Exhibition Observations: Purdue Men’s Basketball Defeats Univ. of Southern Indiana

It was a rather ho-hum game for Purdue men’s basketball in their final exhibition against the University of Southern Indiana (USI). USI played the Boilers tough and Matt Painter’s squad made plenty of mistakes as they tried new lineups and allowed the team to run free reign against USI. In the end, Purdue easily won 65-49 despite USI’s valiant effort. Here are some of my observations:

  • Kelsey Barlow was “on” tonight. He looked fantastic anticipating at least two USI passes and intercepting them. This led to two break away dunks. He was also aggressive on the offensive end. He knocked down two threes when he had lots of shooting space. This is important because it will hopefully force other teams to guard him out to the perimeter if he keeps knocking down his outside shots. He also drove to the lane and used his size to knock down some running floaters. I don’t predict that he’ll be the next Evan Turner, but when he attacks the basket, he looks really, really good. I hope this trend continues when the regular season starts.
  • Ryne Smith had another quiet night. He did hit some shots early, but I’d really like to see him be more assertive. In my opinion, if he doesn’t start taking open looks, we need to let Anthony Johnson and Terone Johnson take some of his minutes. He’s out there because he can make shots and play pesky defense. Yet, we see him defer too much, pump fake, and make the extra pass. While making the extra pass is usually a good thing, he’s no longer playing with E’twaun Moore and Jajuan Johnson. In other words, making the extra pass may not always give Purdue the better scoring option. At some point, he has to step up and be that senior leader who will be a consistent offensive threat. There’s plenty of season for him to become more of a confident shooter, but I hope that happens sooner than later because Hummel can only carry so much of the scoring load himself.
  • Speaking of Hummel, he was his solid self with 8 points. Even though everyone calls Marcius the best rebounder on the team, Hummel will probably lead the team in rebounds. He always puts himself in the best position to come down with the board. He has great instincts. We saw him look for his shot early, which is a preview of what we’ll see for the rest of the year.
  • Lewis Jackson used his quickness to get to the hole. His minutes were limited, like Hummel, because we used this game to give the youngins more playing time. His role is a lot more difficult this year without Johnson and Moore. It’s obvious that sometimes he’s not sure who to set-up because this team really doesn’t have any offensive focal points outside of Hummel. This will be a work in progress as the season goes on and our offensive playmakers emerge. I expect Jackson to adapt to this new challenge and put our players in the best positions to score.
  • Travis Carroll had a little bit of a quiet night. He did look good getting physical with USI’s post players. By the way, USI really showed a lot of fight and pushed around Hale and Lawson quite a bit. The freshmen need to fight back when someone gets physical with them, but I’ll get to that. As always, Carroll makes good decisions and doesn’t really draw attention to himself by just being a solid helper on defense and staying in good position at all times.
  • On the contrary, Marcius is not always in a good position. That causes a few “c’mon Sandi” moments per game, but he also shined during other parts. He attacks the basket with a nice hook shot, he is not afraid to bump his man and rough him up. However, he does foul quite a bit, so it’ll be interesting to watch how he improves his ability to play physical without fouling. Still, I like what I see from Marcius and his rebounding. He’ll probably split minutes with Carroll and get about 40% of Travis’ minutes unless he’s in foul trouble or making too many mistakes.
  • Terone Johnson showed a lot this game in my opinion. He drove to the basket, hit a triple and looked great on defense. I really feel like he’ll emerge this year because he’s playing with a lot more confidence and he can stay with anybody from a physical standpoint. I also like that he’s able to back-up Jackson at the point or play on the wing. His versatility will be an asset this year and if I had to bet, I’d say that Terone is most likely to break out as a scorer. TJ had 8 points tonight.
  • The other player that I think will break out as a scorer is Anthony Johnson. He showed a little more of his offensive ability tonight with 8 points. He knocked down a floater in the lane although he also missed a couple. His defense wasn’t as good tonight because USI’s guards are more athletic and he had a tougher time staying with them. Still, he looked good with the ball in his hands whether he was bringing the ball up the court, driving to the basket, looking to shoot from outside, or looking to set up another teammate.
  • DJ Byrd had a somewhat quiet game, but he was physical like last game. He can really be disruptive defensively and I liked how he was able to stay in front of a smaller, quicker USI guard. That should bode well for Byrd’s switch from playing the 4 to playing as a guard.
  • Donnie Hale got pushed around by USI’s bigs. He really needs to add strength, so we may see him also get pushed around quite a bit when Big Ten play rolls around. Still, he looked good at times, although I don’t like it when he takes outside shots. I would rather see him work it inside or catch the ball running to the basket. He was very active without the ball on offense, which I love. On defense, he did a good job rebounding despite getting knocked around. He blocked a shot and made things difficult in the paint for USI, but his game tonight was pretty inconsistent. All typical for a freshman big.
  • The other frosh big, Jacob Lawson, had a similar night to Hale’s. He was pushed around by more aggressive USI players, but he showed his athleticism by blocking at least one shot and grabbing some rebounds. He does a nice job of creating his shot when he’s facing up, but at this point, he has trouble converting his shot. For this reason, Lawson should probably not shoot unless he’s within 10 feet of the basket. Even then, he’s one of our last options offensively.
  • As a sidenote, it should be interesting to see if Painter redshirts Lawson. All indications are that Painter wants to redshirt one of our freshmen and Lawson seems more likely because of his raw offensive skills. For multiple reasons, I would much prefer we didn’t redshirt either freshmen. I may go into those reasons in a separate post.
  • Also, Dru Anthrop looked okay tonight, but he let his man beat him a couple of times on defense. He’s still a valuable veteran guard that can come in the game when things are going wrong, establish defensive presence, and make smart decisions on offense.

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