a great shooter who can provide a spark off the bench right away.
Even without Hummel, Purdue has some very talented players. E’Twaun Moore highlights that group after leading the Boilermakers with 16.4 points per game. Moore can score from anywhere on the floor and his ability to play the often overlooked mid-range game makes him one of the most dynamic scorers in the country. Moore is a decent passer and has enough size at 6-3 to grab some rebounds, but it will be his defensive skills that will be put to the test this season without Chris Kramer around. One of the more interesting battles for playing time will be next to Moore on the wing. Purdue likes to play three guards and that leaves Ryne Smith, D.J. Byrd and John Hart to battle with the newcomers for a starting role. Smith is the most experienced option, but he needs to start shooting better if he wants to secure a starting job.
The star of the frontcourt is JaJuan Johnson. After flirting with the NBA, the 6-10, 220 pounder opted to return to West Lafayette, Indiana for his senior season. If the rest of the Big Ten thought Johnson was strong last year, they will be in for a big surprise this time around. Even bigger and stronger, Johnson will dominate the paint. He is coming off of a season in which he averaged 15.5 points per game and led the team with 7.1 rebounds and 2.1 blocks. He is a true force in the paint, but how productive he can be without Hummel by his side for an entire season remains to be seen. Patrick Bade is a physical player who had a relatively successful freshman campaign despite playing limited minutes. He is no Hummel, but Bade can hit the mid-range jumper to spread out the defense and should have the early lead over the freshmen for the starting power forward spot.
Who to Watch:
Lewis Jackson broke his foot last season and that really neutralized his speed for the rest of the season. Now healthy, Jackson could step back into the starting point guard role. After averaging an impressive 3.4 assists and 0.9 turnovers in the 16 contests he played in, Jackson certainly has the ability to run this team. Kelsey Barlow could run the show too. The problem is neither of those two are scorers and they will have to split minutes.
Assuming Jackson or Barlow will not suddenly become shooters, this team needs to find somebody to compliment Moore’s scoring on the perimeter. Keaton Grant and Kramer did it relatively well last year, but it will be even more important this season without Hummel drawing so much attention. Moore and JaJuan Johnson are the only two returning players who averaged over 3.5 points per game and finding a third scorer is of the utmost importance.
Projected Post-season Tournament: NCAA
Projected Starting Five:
Lewis Jackson, Junior, Guard, 2.4 ppg
Ryne Smith, Junior, Guard, 2.6 ppg
E’Twaun Moore, Senior, Guard, 16.4 ppg
Patrick Bade, Sophomore, Forward, 1.5 ppg
JaJuan Johnson, Senior, Center, 15.5 ppg
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