If you've got a few minutes, I highly suggest you take a look at these post-practice interviews with Matty and Co. from the good people at GBI. If you don't have the time or situation that lends itself to watching videos, here's my synopsis.
-Painter is excited to display the athleticism of this year's team and thinks they're one of the most-athletic teams he's coached from top-to-bottom since he's been at Purdue...but he knows a lot of guys have a lot to learn.
-He and the players really love the revamped Mackey Arena and all of its trappings...they're looking forward to dedicating it and are happy that a brand new (from the ground up) facility wasn't built instead.
-Painter compared the loss of Smooge and JJ's 40 pts/gm to the loss of Teague & Landry's 35/gm and the losses of Grant and Kramer a few seasons later. He noted the specific importance of Kramer to the defense that has defined Purdue teams since Painter came back to God's Country...and thinks the core of this team will be able to transition well in spite of the loss of two of Purdue's all-time best players.
-Both Barlow and Painter talked about how the season ended last year and how Barlow has transitioned back into the team. Both said he's done a good job changing his attitude and moving forward. Barlow says he'll be playing more wing and less point in '11/'12.
|credit: GBI's Cory Seward|
-Barlow sounds like he understands how he screwed up and is making an effort on and off the court to stay away from the problems he's had in the past...wants to come back as a better person and a more-effective basketball player. Wants to use last year's negative to make him better.
-Hummel feels like he's way ahead of where he was as practice began last year...and has already had a few of those moments when he took contact that was "kinda scary" but is growing more confident with each time he's gotten up from those types of plays. He feels physically-stronger and more skilled on the court.
-Hummel loves what he sees out of Marcius; he notes his moves in the post are quicker and he's making better decisions and likes how he and Carroll can do some similar things on the glass.
-The team feels like it has a ton to prove after the way the season ended. Specifically, Smith is excited to get the defense back to where it was before the late season collapse.
-Byrd looks forward to playing more guard as Hummel, Hale and Lawson add depth to the frontcourt.
-All of the players seem very aware of the fact that not many in the media think they will be a contender for the B1G title...and all seem to revel in the underdog role.