Tonight at 7 p.m., Purdue gets its first-look at its new-look team, as this freshman-heavy team debuts in its exhibition opener against Montevallo.
Coach Matt Painter will play as many as five freshmen - including redshirt freshman Donnie Hale - extensively, with freshman point guard Ronnie Johnson expected to start.
Exhibition games are for sorting out personnel. At the forefront in that sense is Purdue's corps of post players. The Boilermakers have six players who are 6-foot-8 or taller.
"It's hard to play six people in two spots," Painter said. "Today, I'm doing it, because I don't see separation and I don't see anybody at the bottom of that rung."
The Boilermakers will use these early season games also to figure out their identity, with the complexion of its roster having changed so much. They will look different offensively, as a roster full of shooters last season has given way to a roster full of penetrators and size. Defensively, Purdue will hope to be better against the dribble, but will have the benefit
G: Ronnie Johnson
F: D.J. Byrd
F: Donnie Hale
G: Ryan May (6-0, So.)
G: Jonas Brown (6-1, Sr.)
F: Drico Hightower (6-7, Sr.)
F: Marvin Fitzgerald (6-5, Sr.)
F: Jeff Hefner (6-8, Sr.)
Ronnie Johnson, guard Rapheal DavisClick More: Roster | Schedule | Statistics (2011-12)Here to view this Link. and big men A.J. HammonsClick More: Roster | Schedule | Statistics (2011-12)Here to view this Link. and Jay SimpsonClick More: Roster | Schedule | Statistics (2011-12)Here to view this Link. will make their debuts in Purdue uniforms, as might new walk-on Stephen ToyraClick More: Roster | Schedule | Statistics (2011-12)Here to view this Link..
Sophomore guard Anthony JohnsonClick Hale, a redshirt freshman, played in Purdue's two exhibition games last year. He had nine points and six rebounds in 14 minutes against Northern State and eight rebounds against Southern Indiana.Here to view this Link., who will see minutes at point guard this season, was bothered by a heel injury in early practices but has been practicing full-go lately and should be fine for the exhibition opener.
Purdue last lost an exhibition game Nov. 5, 2002, when it fell 83-64 to the Harlem Globetrotters, more like a pro team than an exhibition team. The Boilermakers have won their past 19 exhibition games.
The Boilermakers are 56-5 in exhibition games at home all-time.
Montevallo - located in Montevallo, Ala. - was the Division II runner-up last season, finishing a 29-8 season after getting hot at the end of the year and making it to the title game. Three starters return from that team, which is breaking in seven newcomers.
The Falcons are ranked 16th in the preseason by the Division II Bulletin.
Reminder: Saturday night's exhibition finale against Newberry's start time has been pushed to 8 p.m. to accommodate the 3:30 p.m. start time for that day's Purdue-Penn State football game.
Radio: Purdue Sports Network (95.7 FM locally)
TV: Big Ten Network Digital
Internet: GoldandBlack.com subscribers can follow along live with our in-game blog, "Game Day Live."
GoldandBlack.com Prediction: There's no telling what Purdue will even look like, let alone how it will perform, but exhibition games are what they are. We don't know anything of substance of Montevallo, other than the fact that they don't have a Terone Johnson, D.J. Byrd or A.J. Hammons in terms of ability or size.
Purdue 74, Montevallo 50
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