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The Curious Case of Spike Albrecht for the Purdue Boilermakers

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What can Albrecht really bring to the Boilermakers' 2016-17 season?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

For four years Spike Albrecht represented the Michigan Wolverines, but after a year plagued with injuries he's going to be able to take advantage of the 5th year graduate transfer rule and join the Boilermakers this season.

According to Albrecht's twitter, he's excited about the opportunity to play again, but in a Purdue uniform.

Though he's well-known around the conference, there are many questions surrounding Albrecht heading into this season. Will he be healthy once the season begins? What can he bring to Purdue in terms of production? What impact will he actually have?

All justifiable questions, but there's no doubt he's one of the more interesting stories in the Big Ten.

Let's take a quick look back at his Michigan career for a moment. This is a guy who had his best year in his junior season where he averaged only 7.5 points per game and 3.9 assists. Yet, his career average through four years is just 3.9 points per game and two assists.

These numbers show he's not really a primary contributor and won't be dominating the box score on a nightly basis.

So why is a guy whose statistics as underwhelming as those so well regarded within the college basketball landscape. It's pretty simple: Statistics don't tell the whole story.

Despite his best statistical season being that junior year, his claim to fame came in the 2012-13 campaign as a freshman.

He became a household name for this memorable performance in the 2013 NCAA National Championship game by coming off the bench scoring 17 first half points. The same day he became more known for his famous tweet after the game at model Kate Upton.

Albrecht has shown to be someone who can step up in crucial moments and obviously has no lack of confidence in himself. Those are the traits he must bring with him to Purdue.

Playing in only eight games last season though due to a nagging hip injury. The injury was devastating enough to him where he chose to take a step away from the game to rehabilitate. His hard-work and overcoming these type of obstacles are what's led him to this moment.

In a teleconference with members of the media Purdue's head coach Matt Painter discussed Albrecht and what he sees in him.

"He's always been a team guy. Everything that we did in the recruitment of him, he was very conscious of his situation. [He] was very grateful of everything coach [John] Beilein has done for him, so that to me really was something that was appealing to me recruiting."

According to purduesports.com this is what the 2016-17 roster looks like as of right now:

No. Name Year Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown/High School
2 Jon McKeeman RS SR Guard 6-1 190 Fort Wayne, Ind./Carroll
3 Carsen Edwards FR Guard 6-0 175 Humble, Texas/Atascocita
5 Basil Smotherman RS JR Forward 6-6 230 Indianapolis, Ind./Lawrence North
11 P.J. Thompson JR Guard 5-10 188 Indianapolis, Ind./Brebeuf Prep
12 Vincent Edwards JR Forward 6-8 225 Middletown, Ohio/Middletown
14 Ryan Cline SO Guard 6-5 190 Carmel, Ind./Carmel
23 Jacquil Taylor SO Forward 6-10 240 Cambridge, Mass./Beaver Country Day School
24 Grady Eifert SO Forward 6-6 221 Fort Wayne, Ind./Bishop Dwenger
31 Dakota Mathias JR Guard 6-4 200 Elida, Ohio/Elida
44 Isaac Haas JR Center 7-2 282 Hokes Bluff, Ala./Hokes Bluff
50 Caleb Swanigan SO Forward 6-9 250 Fort Wayne, Ind./Homestead
55 Spike Albrecht SR Guard 5-11 175 Crown Point, Ind./Northfield Mount Hermon [Mass.]

With the loss of star player and Big Ten defensive player of the year A.J. Hammons, history says Albrecht will most likely not come close to producing like Hammons. What they do have in common is what he'll bring to Purdue and that is much needed experienced leadership.

He enjoyed a couple of deep tournament runs at Michigan and now with this Boilermakers team he has a chance to do the same under a familiar type of role.