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April 9, 2012

New Purdue team will have advantage

Next season, Purdue will have at least five newcomers.

Coach Matt Painter, during a press conference in which he wrapped up the 2011-12 season and looked ahead some to 2012-13, said he is not absolutely certain he will add another player to next season's roster but indicated he and his staff will continue to constantly recruit for the scholarship vacancy created by Kelsey Barlow's in-season dismissal.

But, as is at this very moment, the Boilermakers will add four freshmen to a team whose dynamics will again change dramatically.

Throw in the redshirted Donnie Hale and it adds up to at least five scholarship newcomers on a roster slated to return - as of now - only five scholarship upperclassmen.

"We have a lot of incoming players who are going to have a great opportunity to play and we have a redshirt in Donnie Hale who can be a very good player for us, especially if he has a very good summer," Painter said. "... Obviously this team will have a different identity in terms of how we're going to score the ball and we're going to have a lot of size and that'll help us on both ends of the court. And we have a lot of guys who are hopefully going to expand their roles. We're going to have some young guys who are going to have to make an impact on this team.

"There's a lot of questions and a lot of competition."

So next year's team, again, will be very different. But also, it perhaps be as well prepared as can be hoped, for a couple reasons related to changes to NCAA rules.

For one thing, rules have been revised so that now newcomers may accompany their college teams on summertime exhibition tours overseas. Purdue is taking such a trip in August to Italy.

When the Boilermakers went to Australia in 2008, its freshmen had to stay home. With Lewis Jackson left behind, Purdue played Down Under without a point guard, as Keaton Grant was recovering from injury at the time.

Additionally, newly enacted NCAA rules on summer workouts allow coaching staffs to work up to two hours per week with their players. Previously, coaches could have no on-court contact, or even observations, during the summer.

The combination of the two changes make for an advantage for a young team that'll need all the work it can get heading into the fall.

"For those guys to have this kind of opportunity," Painter said, "it's really perfect time for this team."

No roster movement yet

It's transfer season throughout college basketball, and while movement may not necessarily be expected around Mackey Arena, it's never out of the question.

Painter said Monday he's yet to meet with his players individually as he does every season.

"I don't know yet," Painter said when asked if he anticipated any roster changes. "We'll see. Obviously, that's a two-way street, not always my decision. The one thing I've always try to do with our guys is to be honest about where they stand. It comes through their behavior, their attitude or their production. Sometimes, guys are young and have to learn a lesson.

"The thing I'd say more than anything is that it's very, very hard to change. And in these meetings, about half the guys that walk in there, you're telling them they have to change to reach their goals. It's a hard thing to do as a person, but what you want from guys is just an effort and a good attitude and the ability to trust what I'm telling them. I'm not going to say something to them that doesn't benefit Purdue."

When asked specifically about fifth-year senior-to-be John Hart, who could opt to graduate rather than return next season, Painter reiterated that he hadn't met with players yet.




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