basketball Edit

Purdue Basketball - Spring into Summer first look

Officially, summer starts tomorrow, but yesterday, summer practices started for Purdue basektball. That means that the freshmen are on campus, Zach Edey is preparing for the NBA Draft, Mason Gillis is wearing Duke blue, and the Purdue Boilermakers as a team are preparing to take on a whole new task under Matt Painter:

Following up a runner-up finish in the NCAA Tournament with a team welcoming five true freshmen and no transfers, Purdue will be entering the summer trying to integrate a bunch of new freshmen, polish an identity without its star big man Zach Edey, and prove that last year's success was the culmination of a near two decade plan built by Matt Painter.

So what did Purdue players have to say after its first summer practice? Check out the videos below and insight gleamed from media interviews.


TKR steps into the... shot light?

"It was," Trey Kaufman-Renn answered a question about working on his shooting form over the off season and how it was a point of emphasis in training. "I was. Growing up going into high school, I was always pretty much the biggest guy. So I never really got to shoot growing up, and so no one showed me how to form shoot."

Kaufman-Renn made the move from biggest guy on the court to second biggest, and that resulted in him playing as a power forward, the second post option on a team with maybe the best post option since Shaquille O'neil. So while his added shooting will be a boon for Purdue from a spacing standpoint, the boon for TKR is that all that interior will be his to claim this year.

"I feel like every time I got the ball on the block, it was almost like a double team, right?" Kaufman-Renn said about his post touches last year playing next to Edey. "If I beat my man, there was another guy waiting there."

It was one of the big sacrifices made last year that helped Purdue make its way to the National Title game. It was also an adjustment made out of necessity when Purdue's first round exit the year before showed that Purdue needed more offensive firepower in the starting lineup. Kaufman-Renn was able to offer that with his ability to knock down the occasional jump shot and take advantage of mismatches in the post.

This year, he expects to get the five spot back, a position that's more natural to him and one that will see him getting a lot of the post looks that Edey thrived with last season.

Colvin bridges generations

Myles Colvin was in a very strange spot last year. He was the only true freshman in Matt Painter's class, a highly talented, Purdue legacy who joined a team with big goals and a lot of experience.

Colvin's minutes were never consistent. He fell out of the rotations at times during conference play. It looked like the true freshman might have to wait for his sophomore season to make an impact, but Colvin proved what his teammates and coaches said all season. He never didn't put in the work. He was always there, watching film, working, and improving.

He reclaimed his role late in the season, and made an impact on the biggest stages. That advancement and improvement has him in line to have an even bigger impact in his second season.

"I think mentally I see the game differently," Colvin said yesterday. "It's definitely slowed down. Just being patient. Obviously growing on the court and off the court."

Colvin's lightbulb came with defensive awareness and the important to not only get on the floor, but excel when he's out there.

"I think defense especially," he said about what he's learned the most. "That's the main thing I learned last year. Defense fuels the team, not just myself. I think as long as I play good defense, I think I'll be set and do good on the offensive end."

But maybe because of his solo freshman experience, Colvin has made sure to reach out to this year's freshmen and help them early with any doubts or struggles they might carry into the start of camp.

"One thing I told them yesterday when we had the runs," Colvin said about the freshmen. "We're not going to let you struggle. You know, they didn't let me struggle last year. They helped me along the way. They knew as long as I was doing better, then the coaching would do good. I think that's one thing I wanted to harp on to make sure they didn't feel alone, and we're there for them and we're trying to make them as good as everybody else."

Loyer beefcake?

There was some time for laughs after the practice as well.

Fletcher Loyer, as you'll learn, might have noticed a trend or two on Twitter about his physical appearance. When noted by Brian Neubert of Gold and Black Illustrated that Loyer looked a little more muscular this season, Loyer had this funny reply.

"Thanks, man," Loyer said with a smirk. "You should tell the people on twitter that."

But away from added physique, Loyer steps into a familiar role as last year and insisted that the differences aren't that great compared to his first two seasons.

"It's obviously a new group, lost some key piecies, but we got a lot to improve on," Loyer said, "But we've still got the same goals in mind. There's no step back."

That also goes for him personally. What is asked of him might be different or it might not. He goes into the season the same way he always has.

"I wouldn't say I have to change my mentality," Loyer said when asked about accepting a new mindset on the course. "My mentality is to win."

And winning again and winning more is the team's focus from the start of the summer all the way through the season.

"It's something special we did for the school, the coach, this town," Loyer said. "It's a lot, but we didn't win. So I think we're all hungry to go back and win another Big Ten Championship and make another run in March and go back to the Final Four."

Smith's team

Last year's team was obviously one centered around one of the greatest Purdue basketball players of all time in Zach Edey, but it could be argued that this is the third year that Braden Smith has come into a summer with Purdue as his team.

The point guard out of Westfield has been a day one starter, going from surprise freshman to borderline All-American in two seasons at Purdue. Now, with Edey gone, the questions surrounding the Purdue offense and team could be used as slights against the best guard in the Big Ten.

"We're gonna approach it the same way," Smith said about the off-season and the team's plan towards playing without Edey. It might be too early for some to have a chip on their shoulder after last playing in the national title game, but expect Smith to take personal any doubt shared about this Purdue team.

This offense was in the hands of Smith for the last two seasons and the synergy between Smith and Edey is what helped lead to Purdue's most successful two year stretch in program history.

Now, Smith gets a loaded roster with athletic wings and shooters at all levels.

"I think just being able to have those guys that can spread the floor," Smith said. "Makes my job a little easier."

Expect Smith not to just have Purdue winning a lot of basketball games again, expect him to be in contention to give Purdue a third straight National Player of the Year.

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