Health concerns behind Albrecht, he hopes, as Purdue prepares for Spain
There's probably no player on Purdue's roster more looking forward to the Boilermakers' exhibition trip to Spain than Spike Albrecht.
No matter the continent, the new Purdue guard just wants to play, period.
After his final season at Michigan was marred by the physical limitations that came from a pair of hip surgeries, Spain will represent his first chance since his junior year in Ann Arbor to take the floor at full strength.
Earlier this summer, he was cleared as such, and though Purdue has felt no urgency to push him too hard in June and July, he has been a full participant in workouts, summer practices and now the Boilermakers' first two pre-Spain practices. The Boilermakers began their pre-trip work on Monday.
"It was a big burden lifted off my shoulders, after sitting out all last year basically," Albrecht said of the so-far, so-good start to his Purdue career from a health perspective. "It just feels great to be playing again, out there pain-free, really. ...
"The biggest thing now is just shaking off that rust and (getting back) the strength, but I'm full-go."
The 6-foot point guard still has a transition to make, though.
After spending four years at Michigan, he must acclimate to Purdue's way of doing things.
"It's kind of like I'm in a whole different world," Albrecht said, "but I feel like I'm picking it up pretty quickly."
Purdue hopes he can continue to, because it recruited him for what it considers an important need.
At point guard, Purdue returns incumbent P.J. Thompson and welcomes freshman Carsen Edwards - the rookie's ability has impressed teammates thus far, though an adjustment comes in "slowing the game down," those same teammates say - but hopes Albrecht can provide an important veteran presence at the crucial position.
"To add that to this team, that's something we really needed," teammate Vince Edwards said, "to get out of this slump or do whatever it is we need to do to get out of the first round of the tournament, or even in the Big Ten. He has that experience too. He's been on a team that's won a Big Ten championship."
The physical part, Albrecht hopes, won't be an issue.
There was a moment during Tuesday's practice where he hit the floor lunging for a loose ball.
"That's just how I play," he said. "Being able to go out and do that and not second-guess myself, that's a big sigh of relief."