Why can't Matt Painter land the big fish?

After today's 83-58 stomping of Purdue by Michigan State, the name on everyone's lips was Branden Dawson.

Dawson led all scorers in the game with 14 points, including several posterizing dunks. At one point, Dawson passed Purdue coach Matt Painter on the sidelines and casually said something that clearly offended Painter. Regardless of the situation or what was said, it was a punk move from the Spartan freshman.

Nonetheless, it shows that Dawson still holds some sort of animosity from his recruitment. By all accounts, Painter and the Boilermakers wanted the Gary, Ind. product bad. It seemed all but a done deal that Dawson would wear old gold and black until Tom Izzo jumped into the picture. Once MSU was there, the Boilers had no chance. See, a pattern has developed and it's starting to show on the court.

According to Scout, Painter has not once signed a player who had an offer from Michigan State, Ohio State or Kentucky. When it comes to recruiting in the Midwest Izzo, Thad Matta and John Calipari are the big dawgs with whom Painter can't seem to run.

Yesterday, Bullitt East High School stud Derek Willis chose Kentucky over Purdue. Willis was once a Purdue verbal commit. He's just the latest name to be added to the list.

In November, Indianapolis guard Gary Harris chose Sparty over Purdue despite a strong Purdue pedigree. His parents, Joy and Gary, Sr., were both Purdue grads.

The Big Ten is filled with players who found the Boiler's pitch second best.

Cody Zeller was once on Painter's radar, as were Michigan commits Zak Irvin and Glenn Robinson III. Current Wolverines Zack Novak and Stu Douglass chose not to come to West Lafayette.

At Ohio State, Fort Wayne native Deshaun Thomas left the state to become a Buckeye rather than a Boiler.

Other major in-state players, like Indiana signee Yogi Ferrell, never even seriously consider Painter and Purdue.

It's time to ask why this continues to happen. Painter nearly fled to Missouri to earn a bigger recruiting budget, but he's got that now. The facilities on Purdue campus are updated and new. There is tradition. It may not be of the national championship variety, but tradition exists in West Lafayette.

With every four and five-star type player Painter doesn't sign, it becomes more difficult to land the next one. So, what is the problem? When will it be corrected? Painter had better figure it out soon before the uphill fight for an NCAA seed he's in this season becomes an annual occurrence.

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