Video Breakdowns: Old Spice Classic (with a slice of optimism)
1-2 in the Old Spice Classic. Not ideal, but (in my eyes) it was far from any sort of disaster as instant-Twitter reactions might suggest. I have several video clips from all three games, both positive and critical, but I realize that fan morale behind Purdue’s basketball is low and readers might need a reason to believe. If you fall into that category…look no further. I can show you why this team is so exciting and promise-filled. I can show you the light.
SIENA – Game 3
LOOK. AT. THAT. FREAKING. PASSING. I lost my mind. That passing is reminiscent of soccer touch passes, and the chemistry between those players can bring hope to any stone-hearted viewer. This team can be really, really good.
MORE POSITIVITY. This minute-long clip sums up Purdue's most recent half of basketball in their comeback rematch against Siena:
So many reasons to believe, and the half didn’t even feature my favorites Bryson Scott or Kendall Stephens. That first play had everything…an AJ Hammons block, Rapheal Davis hustle and save, Terone Johnson pushing the ball, and Basil Smotherman throwing down the follow-up slam. The second play was Ronnie Johnson DOING DIRTY DIRTY THINGS in a crowded lane. Then three fantastic post moves by three different post players (Hammons, Jay Simpson, Basil Smotherman). Then RJ’s perfect in-the-air-rebound-outlet pass to Smotherman for a transition dunk. Finally, great perimeter defense leads to TWO CLUTCH GREAT WALL OF HAMMONS MOMENTS to seal the game. If you can’t tell, I thought this second half against Siena was the best basketball Purdue has played all season. Chipping away at a lead, tightening missed first half defensive rotations, and capitalizing on Siena’s implosion. This fantastic, versatile play has me so excited.
Ok, now that you’re feeling great, let’s take a look at why Purdue walked away with two losses. Click for more videos after the break.
WASHINGTON STATE – Game 2
Welp. This game was awful. Pretty much sums it up. This game could have been a half-step in the wrong direction. I was less upset (see: B-Dowd) and more just emotionlessly disappointed by Purdue’s complete lack of effort and gusto. Also, Washington State played some beautiful basketball.
A few fantastic pocket passes, unselfish play, great cuts, and capitalizing on Purdue’s general inattentiveness. AJ Hammons had an incredibly Jekyll-and-Hyde performance (ZERO points, one shot, 11 rebounds and 4 blocks). He was getting decent rebounding positioning and being his normal Great Wall of Hammons self in the first half, but his activity and attentiveness fell off a cliff in the second. As you saw on the video above, AJ would get caught on his heels and Washington State took advantage with some great off-ball movement and pinpoint passes. Jay Simpson took Hammons’ spot anchoring the paint earlier than usual. Jay bounced back from his OK State ejection with…a largely mediocre performance. His defense was very similar to the work while in against OK State (much more active than usual), but he couldn’t get deep post positioning or good rebounding spots. Peck and Davis hustled, but Smotherman seemed confused, TJ and Stephens were cold, and RJ/Bryson were forcing so many drives (sometimes to the detriment of the team).
The second half was highlighted by countless Washington State second-chance opportunities off Purdue’s lazy rebounding efforts, and missed bunnies right at the rim (as you can see above). Purdue started to get more “aggressive” as the game started to wane…but I use quotes because it was a very selfish sort of aggression. Bryson, TJ, and RJ were all bullying their way to the basket and trying to finish and draw the foul when there were better, wide-open options on the floor. Watch that last awful clutch possession again – TJ abandons the play, stumbles into a crowded lane, and misses an off-balance floater…then Ronnie takes an awful isolation 3! No heart, no chemistry.
OKLAHOMA STATE – Game 1
Purdue opened with an expected loss against (at the time) #5 Oklahoma State, and Marcus Smart showed why he is an NBA All-Star level talent, but Purdue put up a fantastic effort in the second half. Unfortunately, it turns out that an unbelievably talented Top-Ten team has some fantastic perimeter players who step up in the clutch.
Too much firepower met a Purdue team that wasn’t ready to close. I’ve already posted my thoughts on our performance that night, but let me reiterate that the only reason Purdue stood a chance was Bryson Scott.
He’s really good. He is going to be that talented, fiery, emotional fan-favorite who will pull Purdue out of long slumps and through adversity. How quickly he transitions from his current freshman-ness (brilliance interspersed with inconsistency) to that Chris Kramer-esque leader will go a long way towards Purdue’s success.