In what many consider a shocking development, Grant Weatherford has decided to transfer from Purdue. Weatherford redshirted this season, which was his freshman year. Unfortunately, if he transfers to another Division I program he will have to sit another season and loses a year of eligibility.
According to Nathan Baird of the Lafayette Journal Courier, Weatherford's decision to transfer was due to, at least in part, concerns about future playing time. In other words, Weatherford couldn't see himself getting into Purdue's rotation any time soon, if ever.
Johnny Hill and P.J. Thompson both played ahead of Weatherford this season, of course the redshirt sealed his fate as a freshman. Thompson returns for his junior season next year, and Weatherford would've also had to battle Carsen Edwards, in the 2016-17 freshmen class.
The Culture Fit
Oddly, Weatherford fits the mold of a Purdue player almost perfectly. He's fundamentally sound, gritty, hard-nosed and a better athlete than people think. Matt Painter thinks of Weatherford as the Boilermakers' next great perimeter defender, which is to say Painter thinks very highly of him. Supposedly, Painter looks at Weatherford and sees former Purdue standout Chris Kramer. Purdue's had a long line of stingy perimeter defenders, guys who win Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
Weatherford also has grown up a Purdue fan, and followed the program greatly. He knows what it takes to become a great player in the program, and loves the Boilermakers. His effort and defense alone should've earned him playing time next season and beyond, but perhaps being inside the program, Weatherford just doesn't see it that way.
What does this mean for Purdue's backcourt going forward?
Purdue will be OK at point guard, and maybe that's the point (no pun intended). Weatherford sees the depth, and how far he'd need to climb to crack the lineup.
Thompson played bigger minutes this season as a sophomore and his role should only grow. Carsen Edwards should provide a youthful punch. Vince Edwards also returns as does Ryan Cline, although not specifically point guards. Kendall Stephens, who's reportedly also exploring a transfer, and Dakota Mathias are also competing for backcourt minutes.
Painter has options with his backcourt, and while he likes Weatherford, perhaps the group is just too clogged (six guards for three spots essentially). Weatherford would've been a nice fit, though. Seemingly, he brings something a bit different than Thompson, Cline and Edwards (which isn't to say they're defensive slouches), and his attitude molds perfectly with Painter's (and Purdue's) culture.
For what it's worth, the split appears amicable. Painter released the customary statement wishing him luck and a prosperous future athletically and academically. For his part, Weatherford said it's not about any incident or conflict, but simply about playing time and what he sees in his future at Purdue. (He loves the coaches and players at Purdue.)
According to Nathan Baird of the Lafayette Journal Courier, Weatherford had seven other scholarship offers (Ball State and Western Michigan among them), and it remains to be seen if he'll try to reopen some of those other offers.
With Weatherford leaving, Purdue does have an extra scholarship to offer heading to next season, and could pursue a transfer or someone who had fallen off their radar, just due to limited spots.