Matt Painter guided Purdue (21-13) back to the NCAA Tournament last season after a two-year hiatus, and the crystal ball looks mighty sparkly, especially this upcoming season. And the topper, Painter added the first 5-star recruit of his tenure in Caleb Swanigan.
It's time to see how high the Boilermakers can fly.
The 44-year-old Painter's 2015 Class is ranked #36 overall and #6 in the Big Ten per 247/Sports. Look for Purdue to make some noise this upcoming season, maybe even a threat to Maryland. This roster has plenty of talent, depth, and competition for playing time at every position.
Texas-Arlington transfer Johnny Hill seems a lock at the point guard. His back-ups will be sophomore PJ Thompson, junior Anfernee Brown, senior Jon McKeeman, and newcomer Grant Weatherford.
Post player AJ Hammons anchors an intimidating front court alongside Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan. Hammons averaged 11.9 points and 6.6 rebounds per game and Haas recorded decent numbers at 7.6 points and 4.1 rebounds per game. This front line measures 7' 0"-7' 2"-6' 9", respectively, and is by far the biggest in the country.
Senior Rapheal Davis looking for breakout season after averaging 10.7 points per game with 4.4 rebounds, and 2.6 assists. His shooting improved last year to 45 percent. Expect 6' 6" Kendall Stephens (8.7 ppg) to share shooting guard duties with Davis.
6' 7" sophomore Vince Edwards returns at small forward after averaging 8.8 points and 4.8 rebounds a game. If Dakota Mathias can stay healthy, he will be a big time shooting threat. He averaged 4.8 points in 19.6 minutes per game and earned a starting job down the stretch of last season.
It looks like Painter will have a solid 10-player rotation with plenty of versatile players to mix and match different lineups. Like most of the Big Ten schools, Purdue has an easy preseason schedule with 11 home games and an away game against Pittsburgh December 1. The Boilermakers host Butler December 19 and some of the other opponents include Vermont, North Carolina AT&T, Howard, Lehigh, Vanderbilt, and Incarnate Word. Talk about "cupcake" schedule.
Some of the current Purdue players talk about the upcoming season and Caleb Swanigan:
Purdue 2015-2016 Depth Chart
|Anfernee Brown||PJ Thompson||Grant Weatherford|
|Kendall Stephens||Dakota Mathias||Ryan Cline|
|SF||Basil Smotherman||Vince Edwards|
|PF||Jacquil Taylor||Caleb Swanigan|
|C||AJ Hammons||Isaac Haas|
Meet the New Boilers
- 5-Star PF Caleb Swanigan 6-8/265
A McDonald's All-American, Swanigan received a lot of attention this Spring. He committed to Michigan State April 10 and then decommitted May 7, before signing with the Boilers May 19. The 18-year-old is ranked No. 18 in the nation and the top player in Indiana.
Swanigan posted 13 points and six rebounds to lead Team USA to a 92-50 win over Egypt Tuesday. He played 17 minutes and converted 5-of-6 from the field with two assists. Team USA is 3-0.
Homestead won the Indiana Class 4A State Championship and Swanigan led the way with 20 points and 14 rebounds. He received 18 offers, including Illinois, Indiana, Louisville, and Georgetown.
He is the presumptive starting power forward and will join forces with 7-footer AJ Hammonds and 7' 2" Isaac Haas. Talk about an NBA-type front court. His new role at forward means that he can exploit his powerful frame and provide rebounding prowess and scoring ability in the paint area.
He is an excellent passer from the post so expect the inside-outside game to improve with a host of perimeter players in Kendall Stevens, Dakota Mathias, Johnny Hill, Rapheal Davis, and PJ Thompson. He shows good vision and versatility and could help make Purdue a match-up nightmare for many opponents.
Plenty of hype this spring over Swanigan. More on this video:
- 3-Star PG Grant Weatherford 6-2/200
An Indiana native from Hamilton Heights High School (Arcadia), Weatherford is ranked #18 in the state per 247/Sports. He is a talented athlete in both football and basketball, but decided on Purdue for basketball. He caught 155 career passes and scored 60 career TDs.
The stud athlete arrived on campus June 1 with a chip on his shoulder. Since signing, all he's heard is that he's not big enough, not skilled enough offensively, or he's not ready for Big Ten basketball. Weatherford is out to prove the naysayers wrong.
Playing both guard spotsbhis senior season, he averaged 12.6 points, 4.5 rebounds, 3.1 steals, and 4.9 assists. He converted 50 percent from the field. As evident by his stats, Weatherford does a little bit of everything. He is unselfish, rebounds well, and does a nice job of getting teammates involved.
He will probably be used at Purdue as a combo guard, which would allow for more playing time. He should be a perfect fit for this team as a facilitator.
- 3-Star SG Ryan Cline 6-5/180
Another Indiana native from Carmel High School, Cline is ranked #5 in the state and #44 at his position per 247/Sports. He won the national 3-point contest back in April. No doubt, Cline is regarded as one of the best shooters in his class.
He was Mr. Basketball runner-up to Swanigan. No doubt he is a proven winner. His teams were 92-11 in four seasons as a starter with a pair of state championships. He drained 93-of-119 (78%) free throws last season.
His senior year, he averaged 20.7 points and shot 43 percent from beyond the arc. If teams sag on Hammons, Haas or Swanigan, that will leave Cline open on the perimeter to bomb away.
Both Weatherford and Cline talk about future with the Black and Gold:
This could be Purdue's chance to advance to Sweet 16 since back-to-back seasons in 2008-09 and 2009-2010. Regardless, expectations are high in West Lafayette.
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