football Edit

Purdue expects Octeus to help immediately

Matt Painter's impressions to this point on his newest guard - transfer Jon Octeus signed last night - are based solely on Internet video clips and conversations with those who know him.
But as distant as those things might be, the Boilermaker coach's impression on the 6-foot-4 incoming senior is a strong one.
"Everybody we talked to raved about his work ethic and raved about his ability to defend," Painter said Thursday. "If he's a hard-working guy and an every-day (work ethic) guy and has a good attitude, things will work well for him here."
Octeus started all 32 games last season for Colorado State and averaged better than 13-and-a-half points per game. He was bound to likely be the starting point guard at UCLA this season as a fifth-year transfer before an admissions roadblock sent him looking elsewhere.
Ultimately, he landed at Purdue, a program he's now learning about on the fly.
Though this came together very quickly with all sorts of room for uncertainty on both ends, Painter and Octeus both expect the best.
"I play hard," Octeus said in an extended interview Wednesday night. "I've been coached by guys who really push that in their players. I think I'm a good worker and a good teammate and I think with the experiences I have had I can bring some kind of leadership to this team. I'm sure other guys have been appointed for leadership roles and they've earned that, and just like they did, I'm going to try to earn it."
He will also have to earn a role.
Painter admitted Thursday he'll have to handle Octeus differently than his other players these next few weeks considering his uncommon circumstances. Octeus will have to get acclimated quickly.
That makes any projections for him difficult.
"I'm going to go through the practices and see where I fit in and Coach Painter's a good coach and I'm sure he's going to place me in a spot he thinks I can help the team in," said Octeus, who played with the Rams in the 2013 NCAA Tournament. "I'm perfectly fine with that. Wherever he sees me, I'll make the best effort I can to help the team win. I like winning."
Purdue's point guard position is in transition. Octeus played point guard at Colorado State and considers that his primary position.
"I know he can play the position. I don't know if it's his ideal spot. I know defensively, he can really help us there," Painter said. "Probably more than anything, you can put him where you're short. If guys aren't productive in a certain spot, you can fit him in. He's obviously an experienced guy and that's what we need. He's our oldest guy and in his fifth year. … He's been in the NCAA Tournament and played for a very good coach (Larry Eustachy), a guy who's great at coaching defense and getting guys to stick with his defensive rules. You know he's going to be prepared to guard and understand things."
Octeus claims versatility among his greatest attributes.
"I'm a point guard, but I can play the 2-guard and I think I can guard the 1-2-3," Octeus said. "I'm a basketball player more than anything."
Painter said he's seen in Octeus a low-volume three-point shooter - "but everybody we talked to said he's worked very, very hard to get to that point so I'd expect him to keep working along those lines" - and a low-turnover ball-handler in a point guard role.
"He hasn't been a high-assist guy," Painter said. "He's actually been a low-assist guy, but he's also been a low-turnover guy, and that's something that's really helped us. We've had guys like that before, guys like Keaton Grant who played to their strengths, didn't get a lot of assists, but didn't commit a lot of turnovers."
At the very least - the very least - Octeus gives Purdue another option in a thin backcourt and a rare experienced presence on a team with as many freshmen coming in on scholarship as veterans returning on scholarship.
He also gives Purdue added athleticism, height, length and defensive versatility to its backcourt fray.
"Defensively, (size) allows me to really be able to (disrupt) guards I'm going against and guard multiple positions," Octeus said. "I'm a pretty long defender. I put a lot of pride in my defense."
Painter believes Octeus can be a key contributor for Purdue.
There's no way around it being a process, however, a process current Boilermakers need to help with, Painter said.
"We met this morning and I explained Jon was joining our program," Painter said. "It's what we always talk about, whether it's a recruiting visit or freshmen coming in in the summer: 'Help them.' Sometimes you go through a rough transition and maybe some people in a program didn't help you. Don't use that as a reason not to help others. Help them."
Transition is nothing new to Octeus, though.
"If you compete it really (covers) a lot of your weaknesses and he's a competitive kid and a hard worker and he'll pick it up," Painter said. "He has made adjustments before. He's gone from one junior college to another, from that junior college to Colorado State, now coming here. He's been in transition before and been able to adjust to do a good with it."
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