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June 13, 2012For years, one of the great frustrations among college basketball coaches was the distance put between them and their players in the summertime, as NCAA regulations barred any hands-on coaching work between the end of the spring and the start of the fall semesters.
To the elation of those coaches, though, things change this year, as they're now permitted up to two hours per week for eight weeks of coaching work with their players.
Though Purdue's eight-week window opened prior to this week today is its first day of summer workouts with its full team, now that the team's freshmen have enrolled in school and passed their physicals.
"I think it's great, because ever since I've been here we haven't had to count on young guys to come in play," associate head coach Jack Owens said. "But at least one or two of those guys, if not all of them, are going to have to come in and play and help us in some way. They're very talented kids and we're excited about it. But like Coach (Matt) Painter says they haven't done anything yet. We're definitely looking forward to working with them."
Purdue will divide its roster into two groups, splitting the big men and perimeter players, and spread its 120-minute limit over three 40-minute workouts per week.
For freshmen Rapheal Davis, Ronnie Johnson, A.J. Hammons and the injured Jay Simpson, these sessions will be their introduction to college basketball.
"Obviously, we want those guys to understand what they're going to have to expect this fall, but at the same time we want to get them ready," Owens said. "With this group of guys I think they are going to embrace the challenge and everything else that comes along with it. But at the same time it's going to take an adjustment period for them getting used to us and also what Coach Painter expects from each and every one of them, because it's different, when you go from being the top guy to trying to find your way on a new team."
Coaches have long bemoaned their summer moratorium not solely because they couldn't actually coach their players, but also because they were uneasy about the bad habits players might pick or the influences that might arise when left unsupervised.
Prior to this year, only strength coaches could work with players in the summer in any sort of coaching capacity.
"It was frustrating, just because we're coaches and that's what we do; we want to make them better," assistant coach Greg Gary said. "And a lot of times you're coaching as far as on-the-court things, skill development, but you don't do a lot of that just because of the number of days you have - you don't have a lot.
"So I think this just gives us more chances to help guys get better and to work at a high level, and I think it is going to help get our guys better quicker and understand ... the intensity, the level that's expected. It gives us some time in the summer where it's not such a full load academically, too, where they're practicing, taking three classes a day, then lifting, study hall and all that stuff. It will be just one or two classes, a little bit lighter load academically, so their overall load is lighter."
Purdue's eight-week window for summer practices began prior to this week, according to supervisor of basketball operations Elliot Bloom, when only about half the team was on campus. The reason for Purdue starting up without a complete roster available is simple: Its 10-practice allowance prior to its August exhibition tour of Italy begins in late July.
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