Purdue didn't have the greatest start to their season in 2014, but they pulled it together with tough team defense and a "never give up" mentality and made the NCAA Tournament. Now this season, they return arguably the two best defenders in the conference in A.J. Hammons and Rapheal Davis and a rising sophomore in Vince Edwards, while adding 5-star freshman Caleb Swanigan at the 4. This team's second biggest offseason addition is graduate transfer Johnny Hill from Texas-Arlington. Why is the acquisition of Hill so important? That's because Hill plays point guard and that position is the biggest question mark on the Boiler's roster. The point guard spot is up for grabs due to Purdue's biggest offseason loss:
The man, the myth, the legend, the guy who murder Collin Hartman:
Sorry to keep bringing this up Collin, but you and Jon will forever be associated with this dunk.
Anyway, outside of awesome dunks, Jon Octeus really brought quite a lot to a Purdue team that had been somewhat aimless the previous two seasons. Following the somewhat welcome departure of Ronnie Johnson after the 2013-2014 season, Matt Painter's options at point guard consisted of sophomore Bryson Scott and freshman P.J. Thompson. Until October, when, like manna from heaven, Octeus fell into Purdue's lap. Boiler nation rejoiced at the news, but it is doubtful that either the fans or Jon himself could imagine how well it would go.
Jon Octeus was never going to come in and be a superstar, but his hard-working demeanor and impressive dunking ability made him a fan-favorite by the end of the season. He deserves a ton of credit for the Boiler's impressive turnaround from last place in the Big Ten to NCAA Tournament team. Octeus played hard on defense and did exactly what was asked of him on offense. With grad transfers it is hard to know how well they will gel in a new system and how willing they are to adjust their game to fit their new team's needs. Octeus seemed to gel almost immediately despite his late arrival, and by the start of the conference season he played like he had been a Boilermaker his whole career.
Purdue fans are nervous about losing Octeus, as they should be. However, after his success, it feels as if a trail has been blazed for Johnny Hill and you can tell that the fans are cautiously optimistic that this new transfer might be as good as the last. Whether that is true or not remains to be seen, but one thing is for certain. Losing Jon Octeus is big for Purdue, but his impact will be forever felt in Boilermaker hearts...and on Collin Hartman's face.