With the rise of graduate transfers and the new NBA Draft process, college basketball has found a way to create quite a bit of entertainment and chatter throughout the spring months that would otherwise be quiet. Now we have to worry about a max exodus of talent seeking more playing time elsewhere, coaches essentially re-recruiting a laundry list of players set to graduate and transfer from other programs and then all of the players who are testing the NBA waters.
Purdue is quite familiar with all of these scenarios, with the team dealing with several transfers, a potential grad transfer and a few of their key players considering the NBA. Today we take a look at several of these topics as the offseason gets underway for the Boilermakers.
Spike Albrecht Considering Purdue
Purdue has utilized grad transfers to help shore up their backcourt the last three seasons, with Johnny Hill last season following in the footsteps of Jon Octeus and Sterling Carter. There's a chance that this trend will continue once again in 2016-17 as Purdue has been considering adding another transfer to add some depth and talent in the backcourt. One of these targets? Former Michigan guard Spike Albrecht.
While transferring within the conference is usually something coaches try to restrict, Michigan allowed Max Bielfeldt to do so last season and while it was reported that John Beilein would restrict where Albrecht could go, that has also been rescinded. That has opened up a few options for Albrecht, who is considering both Purdue and Indiana within the conference, as well as a number of other schools including Wichita State, Syracuse, Texas A&M and Milwaukee.
Albrecht just wrapped up a two day visit to Purdue and could add some much needed depth in the backcourt. With Kendall Stephens and Grant Weatherford both transferring, as well as Hill graduating, that leaves P.J. Thompson as the lone returning point guard. Purdue does add Carsen Edwards to the mix, someone who the team is very high on, but he'll be a true freshman and inexperienced. The Boilermakers struggled in late game situations last season with turnovers and having another senior that could take care of the ball could prove to be valuable. Albrecht isn't a game changer, but he does limit turnovers and could help run the point while providing some leadership for a Purdue team that will lose their senior leader in Rapheal Davis.
That being said, we won't know if Albrecht is coming to Purdue for a little bit I'd imagine. While he did just finish up his Purdue visit and is an Indiana native, he also plans to visit Wichita State and Syracuse according to his father, while also considering a number of other programs. Milwaukee could be a wildcard for Albrecht as he has ties to new head coach LaVall Jordan, who was previously on Michigan's coaching staff. And of course Albrecht's health has to be considered, as he has struggled with injuries during the tail end of his career at Michigan.
Kendall Stephens Transfer Official
Shortly after the season ended it was announced that Purdue guard Kendall Stephens would be seeking a transfer, possibly. Or in other words, he was exploring the option of transferring from Purdue and granted his release, but would be allowed to return to the program for his final season if he chose to do so. Stephens had once played a prominent role with the Boilermakers as a three point specialist, but missed some time this past season due to some personal issues and fell out of the rotation, losing minutes to Dakota Mathias and Ryan Cline.
As of today Stephens departure is now official, with Matt Painter commenting on the issue.
"He's committed to finding a new situation for him. We wish him the best," mentioned Painter.
As of now it is being reported that Stephens is considering several schools including Nevada, San Diego and Tulane. Since Stephens hasn't graduated yet, he would likely have to sit out next season before having one season of eligibility remaining.
Caleb Swanigan and Vince Edwards Still Participating in the NBA Draft Process
After the 2015-16 season wrapped up both Caleb Swanigan and Vince Edwards announced that they would be declaring for the 2016 NBA Draft, but would not sign agents. The new process basically allows players to declare for the draft, workout with NBA teams and (if invited) participate in the draft combine, while still allowing them to return if they do not sign an agent throughout the process. The deadline is still a bit over a month away and we don't know if Swanigan or Edwards will be invited to the combine, but the feeling around the program is that we'll eventually see Edwards announce his return to Purdue. As for Swanigan? Well, that's still up in the air.
"I don’t know what my chances of being drafted are...If I can get drafted, I will go. If not, I will come back to Purdue," stated Swanigan. "If I am good enough, I am going to go."
Of course this was more or less what most Purdue fans likely expected, though one has to wonder if Swanigan's comments can be interpreted as him willing to enter the draft if he'll only be a second round selection. The way the draft process works, a second round pick wouldn't be guaranteed and he would likely end up in the D-League, back end of a roster or possibly forced to head overseas if he can't stick with the team that drafts him. That lack of certainty, as well as no guaranteed money on the table, could play a crucial factor in influencing Swanigan's decision to return to Purdue, especially if it means he could work his way up into the first round in the future.
According to Matt Painter, both Swanigan and Edwards will know by the 29th of April if they've been invited to the NBA draft combine, which could play a huge role in determining if they return or not.
Boilermakers Draw Villanova in 2016 Gavitt Games
While Purdue didn't participate in last year's Gavitt Games, they will in 2016 as it was announced that they will host Villanova next fall. That's a pretty significant draw as the Wildcats will be coming off of their impressive 2016 National Championship and it will provide Purdue a great opportunity to make some noise early on in the season. It also means Purdue will have a relatively difficult non-conference slate, with Villanova set to join Notre Dame (Crossroads Classic) and Arizona State (Jimmy V Classic), as well as their opponents in the Cancun Challenge and Big 10 / ACC Challenge.