I didn't know it until I was on campus, but today was a graduation day...so it was busy at our alma mater. Baby Boilers v. 2.0 (too soon?) would be displayed for the first time to Boiler faithful, some Purdue favorites would suit up in the gold and black once again and the football team had its first official practice. On top of that, it was a sultry 97 degrees and humid outside...and the threat of t-storms were looming overhead.
Inside Mackey, here's what happened:
-It was over 100 degrees in the cheap seats. I sat and got drenched. I'm pretty sure Mackey's court would have been drenched had it not been for the kids regularly wiping up sweat.
The black and gold teams wore sleeved shirts made for the day with their names on the back and the number that they wore while on campus. Real refs officiated the game, and Painter coached the gold squad while Keady was over the black.
There were around 15 players on both teams...so subs were performed like line changes- 5 at a time, each time. The first half was 20 minutes...fouls were called and the clock would stop. The second half was a 10 minute stanza.
|Former player and current grad assistant and good guy, Ryne Smith took a moment for a photo with LBD...Marcus Green, Todd Mitchell, Chris Kramer, Justing Jennings and others in the background getting ready for the first alum game.|
-Ryne Smith, LewJack, Mark Wohlford, David Teague, Troy Lewis, Todd Mitchell, Brandon Brantley, Justin Jennings, Matt Keifer, Travis Best, Brian Cardinal, Bubba Day, Bobby Buckets, Chris Kramer, Tim Ervin, Chad Kerkhoff, BJ Caretta, Carson Cunningham, Brett Buscher, Dave Barrett, Roy Hairston, Marcus Green, Todd Foster, Terrance Crump, Chris Reid, Kenneth Lowe and Steve O'Neal from the c/o '66 all played. I feel like I'm missing someone...but it's not from lack of trying to remember.
-I was hoping someone would heat up and take over the game...BUT, the substitution pattern really didn't allow that. A few guys came close to that- LewJack, Troy Lewis and David Teague. Teague's shooting and Chris Reid's tough work on the glass kept the gold team with the balck team all day...on paper, it looked like the black team (coached by Keady), would win going away.
-The final score was 70-73. LewJack threw in the dagger...and taunted Painter and Smith after doing so. The crowd was pretty solid- loud and enthusiastic...and in spite of the intense heat and motionless air in Mackey, they stuck around. The lower level was full...the upper level about 1/3 full- Probably around 10 or 11,000 in attendance (my estimation).
-Keady's introduction drew the largest crowd reaction and a stand ovation at the urging of Troy Lewis and Todd Mitchell. Kramer, T. Lewis and Cardinal's intro also got a pretty warm welcome. But, Lew's game winner was probably the biggest eruption of the day.
-David Teague looks very lean...and he had a pretty smooth and impressive fast break dunk. Same goes for Kramer, except his dunk was in traffic. Brandon Brantley and Chris Reid also threw down a few dunks that seemed to bend the rim. Carson Cunningham looked like he wore hiking boots, but still had some pretty fun moves to watch... and the only guy who came close to staying with a trimmed down LewJack was Travis Best...who I barely remember in a Purdue uni.
The Young Guns
-AJ Hammons has already leaned down since high school...a good sign for Purdue, in my opinion. Many thought his work ethic might be a concern coming into Purdue...but effort didn't look at all questionable today. But, he did get pushed around a bit by Marcius; who played very well.
Hammons hit two shots from outside of 19 feet, one a three pointer- I didn't know he had an outside shot...but this might be able to help him and his teammates on offense until he builds up the strength to be able to hold the post on offense. His defense seems to be a game changer. He occupies a ton of space and gets in the way of a lot of shots. He has very long arms, good footwork and good timing.
-Ronnie Johnson is quick and fast, if that makes any sense. On two occasions he broke out of traffic and away from defenders to get the ball up court. He's also very athletic. In warm-ups he dunked at least twice; once with one hand, once with two...both with ease. That's impressive, because he does look pretty small on the court. Defensively, he's got some work to do, offensively, he's surprisingly-far along...at least from my perspective.
-Raphael Davis is a leaner player than I thought. I thought his body type would be a bit more like TJohn's when he arrived on campus...but he looks physically very ready to play. His defense will make him a fan favorite right away, I believe.
-Donnie Hale looks bigger and stronger. It showed on the glass as he was able to both track down boards as well as grab them in traffic. Outside of rebounds, he was pretty quiet.
-Sandi Marcius seemed to have the most-noteworthy game, to me anyway. He carved out space on offense, cleaned the glass and dunked two or three times. One, on a break away off of a Ronnie Johnson pass...over one of the walk-ons who had no options other than to desperately try to set up for the charge...he was in the circle. Sandi flushed, turned toward the crowd and seemed to yell, "Woooooooooooooo!" He was energetic and fun to watch.
|Many sought refuge from the heat in the West Club...LBD, Mrs. Boilerdowd and recruit, Kendall Stephens were just a few of those- can you find any of them in this shot?|
-Conversely, Travis Carroll was pretty quiet. But, I was very impressed with Carroll's change in body. While I wish he had bulked up a bit in the shoulders, he looks very lean which will help him on defense in the coming season. That said, unless something changes, it seems like Marcius and Hammons might have the edge at this point. Jacob Lawson had a few boards and a nice looking jumper from around 16 feet- he sported a fauxhawk which suits his personality...and seemed to be more comfortable than last year, especially on defense.
-DJ Byrd hit a few deep shots, but never got into a rhythm. He took some very deep threes that seemed forced. I'm pretty sure he's ready to show his improved shot...and I believe his shot is probably better...but I didn't see a ton of proof today. The scrimmage format wasn't really bringing out the best in some of the guys- some seemed a bit lethargic...but once again, it was in the triple digits in Mackey.
-The team shot free throws very poorly.
-Rob Hummel, JJ, Brandon McKnight, and other alums of the program were on hand, but didn't play. A ton of recruits were also in the blazing-hot Mackey Arena making visits.
-Painter seemed laid back- he was all over the court during the scrimmage and not on the bench ever...he left that for his assistants.
-After the three-stanza format, Painter lined some of the guys up for sprints...seemed cruel in the heat...but I was kinda glad to see it.
On the Gridiron
-I didn't see any football players walking around Mackey- I believe their practice occurred at the same time, or just after it. The practiced was in shorts and outside in the high heat and humidity...The skies opened up after practice.
-Every account of the opening scrimmage seems to ring the same tune- the speed was high and the team was intense for a first practice.
-The only guy not practicing is Ralph Bolden, at this point. Specifically, Henry and Cottom both saw reps and looked good in limited action.
-Hope said TerBush and Marve threw well...but Henry wasn't as sharp while passing, but moved well and the receivers caught the ball well. He seems to have some concern about the o-line at this point.
-Robert Marve was one of the graduates who walked through today; congrats to him.
-Dwayne Beckford ran with the 1s on defense...not surprisingly, he's in great shape; he's always been a specimen.
-Both Ben Knauf and Danny Anthrop are both getting a look returning punts. In spite of Purdue's prowess in KO returns last year, punt returns were a weak spot. Gravesande was trusty, but not much of a threat...and Allen's lone try back there, he fumbled.
Note: Thanks to everybody I ran into today who expressed appreciation for the site! It always humbles me to know some of you value reading what we have to say!