As the season creeps ever closer and teams are beginning to round into form, the Purdue Boilermakers have entered August with a unique goal: go to Taiwan and represent the United States at the World University games.
Purdue is preparing for these games not only through regular team practices, but they are holding exhibitions against the Canadian National Team next weekend on Friday and Saturday evenings in games that will be open to the public, with the Friday game taking place at Carmel High School outside of Indianapolis and the Saturday afternoon game being played at Lafayette Jefferson High School, just minutes away from the Purdue campus.
The World University games, organized by the International University Sports Federation (FISU), will begin with an opening ceremony that is similar to the opening ceremony for the Olympics on August 19th. Purdue is slated to play eight games against high level, international competition with their first game coming against Argentina on August 20th. The medal rounds begin on August 27th, with the gold medal game taking place on August 29th.
As of now, no television coverage has been announced. However, according to a release from Purdue, there are hopes that games will be streamed on FISU’s YouTube page.
While these games provide the Purdue team with an amazing opportunity as individuals to represent their country, it also allows them a tremendous advantage to grow as a team and as individuals by playing against high level competition in a different type of basketball at the international level.
Players like Carsen Edwards, who impressed last summer when Purdue was playing in Spain, should show signs of great improvement having a year under his belt in the program. These games, provided that some of them are streamed, will also give fans an opportunity to see some of the new talent that the Boilermakers have brought in. Eden Ewing, an electric forward, should provide a lot of excitement for the Boilers this season, beginning in Taiwan.
These games will also provide fans with a sneak peek at how the Boilermakers offense will be structured following the loss of sensational big man and Big Ten Player of the Year Caleb Swanigan. Certainly, having Isaac Haas inside, there will still be plenty of emphasis on feeding the post.
But who will be the guy who steps up for the Purdue team offensively? Is Vincent Edwards ready to emerge as the go to guy for Matt Painter? Fans may start to get some of their answers here.
This is the beginning of the final run for one of the more successful recruiting classes in the past 25 years for Purdue basketball, and what better way to start it off than having a chance at winning a gold medal?
A good showing in these games for the Boilers could give them plenty of momentum heading into the season, while also giving them a much better idea of everything that needs to improve than playing against your own guys every day.