#105 Purdue Men's Basketball 2014-2015 Preview

Purdue Boilermakers

2014-2015 Overall Rank: #105
Conference Rank: #11 Big Ten

Purdue Team Page#105 Purdue Men's Basketball 2014-2015 PreviewBuy Purdue Basketball Tickets

Following a three game Big Ten winning streak in the middle of January, Purdue lost 12 of their final 14 contests. That is not the momentum Coach Matt Painter and company were looking for heading into the 2014-2015 campaign. While the talent appears to be coming along, the Boilermakers are an extremely young team with just one senior on the roster. It will not be because of conference play, but if Purdue can manage a winning record and reach a postseason tournament of some sort, it will lead to bigger things in the years to come. A.J. Hammons will be a huge reason why Purdue has some success this year. The seven-footer did not make the big jump up in scoring production that many had expected, but he still averaged 10.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and  3.1 blocks. Hammons cannot do much more on the defensive end, yet expect his scoring load to increase now that Terone Johnson and Ronnie Johnson are gone.

2013-14 Record: 15-17, 5-12
2013-14 Postseason: none
Coach: Matt Painter
Coach Record: 191-112 at Purdue, 216-117 overall

Who’s Out:
Johnson and Johnson were the Boilermakers top two scorers in 2013-2014, combining to score 22.8 points per game. Terone Johnson was one of the few decent outside shooters for Purdue, while Ronnie Johnson dished out 3.7 assists per game. After Johnson, Johnson and Hammons, Purdue was loaded with part-time starters who were pretty much roleplayers. Among them were Sterling Carter, Errick Peck, Travis Carroll and Jay Simpson, who are now gone.

Who’s In:
Purdue has a decent group of newcomers and Coach Painter will need them to at least provide depth right away. The star of the class is 7-2 center Isaac Haas. Haas is not a skinny 7-2 either and he has the toughness to immediately make an impact. With some better footwork, he will be a fine interior scorer. For now he will probably be mostly a backup to Hammons, yet Purdue will play the towers together if Haas can earn the playing time. When Purdue does want to play big, or not play small more accurately, the only other options are fellow freshmen Vince Edwards and Jacquil Taylor. Point guard P.J. Thompson and shooting guard Dakota Mathias will have to provide much of the depth on the perimeter. Thompson is a superb all-around scorer and Mathias is one of the most versatile guards heading into the Big Ten. The 6-5 Elida, Ohio native is a great scorer and a fine passer and rebounder.

Who to Watch:
While the play of the freshmen will be important, Purdue will rely more on a trio of sophomores. Bryson Scott ranked fourth on the team with 6.2 points per game despite only starting two contests. Scott has not been consistent by any means, yet his year of experience should help with that. Ideally, Basil Smotherman would spend most of his time at the three spot where the athletic 6-5 forward can attack the rim more effectively, but he can play the power forward position as well and that is where he will spend some time until the newcomers are ready to step up. The star of the backcourt will now likely be Kendall Stephens. As a freshman Stephens immediately emerged as the best shooter on the team. He nearly hit twice as many three-pointers as anybody else on the team and knocked down 37.0 percent of his attempts. If Purdue is going to make any serious noise in the Big Ten, it will likely be on the shoulders of Stephens and Hammons.

Final Projection:
Rapheal Davis, a 6-5 junior guard, started to emerge as a leader late last season. With so many departures and such a young squad, Davis will be counted on to keep the team under control. He is not a great shooter, yet can be a fine slasher on occasion. Overall, this will be an up and down season for Purdue. Conference play will mostly be down. They can win seven or eight conference games though and that should be enough to come away with a winning record and some much needed momentum heading into 2015-2016.

Projected Postseason Tournament: CBI/CIT

Projected Starting Five:
Bryson Scott, Sophomore, Guard, 6.2 points per game
Raphael Davis, Junior, Guard, 6.0 points per game
Kendall Stephens, Sophomore, Guard, 8.0 points per game
Basil Smotherman, Sophomore, Forward, 5.0 points per game
A.J. Hammons, Junior, Center, 10.8 points per game

By the Numbers:
Scoring Offense: 72.3 (128th in nation, 5th in conference)
Scoring Defense: 71.7 (221, 12)
Field-Goal Percentage: 42.7 (254, 10)
Field-Goal Defense: 41.9 (84, 7)
Three-Point Field Goals Per Game: 5.5 (246, 11)
Three-Point Field-Goal Percentage: 32.7 (235, 8)
Free-Throw Percentage: 67.1 (261, 12)
Rebound Margin: 3.5 (60, 4)
Assists Per Game: 13.1 (138, 5)
Turnovers Per Game: 12.3 (178, 11)

Madness 2015 NBA Draft Rankings:
#20 A.J. Hammons

Madness 2014 Men’s Basketball Recruit Rankings:
#96 Isaac Haas
#110 Vincent Edwards


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