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Baby Boilers is a media nickname bestowed upon the 2007-2008 Purdue Boilermakers men's basketball team due to their youth and surprising early success. Of the nine-man rotation Purdue typically used for that season, four of those players were freshmen and two were sophomores. Of those six players, four typically started for the Boilermakers.
1.2 2007 IHSAA Boys Basketball Tournament
2 2007-2008 Season
In the summer of 2004, then-coach of the Southern Illinois Salukis and former Purdue player Matt Painter was chosen to replace longtime Purdue head coach Gene Keady after his planned retirement following the '04-'05 season. During the '04-'05 season, Painter served as the Associate Head Coach of the Boilermakers, and immediately identified high school prospects to recruit from within the talent-rich state of Indiana. Painter first set his sights on 6'3" shooting guard E'Twaun Moore from East Chicago Central High school, rated a five-star recruit by Rivals.com. Staying in the Chicagoland region, Painter then moved to recruit high school teammates and childhood friends, 6'8" guard/forward Robbie Hummel and 6'8" guard/forward Scott Martin from Valparaiso High School. Finally, Painter rounded out his class with a solid big man, 6'10" forward JuJuan Johnson from Franklin Central High School in Indianapolis. Hummel, Martin, and Johnson were all rated four-star recruits by Rivals.com. All four men were considered the best prospects in the state behind Indiana University-bound Eric Gordon. In contrast to Gordon's "one-man-show" style of play, all four members of Painter's 2007 class had played together over the years, rather in high school or on AAU teams during the summer months.
2007 IHSAA Boys Basketball Tournament
During the 2007 IHSAA boys basketball tournament, all five recruits would cross paths, as Gordon's North Central High School went on to defeat Johnson's Franklin Central High School in the Class 4A Pike Regional. Up north in the Michigan City Regional, Moore's East Chicago Central High School defeated Hummel and Martin's Valparaiso High School. Finally, in one of the most highly anticipated state finals matchups in years, Moore's East Chicago Central High School captured the state crown over Gordon's North Central High School. Many Purdue and Indiana fans attended the championship game, cheering for their respective recrutis as if they were wearing the Indiana or Purdue colors already.
Following Purdue's biggest turnaround in it's program's history, the Boilers were projected to finish at the bottom of the Big Ten Conference, due to the absenses of Carl Landry and David Teague. The young Boilers had to be a direct factor, creating the youngest starting line-up in the nation. They finished 2nd in conference play, which included a season sweep of the top 10 AP ranked Wisconsin. In March, the Boilers were awarded a #6 seed in the NCAA Tournament.
Name 07-08 Class Position 07-08 Individual Accolades
Grant, Keaton So. G All-Big Ten Honorable Mention
Hummel, Robbie Fr. G/F First-Team All-Big Ten
Big Ten All-Freshman Team Finalist,
John R. Wooden Award Finalist,
Oscar Robertson Trophy
Johnson, JuJuan Fr. F
Kramer, Chris So. G Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year
Second-Team All-Big Ten
Big Ten All Defensive Team
Martin, Scott Fr. G/F
Moore, E'Twaun Fr. G Second-Team All-Big Ten
Big Ten All-Freshman Team