WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (21Alive) - The Purdue men's basketball program has entered a new season following a rare sub-.500 finish a year ago.
The physical preseason practices show the Boilermakers have moved on from a 15-17 regular season record, and second-round loss to Santa Clara in the College Basketball Invitational.
"I like this time of the year," head coach Matt Painter says. "Trying to get guys to be fundamentally sound, take care of the basketball, be in the right place on defense, and, obviously, compete at a high level."
The offseason has been a war of attrition in West Lafayette: the graduation of D.J. Byrd; the addition of three freshman, including Northrop graduate Bryson Scott; and the transfers of Sandi Marcius, Anthony Johnson, Jacob Lawson and Donnie Hale.
Scott is already receiving praise from teammates.
"He's always going to play hard, and play mean and play with a dog-like mentality," guard Rapheal Davis describes Scott. "Now he's starting to slow down and think about it; and think about things before he does it." Davis, a former South Side standout, played Scott many times in Summit Athletic Conference games.
Scott and the new guys add needed depth for the Boilers, and hard-nose skills that could provide stability.
"People are competing more," guard Ronnie Johnson says. "You can tell people want to play. You can tell people want some playing time."
"We're going to rotate person-to-person a lot," center A.J. Hammons adds. "Trying to get everybody minutes, and see how everybody plays together."
Purdue has worked all summer on offensive consistency, and the Boilers have visibly improved from the end of last season.
"We've got a lot of guards that can make shots, and get other people involved. And we've got a lot of strong guards that can get in the paint and finish," Davis says.
As always, the Big Ten Conference schedule will be challenging, and Painter continues to work to find the right players to put on the floor.
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