Indiana University and Purdue University might be in-state rivals and had high expectations a season ago. This year, one of those teams does and it’s not the Hoosiers.
Matt Painter is returning a ton of players from one of the best teams in college basketball a season ago. Zach Edey, Braden Smith, Fletcher Loyer, Mason Gillis, Trey Kaufman-Renn, Ethan Morton, and Caleb Furst mark the returners. The Boilers will incorporate Lance Jones (transfer), Camden Heide (redshirt freshman), and Myles Colvin (true freshman) into the mix.
Former Purdue Boilermaker and current Big Ten Network analyst, Rapheal Davis, really likes the addition of Jones from Southern Illinois.
“Lance Jones brings an added quickness and added athlete. They’re playing a two-guard lineup. Lance Jones is able to allow Fletcher Loyer to be a shooter, you don’t have to break guys down off the dribble, you come off screens and hit open shots. Now Fletcher Loyer doesn’t have to guard the best perimeter guy or one of those quicker guards. Lance will help with Braden Smith. He doesn’t have to handle the ball all the time, he doesn’t have to be a one-man press breaker. Now you have two guys that are comfortable with the ball in their hands.”
When it comes to the Hoosiers, they have a ton of new faces that don’t have much experience. Kel’el Ware (transfer), Peyton Sparks (transfer), Gabe Cupps (true freshman), Mackenzie Mgbako (true freshman), Anthony Walker (transfer), and Jakai Newton (true freshman – currently injured).
There’s an immense amount of pressure on Trey Galloway, Xavier Johnson, and Malik Reneau to help bring along the new faces.
“It’s really tough for a freshman to come in, have the ball in their hands and make the right plays. Mackenzie Mgbako played more as an athlete in high school. Now he has to read screens, find his spots, and he doesn’t have the ball in his hands a lot. Xavier Johnson, Trey Galloway, and Malik Reneau got to be strong. Those three can’t really have bad games. I’m not asking for fifteen plus points, but those three have to be consistent with their effort, leadership, get out in transition, and make the right plays. They’ve got to be a consistent bunch to allow Mackenzie Mgbako to grow throughout the season because it’s tough for a guy to get it after just one game.” Davis stated.
Mike Woodson also needs to figure out if CJ Gunn and Kaleb Banks have what it takes to be a player within the Big Ten.
Purdue entered the season ranked as the third best team and one of the favorites to cut down the nets in Phoenix at the end of the NCAA Tournament. Indiana entered the season as a fringe NCAA Tournament team.
On Wednesday’s Query & Company, Davis also discussed:
- Why national signing day has lost interest
- How Gabe Cupps can help other players for Indiana
- Reflects on his days at Purdue in non-conference games
To listen to Jake Query and Jimmy Cook’s conversation with Rapheal Davis, download the podcast containing the conversation below! You can always listen to the Query & Company from 12pm-3pm on 93.5/107.5 The Fan. You can also watch and interact with the show by going to the 107.5 The Fan YouTube Channel.
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