Purdue Basketball Player Preview

Purdue men’s basketball head coach Matt Painter points to one of his players and smiles during Purdue’s 77-53 victory over Cleveland State on Dec. 10 in Mackey Arena. Alex Kumar | Photo Editor | Purdue Exponent

New season, New look?

The Boilermakers enter the season without their all-american from a year ago in Caleb Swanigan. With that being said the Boilers return 4 starters who are all going into their senior year. This will be one of the most experienced teams in the Big Ten, as well as the nation. Experience only takes you so far, so who steps up? Lets break down this years roster and preview each player.

P.J. Thompson

P.J. a 5′ 10″ 185 pound guard is going into his senior season. One of the most consistent players Purdue has had in many years. In his time at Purdue he has done one thing particularly well and thats taking care of the ball. For his career he has averaged 0.6 turnovers a game! P.J. has also shot the 3 ball well over his career at a 37.6% rate. He doesn’t shoot often, nor is he a big time scorer. He simply just runs the offense and plays hard on defense. You know what you are getting from P.J. and I expect more of the same this year.

Dakota Mathias

Mathias, Big Ten DPOY? Mathias is a very underrated defender, but that’s not the only thing he brings to the table. He is one of the best passers the Boilers have on the team, which is a big need in Matt Painter’s motion offense. He is also a very good shooter. The senior shot 48.9% from the field last year as well as 47.8% from beyond the arc. Mathias averaged 7.1 field goals attempts a game. I expect the same from him this year.

Vincent Edwards

With Swanigan no longer a Boilermaker someone has to take up some of his usage on offense. I believe Vincent will take on more of a role this year. The 6′ 8″ 225 pound Senior will need to step up in a big way if he is looking towards the NBA. Vincent has always been streaky throughout his years at Purdue. If he can put complete games together, he could very well see a Big Ten first team nominee in his future. Last year he averaged 12.3 points and 4.8 rebounds. With “Biggie” gone he will need to provide more of each to take this team to the next level. Is this Vincent Edward’s team?

Isaac Haas

The 7′ 2″ 290 pound senior is all alone this year. No Hammons or Swanigan for him to play alongside. Haas has always been very effective in his role, but has not averaged more than 20 minutes a game in his career. With Haas being the only big with experience, he has to continue to be effective, but in more minutes played. Haas averaged 12 points and 5 rebounds last year in 20 minutes a game. He is not the most agile or athletic guy on the court as you can assume, so I do not expect his rebounding to get much better. However, I could see him averaging a few more points and possibly another rebound a game.

Carsen Edwards

Carsen, arguably the most talented Boilermaker, will be the 5th starter this season. The 6′ 1″ 200 pound sophomore looks to take on most of the scoring that Swanigan left behind. How is that possible with the two playing completely different roles? I expect Painter to play a little different this year with the loss of an all-american forward/center. Carsen averaged 10 points on 9.6 shots last year, so he is going to put up his shots either way. I assume the rest of “Biggie’s” usage will go to Carsen. He has had a very impressive summer playing for the USA team. When the Boilermakers went overseas Carsen was also very impressive. Could this be Carsen Edward’s team?

Boilermaker Preview

Nojel Eastern

A 6′ 6″ 220 pound freshman guard. Think about that for a second. The boilermakers may have found themselves a very bright future with this one. I assume Eastern will be the backup point guard, but can he guard opposing Big Ten guards? It will be interesting to watch how Painter will use Eastern. I believe he will be a key factor off the bench for this years team.

Matt Haarms

Did I mention very bright future? How about 7′ 3″ 250 pound freshman Matt Haarms. The crazy part about this kid is that he handles and shoots the ball very well. He will play on the wing as well as down low. How will Painter utilize him? Haarms, only being 25o pounds, will be eaten alive by opposing bigs on defense, but the ability he brings on offense will be just as much of a factor. Haarms was very under recruited and I can’t wait to see what he will bring to Purdue.

Ryan Cline

Cline, going into his junior year, can be an absolute flamethrower from behind the arc. With that being said, thats really all he has done in his career. He averages 4 shots a game over his career, while 3.4 of those being from behind the arc. Cline has only scored more than 10 points 6 times in his career. If he gets more shots this year he can win some games for this team, but how much playing time will he get?

Jacquil Taylor

The 6′ 10″ 240 pound junior will look to stay healthy. Injuries have plagued his career at Purdue. Taylor redshirt last year due to injury and has only 17 games played the two seasons before. Taylor could have a nice impact off the bench with his athleticism. If he stays healthy, he could be one of the top rebounders on the team. With Swanigan gone and not a lot of depth at center, rebounds will not be too tough of a task for the athletic big man.

Grady Eifert

Eifert, a 6′ 6″ 220 pound big man, had a fairly nice summer. The big man contributed quite a bit on the glass and I expect him to do the same in the regular season. With quite a few big man, but not much experience, it will be up for grabs who gets the playing time behind Haas.

Eden Ewing

The very athletic juco transfer from Tyler Junior College may not see a whole lot of playing time behind Mathias, Cline, Vincent, and Haarms. The impact Ewing will have may not come till next season, but anything can happen. Ewing is a 6′ 8″ 215 pound junior with great potential.

Aaron Wheeler

The 6′ 8″ 200 pound freshman forward may not see the court this year. Their is a good chance he will redshirt with the forward position being so loaded. Wheeler will have a nice impact in his future at Purdue.

Sasha Stefanovic

Sasha, Crown Point’s all time leading scorer, will more than likely redshirt this season as well. The 6′ 4″ 195 pound freshman guard will eventually have a nice impact at Purdue.

Projected Awards

Purdue POY: Carsen Edwards. For Purdue to have success, they need an elite player. Carsen has the potential to be just that and he shows it this year.

Purdue DPOY: Dakota Mathias. Mathias gets it done on defense day after day. Good luck opposing players.

Purdue Most Improved: Carsen Edwards. Again, he must have a large role in the offense this year. Don’t be surprised if he leads the Boilermakers in scoring this year.

Purdue 6th Man: Matt Haarms. The 7′ 3″ Freshman will give opposing teams fits with his size and ability on offense.

 

The Boilermakers start their season Friday November 10th. Purdue will be hosts to SIU- Edwardsville for an 8pm tipoff.

 

Boiler up. Hammer down!

 

 

All sizes and statistics found on GoldandBlack.com;

https://purdue.rivals.com/news/purdue-basketball-2017-18-roster

 

 

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