One of the great things about working on a network like SBN is having the opportunity get an inside perspective on the opposition. With the Know Your Non-conference Opponent piece on Purdue running yesterday, I dropped a line to TMill over at Hammer and Rails - SBN's Boilermakers blog - to ask him to spackle in the cracks in the article. He graciously provided the following:
Carroll is the leading returning rebounder, but it is highly suspected he will lose minutes to freshman A.J. Hammons and junior Sandi Marcius played very well in the NCAA Tournament after barely playing during the Big Ten season and was impressive during the summer and our trip to Itally. He seems to have made a pretty big leap.
Coach Painter also said today that Donnie Hale, who redshirtted last year, has emerged as a candidate to start at the four. He is a unique case in that he went to prep school, then redshirtted, so he is really a junior with freshman eligibility. He has to ability to be somewhat of a Hummel-lite, but isn't quite the three-point shooter Rob was.
This is a very, very young team that will be led by lone scholarship senior D.J. Byrd. He is our only proven three-point threat, but with Hammons, Marcius, Carroll, Simpson, Jacob Lawson, and Hale we have the most depth in the post of any time under Painter, so look for us to be a more traditional big, strong Big Ten team. Dru Anthrop, a former walk-on who went on scholarship last year, is our only other senior on the roster, so what you'll see on the floor this year is what we'll have next year as well.
Ronnie Johnson has drawn a lot of comparisons to Indiana's Kevin Ferrell. Both are elite freshman point guards and they dueled against each other multiple times in high school since their schools are about 2 miles apart. Ferrell is the better player in my opinion since I saw them play against each other once, but Ronnie might be the better shooter. Getting a player who is even close to Ferrell's caliber is very nice.
As the season develops and we approach the actual game, look for us to get back with the guys from Hammer and Rails for an update on Purdue's young talent and their preview of the game.