Purdue Basketball opened up its season in an exhibition against the mighty Montevallo Falcons. Although you've probably never heard of this tiny school, you do need to know that they were the division two runner up just a season ago.
With the lack of returning experience it is easy to see why the Boilermakers struggled in this 70 to 61 victory. I know a lot of you might doubt this squad due to the small margin of victory, but if it makes you feel better Ohio State only beat Walsh by 12 tonight.
Although it’s really early to be drawing conclusions, I liked what I saw overall tonight. It was a close game almost throughout and the team played hard, especially the young guys.
A young squad doesn’t necessarily mean an unsuccessful squad; I thought that Ronnie Johnson played great tonight. He played well on defense and had 11 points and six assists. He is going to be a great asset to this program, but we knew that coming in.
Terone Johnson picked up where he left off last season scoring the game high 24 points. Although Terone put on a decent performance, his decisions were still questionable and some of his drives were a bit uncontrolled, but that’s Terone, he did however only miss two free throws tonight.
A.J. Hammons looked good tonight as well. He was 3-3 for 7 points and had five rebounds. We saw something from him we haven’t seen in a while, a post up. Hammons is already a big guy and will just continue to develop. With the lack of depth at the center position, I expect Hammons to get a lot of starts this season if he continues to develop into the player he could be.
Donnie Hale is another guy worth mentioning. He was 4-9 from the field for 8 points. When Purdue was in a draught, it seemed to be him that got it going again. When the Falcons went into a zone, Hale was able to consistently hit the shot from the elbow, something that is essential against the zone.
Raphael Davis was off tonight, maybe it was the first time on the big stage, but he did have a nasty block that got the crowd pumped. Jay Simpson looked tired out there. He is going to be a good player, but after the performance I saw tonight I would have to key him as the guy to redshirt. He just does not look like he is in shape. He was noticeably gassed on a few occasions.
Carroll and Sandi looked like Carroll and Sandi. Sandi had a decent game on the boards grabbing seven rebounds but had only four points on the night. Carroll had one rebound tonight and just looked slow, as usual. Although there were high hopes for Sandi entering this season once again, I just can’t see it really playing out. Hammons is the guy and soon Painter will realize that. Purdue needs either Carroll or Sandi to come off the bench to support him because he will get into foul trouble this season, after all his name isn’t Zeller or Sullinger (that also means he won’t be whining, we can hope).
Anthony Johnson played well tonight as well. He was 4-9 from the field and 2-4 from the three point line, a place where the Boilermakers struggled as a team shooting only 27.8 percent from beyond the arc. His defense was stout mostly, although he does have some work to do coming off screens and what not.
Byrd wasn’t out there much tonight and his stat line showed it. He didn’t have any points but pulled down a few assists and rebounds. It seemed as though he could never really get into a rhythm, something that should be of concern for the Boilermakers.
The eight blocks in the game were great and the turnover margin was of course positive as it usually is under Matt Painter.
Overall I liked the teams performance, it was nice to see the young guys finally and it showed what a bright future the Boilermakers have. I’m not sure I buy into the Cliz proclaiming that this team isn’t in rebuilding mode, but I do believe this squad could cause some serious problems for the Big Ten this season.
It’s hard to really know what this game says about the team other than individual performances. Painter used the game as a way to figure out line-ups as he should. My favorite line-up of the night was Anthony, Davis, Ronnie, Simpson and Hammons. They were running up and down the court and had a ton of energy, something that was very promising for me.
I expect to see Byrd a little more in the next game trying to develop some momentum going into the season, but other than that I expect much of the same.
This is a young squad that is going to have some growing pains, they will probably lose a few games they should win, but this team will fight to the end. These “ New Boilers” are being overlooked due to the class down south, but they will contend with some talented squads this season, so don’t count them out.