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November 13, 2013

Painter likes 2014 signees, but class isn't done







Purdue signed its 2014 recruiting class Wednesday.

Or, at least, most of it.

"We think it's a good class," Coach Matt Painter said. "Hopefully we can add a couple pieces in the spring to make it a great class."

The Boilermakers received signatures Wednesday morning from Ohioans Vince Edwards and Dakota Mathias - a 6-foot-8 forward and 6-5 guard, respectively - and Massachusetts forward/center Jacquil Taylor.

But Purdue is not done recruiting.

"We got everything we wanted except a center," Painter said.

The Boilermaker coach and his staff have considered all options to add a big man to the 2014 class to augment its ranks down low, particularly to insulate it from the impact A.J. Hammons leaving early might have should that far-off scenario unfold.

Purdue will continue that search in the spring, when it'll know more about its actual needs as opposed to its hypothetical ones. Painter said he might also be interested in adding another guard after the season.

He'll have the scholarship room to play with, with several open spots, but won't have the desire to sign just anyone. Purdue has no juniors on scholarship, and so every scholarship used for 2014 recruits in the spring - save for the potential one-year transfer - is one less that can be banked for 2015.

"You don't really have all the data to answer that question in terms of what you will do," Painter said. "I know you put a hold on it if you've got the right guy at the right position in 2015. We're very open to putting a screeching halt to our recruiting in the spring for 2014 if we get a commitment in 2015 in a particular position. You always just try to do what's best for the team, and maybe you feel better about a position as you go along through the year, and maybe you don't. I think a lot of that will have to do with the availability of players, who's out there, who are your fifth-year guys that pop open, who makes improvement in their senior year that didn't sign early, maybe in the junior college or prep school ranks, or if someone decides to transfer. There's a lot of factors that can play into it and we try to work all those scenarios. We try to work like any of those scenarios can happen."

Wednesday's discussion with media, though, wasn't about what Purdue doesn't have, or doesn't yet have, but about what it now does: Edwards, Mathias and Taylor.

Edwards, Painter said, fits ideally into the skilled-forward mold Purdue "desperately" needs, Painter said.

"That's an important position to have in a motion offense," Painter said, "and he was a guy who we targeted early on from Day 1 and we thought he would be the best fit for us. We're excited to have him."

Edwards became a prime Boilermaker target during his sophomore season at Middletown High School in Middletown, situated between Dayton and Cincinnati.

"It was just his versatility and his ability to dribble, pass and shoot, plus he's a great rebounder," Painter said of what drew him to Edwards. "He's a guy that's always put up good numbers, whether it's been practice, open gym, or an AAU game. He's always been consistent in that area. He's a guy that we desperately needed in that position for our offense."

Meanwhile, Mathias is known as the type of shooter Painter exited last season especially coveting, but a versatile one who's not just a three-point shooter but an all-around scorer and offensive player in general.

"He does fit that mold, but his best attribute besides just being a selfless-type player is his high basketball IQ," Painter said. "He can really pass the ball and shoot the ball. We are very fortunate to have him. I think he could play for us right now.

"I think (versatile shooters) are very difficult to find. A skilled guy who's intelligent and can make decisions kind of summarizes who he is. He's got a court by his house and he's really put in hours to work on his game."

Taylor probably doesn't fit the mold of the physical interior presence Purdue's looked for, though it's entirely possible he'll play the 5 in college. But the Boilermaker coaching staff was drawn to the height, length and athleticism it saw in him prior to the foot injury that cost him his spring and summer, as well as some high-profile East Coast scholarship offers.

"I think he's a Gary McQuay-type player. He's 6-9 and long and athletic and can knock down a mid-range shot," Painter said of the left-handed Taylor. "His explosiveness and athleticism will continue to get back to where it was. It was just a great job by (Jack Owens) in finding him. He's a good kid from a good family and is a good student. He really fits the mold we like here at Purdue."

Taylor will be rounding back into form this season as he recovers from injury, a season Painter says will determine how much of an immediate contribution he may be able to make in college.

"I think a lot has to do with this year. I think that will be the tell-tale as to how he adjusts coming off that injury," Painter said. "And what kind of spring and summer he has going into next year. I never like to say that a guy will be an immediate-impact type of player unless I feel very strongly about it. You never want to handcuff one of your guys and then he ends up being in a great position. This year will be a big year for him."






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