Great Players on Less-Than-Great Teams (& other notes)

As the doldrums of summer continue, the Boiled Sports staff has been busy personally, but had little to report on the front of our favorite topic, Purdue sports. That said, both the NFL & NBA drafts occurred during this season and these drafts were noteworthy for Purdue fans.

First off, Anthony Spencer made the Purdue family proud by following up his stellar Senior campaign by being drafted in the first round (#26) by the Dallas Cowboys. Early word out of Dallas is that there's a good chance the NFL rookie will play a significant role this coming season and will possibly start, depending on their injury situation. Spencer was the first Purdue player picked in the first round of the NFL draft in 20 seasons.

Spencer's play was really the only thing to write home about in Purdue's sub-par 2006 defense. Our Boilers ranked 114th in total defense despite Spencer's efforts. Many games he was double or triple-teamed. And when he wasn't out-manned, the opposition would simply run away from him. Spencer's dominant play made him the first All-American Boiler D-Lineman since 1975. While his motor, athleticism and toughness will be missed by fans, I look for the '07 Boiler defense to improve greatly (could it really get any worse?).

More recently, power forward Carl Landry was picked first in the second round (#31 overall) of the NBA draft by the Seattle Supersonics. The rights to Landry were soon-after traded to the Houston Rockets. Landry became the first Boiler picked in the NBA's draft since Brian Cardinal in 2000. The situation for Landry in Houston should be pretty good as his strong, hard-nosed style of play is greatly needed in the Yao Ming-led Houston frontcourt.

Landry exceeded many expectations with his play for our Boilers in his first season in a Purdue uniform ('04-'05). The next year, his injured knee kept him off the court. But in '06-07, Landry fully recovered and carried the under-sized Boilers, leading the team in both scoring and rebounding. His efforts earned him the Big Ten's player of the week for a record three weeks in-a-row, at one point. Carl was named to the All-Big Ten team for 2007.

Who's Next?

On the gridiron, many pre-season magazines believe that Purdue's offense will be nearly unstoppable. While I don't know if I would go that far, I would have to say that I believe the '07 offense has no excuses not to have a great deal of success. I look for OG Jordan Grimes to be an All-American and follow up the season by being drafted highly. Grimes' size and experience should prove to be a tough impedance for opposing pass-rushers. I believe QB Curtis Painter will be first-team All Big Ten as will WR/KR Dorien Bryant. RB Cory Sheets might surprise a few people by being named to the BT's second team. He could be joined on that honorary squad by TE Dustin Keller, WR Greg Orton, P Jared Armstrong and DE Cliff Avril. The BT Honorable Mention squad might include CB Terrell Vinson, LB Anthony Heygood and OL Elliott Hood.

My hope is that DE Eugene Bright is suspended in the coming days for being convicted of resisting arrest...but that looks doubtful. Tiller needs to keep Purdue players from filling the W. Lafayette holding cells...if only for a season.

On the hardwood, I think Freshman point guard E'Twan Moore will have an instant impact and may be starting within the first five-to-ten games. Outside of Moore, I think SF Scott Martin might be ready "out of the box". I believe the two other incoming true Freshman, Johnson and Hummel will need a bit of bulk to become contributors...Maybe one can be red-shirted. I have a sneaking suspicion that Gordon Watt now thinks this is his team and will prepare himself well to be "the man". I look for Watt to have a breakout year and be on the Big Ten's Honorable Mention team. Kramer might also flirt with making one of the All-Big Ten teams. But, the sum of the parts will prove to be much more effective and productive than the individuals next season...Look for the Boilers to get better each month and end the season with around 23 wins.

Hopefully, Greg Hill's most recent ACT scores will make him eligible in the very near future. A true shooter is definitely needed on this squad. Also, look for Nemanja Calasan to become the most recent Boiler signee in the coming weeks. The 6 ft. 9 in. Calasan was the number two-ranked JuCo player in 2006 and should be an instant-impact player at forward for the Boilers.

All-Star Shenanigans

My ship has come in...