We know the Purdue Boilermakers have size. Caleb Swanigan, recently cleared by the NCAA, joins A.J. Hammons and Isaac Haas to form an extremely large front line. What Purdue needs is shooting, and Ryan Cline will certainly bring elite shooting to the lineup. Whenever he works into the lineup, he will assuredly help the Boilermakers space the floor.
Ryan Cline, who starred at Carmel High School in Carmel, Indiana, finished second to Swanigan in the IndyStar Mr. Basketball vote. A 4-star recruit (according to ESPN) measuring 6'5", 180, let's see how Cline will fit into Purdue's lineup long term.
Cline's shooting ability is immediately evident when watching him. He is absolutely a lights-out shooter,and even more impressive is his ability to shoot off the catch, dribble, or screen. Ideally, he can work off any double teams that Swanigan, Hammons, and Haas might attract, as well as running defenders off of their screens.
His shooting stroke is near perfect, and no matter if he's shooting off the dribble, screen or catch, it is consistent. He has long arms, extends well above defenders, and gets good elevation on his jump shot. These three attributes enable him to get off his shot against tight defense.
Cline can also put the ball on the floor a little, and is probably a better athlete than some may think. He can take the ball the to the rim and finish, or look to find an open teammate. He is not one dimensional on the drive. Though he may not beat Big Ten defenders off the dribble with regularity, his shooting will open driving lanes, and he is more than capable of taking advantage of different offensive opportunities.
Defensively, Cline should compete hard and play with effort. That will help him transition to the college game and get on the floor a bit more quickly. Painter's teams play aggressive, tough defense, but the front line will erase many perimeter mistakes. So, as Cline becomes more familiar with his college defensive responsibilities, he will have a security behind him.
I doubt they will need much rebounding help from the guards, but Cline has shown the ability to compete on the glass too.
Areas for Improvement
Size and strength are areas where Cline will need to improve as a freshman and beyond. As he gets stronger, he should be even better off the dribble and finishing through contact. Adding size and strength should also help him defensively and on the boards. Purdue plays a physical brand of basketball, and I have no doubt that he will embody that style of play.
Cline will also need to continue to develop his game off the dribble, as a complement to his shooting. Being more dynamic on the drive will not only open up opportunities for him, but also his teammates.
Cline has one elite skill: shooting. It has been said a lot, but it is true. That one great skill, will get him on the floor a bit this season. His presence can instantly stretch the defense, and open up the interior.
Painter has assembled a top recruiting class, and Swanigan and Cline should both contribute this season. They are both very talented and bring unique skill sets. Purdue is definitely on the upswing and poised to build on last year's NCAA Tournament appearance.