JuJuan Johnson, E’Twaun Moore and Robbie Hummel were once the stars that led the way for the Purdue Boilermakers.
But Purdue, which was 22-13 a year ago, will take the floor with a different look this season now that Hummel became the last of that talented trio to leave West Lafayette.
If head coach Matt Painter is going to keep the Boilermakers in the upper half of the Big Ten and in the hunt for an NCAA tournament berth this season, he will need to find players ready to step up and lead a young and inexperienced team.
Terone Johnson could be that guy after playing well down the stretch, particularly in the conference tournament and NCAA tourney when he averaged a little over 15 points per outing.
Johnson helped North Central High School in Indianapolis win a state championship in 2010 and the junior guard should be in line for a breakout season.
He finished third on the team in scoring, pumping in 9.2 points per outing, but he showed just how dangerous he can be on any given night when he poured in 22 points in Purdue’s NCAA tournament win against the St. Mary’s Gaels. Johnson dropped in 10 points one round later in a gut-wrenching 63-60 loss to the Kansas Jayhawks.
Johnson will have to take his scoring up a couple of notches this season, but considering what he did late in the year, I don’t think that is going to be a problem for him.
Defensively, he came through with 35 steals and his ability to defend hard night in and night out will be just as important to the success of the Boilermakers as his knack for knocking down shots.
I don’t think Purdue is going to win the Big Ten championship, but I do think the Boilermakers are destined for another trip to the NCAA tourney.
And for a team that will be short on experience in a conference punctuated by three potential national championship contenders, a postseason berth would be a big step for a Purdue team that seems to have a bright future.
Brian Lester is a featured Big Ten columnist for Rant Sports and also covers college basketball as a whole. Follow him on Twitter @BLester1993 or send him an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.