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I've actually had pretty low expectations for this team from the beginning. Without Hummel they'd be one of the 3-4 worst teams in the Big 10. Given my expectations, I've been pleasantly surprised by the results, especially yesterday's against Iona. I'd guess that Iona would be a middle of the pack team in the Big 10 this season, so I'm not going to complain.
What I've noticed so far is that this team lacks really good individual defenders and is not playing good enough team defense to make up for it. In the starting 5, only Jackson and Barlow can physically keep up with their men, and they're both very inconsistent mentally. Lawson is the only shotblocker on the roster. The defense worked against a far less talented team in NI, but both High Point and Iona had some pretty talented individuals who were able to beat there man and score pretty regularly. Still, even with the deficiencies, if they were making FT's neither of those games would have been in question at the end like they were.
One thing that I'm happy about so far is that Anthony Johnson looks like the best recruit since the Hummel class. Lawson looks like he'll be a player to once he learns an offensive skill other than jumping. Sadly, he's been our best defensive big so far.
Temple will be interesting and a much better preview of the Big 10 season. It'll be interesting to play a team with legitimate size and see how they hold up.
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some of the first minutes, I've seen this year, and its not too bad...the talent just is not there, in the way it was the last few years. But the guys aren't playing bad. I think Lawson will be good, and Marcius will be good against true Centers, even though he is a big oaf. Carroll has not looked convincing.
Hope Lew Jack stays healthy...playing well, but seems less quick than usual.
Edit: hopefully, talent will come as the assistants pull up in the full-size rental and not the compact...
4-0 so can't complain TOO much I suppose, but they don't look like much more than an 8/9 seed. I liked the flashes Carrol showed last year, but now that he HAS to be a major contributor the limitations really show. His nice faceup midrange game's been non-existent, he's boarding better than I ever thought he would though so take the good with the bad I suppose. Still can't wait for AJ Hammons to get on campus next year.
Loving Anthony Johnson's dribble drive game though, it's cliche and all that but the kid really is "fearless," he wants the ball and that's sorely needed off the bench. Been disappointed with Terone Johnson so far, hopefully he's still just working his way back off the meniscus tear, he still finishes well with contact even with the gimpy leg.
Really the team is a pretty big work in progress still, Carrol, Lawson, and the Johnson boys haven't played a game minute with Robbie, Marcius just a tiny amount of spot minutues. When 5 of your top 8 have barely played with your go to guy it'll obviously take time to work out some kinks.
It's going to take some time to sort things out, for sure. I'm still taken aback by the pace this team sets. I've heard the "we're going to run more next year" line so many times in the past that I've come to ignore it, but I guess Painter is serious.
He couldn't even solve a simple post up, kick it out offense, which is what Bama did in the second half. The main reason Purdue got back into the game in the first half was because of the ball screens that allowed jackson to get to the hoop instead of having to watch defenders play five feet off of him. I don't even remember a screen being set for Ryne Smith. No effort to get the shooter open.
No back screens at all. It was basically pass pass pass, take the ball to the free throw line and toss up a contested floater.
Actually I saw a lot of screens to get Smith open, but the Bama guy I believe it was Randolph was all over him, that kid played excellent for a freshman.
I think Kelsey gets confused at the 1 too often, he does not know if he should drive, or pass, or what... it is actually kind of annoying. Then he has a lot of mental lapses in the games it seems. When he pulls up for a wide open jump shot he is not confident at all and always misses.
One think that I hate with a lot of Purdue players is it seems they do not play with any flow to their games. This is probably due to coaching, they seem to lack confidence in their shooting, and sometimes driving ability. Young guys lock in on the play called and often miss wide open teammates.
There were so many times when I just wanted AJ or Carroll to just shot the ball, but they hesitated and either passed it or missed the shot because they were not in rhythm shooting it.
We could not have won that game, we were not ready for a team like BAMA, but this will be a excellent learning lesson and something Painter can use to show his team where they struggle and what they can do better.