Articles and eye-witness accounts from campus are consistent: JJ and Ostrich are bigger and stronger and Bade's in much better shape and looks like a college basketball player. Atop that, LewJack says he's at 95%, the Freshman are blending in nicely in pick-up games and Rob's knee hasn't had any major setbacks.
Is it me, or is this not at all the Purdue way?
This off-season for the forces of good has simply been smooth and all-positive...and how refreshing is that? No rumors of transfers, or stupidity coming out via Twitter...just dudes getting better at their trade. And before you say I'm going to jinx something, I don't believe in that garbage...so save your breath.
JJ played against Lamar Odom, Kevin Durant and others in the USA camp. Plus, they found some food that he liked as it's starting to stick a bit. We all know Johnson was a great player last season, but if he has the ability to play in that determined, almost-angry fashion that we've seen from time-to-time with consistency, holy moly are we in for a fun year.
I compared Bade to Steve Scheffler as neither seemed quite ready for college ball when they entered their Purdue careers. You all know how 55's career went, but Bade still has a ton of time left to decide what he's going to be. Sounds like he's following the Schef in becoming more physically-imposing during the dog days of '10. At the same time Marcius is having opportunities to play against international talent and he's been solid. His big body, if nothing else will bolster and toughen Matty's frontcourt.
Finally, looking even further ahead, Donnie Hale has been getting some pub with his non-stop motor and ability to take and knock down shots in transition. Do you think a guy who's nearly 7 feet tall, with long arms and high-energy might fit in in Painter's defense?
So are you worried about not hearing about Smooge's progress? I wouldn't be...and am not. This is his way. He listened to what people in the know think about his game earlier in the summer and I can guarantee you, he's been working. Defense wasn't his strong suit early on in his career in West Lafayette, so he's quietly become one of Purdue's leaders in steals. Last season, everyone wanted to talk about JJ & the Ostrich, but no one talked about 33...so he went out and led the team in scoring and was the most-consistent member of the club. Moore will improve just like his classmates and teammates...and, I don't know if you guys remember this, they were all pretty good to begin with.
Once again, I have a hard time not looking through football season toward the late fall...but first things first, media day is just around the corner. 12:45, Monday, Danny Hope steps to the mic in Chicago. Tune in on BTN if your boss allows it.