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March 8, 2013
It remains to be seen whether Purdue will have center Sandi Marcius for its Saturday afternoon senior day meeting with Minnesota.
Marcius hurt his ankle with about 13 minutes remaining against Michigan Wednesday, a loss that certainly didn't help Purdue's cause as the Wolverines rallied back from a dozen down to win 80-75.
"I would say it is still up in the air whether he plays or not," Coach Matt Painter said Thursday. "He did not practice yesterday. He's going to try to do some things today. So we will see."
The junior's been playing the best basketball of his Boilermaker career and playing with an energy that's paid obvious dividends for a Purdue team that's improved in the final weeks of the regular season.
Marcius returned to the game against Michigan, but managed to play just two ineffective minutes before coming back out.
"It's everything," Painter said of possible limitations caused by the injury, "... being able to explode and run and just put that weight on his ankle."
If Marcius is sidelined or at least limited, it stands to reason to suggest the Boilermakers would need solid play from freshman A.J. Hammons against Minnesota, which will play big and challenge Purdue on the boards.
Hammons has been struggling lately, combining to shoot just 4-of-17 and totaling only 11 points the past two games.
"It's the same thing through the whole year," Painter said. "If this continues on, you just hope you're getting the right A.J. (that day), but he's a young player so you're just trying to get some consistency. His approach and his inability to get himself ready and focused on what he has to do holds him back. If he can just be consistent in getting himself ready and into what he needs to do, he's going to be fine. A lot of times he struggles and you have to take him out, then he re-groups and he's better."
Purdue had one of its all-time greats, Glenn Robinson, back in Mackey Arena Wednesday night for the Michigan game. Painter hopes the former NBA No. 1 pick comes back soon.
"Next year's the 20th anniversary of when he was National Player-of-the-Year," Painter said, "so hopefully we can get him back when we recognize him for that and really show the appreciation we have for everything he did for Purdue and the fans."
Painter played alongside Robinson under Gene Keady in the mid-'90s, when Robinson was the most dominant player in the college game.
"You don't Xerox greatness," Painter said. "It only comes along so often. We're still looking for the next Rick Mount and we're still looking for the next Glenn Robinson and I have a funny feeling we're not going to find him, because they don't make a copy of people who are special."
The past two games, junior Terone Johnson has played two of the best games of his career, let alone season, capped by his 32-point, 12-of-17 eruption against the Wolverines.
Prior, Johnson scored 16 points at Wisconsin
"He's taking rhythm threes and when he doesn't have a rhythm three, he's not forcing it," Painter said of Johnson, who's 7-of-13 from three-point range the past four games, counting his 0-of-2 in the Iowa game in which he hurt his ankle. "He's getting in the lane. A couple of those things he did are very difficult, but really comfortable for him. He's able to pick his spots, get angles and make individual plays on those floaters."
Painter on Rapheal Davis, who scored 15 points with nine rebounds against Michigan: "He's put in extra time and he tries to do what you ask him to do. That sounds like something that should be normal, but it's not. His competitiveness and his ability to want to do well and have a passion for the game has leap-frogged other people on our team. If he can continue that, which I think he will, and work on just improving his skill level and understanding of the game, he can be a very good player, because he wants to. ... He's handled some adversity the right way. We've had some guys not handle some adversity the right way and it's cost us some games."
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