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NCAA Football

Freshman Forward Donnie Hale Will Redshirt

When projecting Purdue’s lineup prior to this season, I would not have guessed Donnie hale would redshirt. In fact, I was caught off guard. This decision has benefits and downsides, but I still can’t support the decision to redshirt Donnie Hale. Here’s my analysis of this issue:

PROS:

  • Donnie Hale will have a year to gain much needed muscle and strength.
  • Hale will have a year to get ahead in his academic studies.
  • He will have a chance to learn Painter’s offensive and defensive systems.
  • He likely would not play many minutes this season if he were to not redshirt (as the roster currently stands).
CONS:
  • Purdue will be in a major bind if any of its front court players get injured. Right now, the front court consists of Hummel, Carroll, Marcius, Lawson, and DJ Byrd (although Barlow can play the 4 in a pinch). Note: This is a major concern with Hummel playing on a knee with two ACL tears and a history of back problems. DJ Byrd and Marcius have also battled the injury bug in the past. Lawson tore his achilles last year, so he doesn’t have a clean injury history either. You can argue that if an injury occurs early in the season, then it’s fine to burn Hale’s redshirt. However, if an injury or injuries occur later in the season, it’s unfair to Hale to waste his eligibility by burning his redshirt later in the year.
  • Purdue will also be in a major bind if their front court players get into foul trouble. This has not been an issue yet this year, but it only takes one key game to second guess a decision to forfeit another scholarship player.
  • Hale will not get the chance to develop game experience this year. After Hummel graduates, Purdue will need its front court to contribute in a major way in 2012.
  • Purdue’s class of 2012 includes two bigs: AJ Hammons and Jay Simpson. Purdue’s front court to guard ratio may make it even more difficult for Hale to find playing time next year.
  • Hale has already spent a season at prep school. He will be a 21 year old redshirt freshman next year. You have to wonder how he’s reacting to this decision. Will he be an unhappy player? Even though Painter has solid reasons for redshirting Hale, you still don’t want to create a stir in the locker room by having an unhappy player.
  • With the exception of Hummel, Purdue’s current front court players are not producing at a high level. I realize that it’s early in the season, but Carroll and Marcius struggle in some match-ups and Lawson will need some time to develop. If Purdue continues to struggle against other team’s bigs, they’ll be without an extra option in Hale. Hale especially matches up well with quicker, more athletic teams.
  • Purdue will now have five members of the class of 2012. This makes for a big class and could affect the balance of future classes. This is a minor consideration, but get ready for a big class of 2016 (it’ll be here sooner than you think).
After my list of pros and cons, I still fall on the side of wishing that Painter would play Donnie Hale this year. To play devil’s advocate though, you can also argue that Hale didn’t take the opportunity of adding strength at prep school over the last year. It was obvious in preseason games that he was pushed around at times. He does need to gain strength in both his lower and upper body. But he also led Purdue in rebounds during a preseason game. No matter how I analyze it, I wish Hale could be an option to play this year. I just hope that there are no injuries or other circumstances that will make us regret Painter’s decision to redshirt Hale. If everyone remains healthy and in good standing, Painter is right that we shouldn’t have to play Hale. But if Hummel is injured in the middle of Big Ten season (praying that this doesn’t happen), then Painter’s decision will be flat out foolish. These are the difficult decisions that head coaches have to make and they’re never easy.
Also, Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Boiler Up!