If there could be one word to describe Purdue’s 2017-18 basketball roster, it would be hopeful. However, hope doesn’t win basketball games, players do.
The Boilermakers finished off this past season with a Big Ten regular season conference title and went 27-8 on the season. Their road to the final four was cut short with a loss to Kansas in the Sweet 16, but it’s just motivation to work over the summer. They also have key players returning and a good class of freshmen coming in.
On the downside, the Boilermakers will most likely be losing their, 6-foot-9 big man, Caleb Swanigan. He averaged 18.5 points and 12.5 rebounds per game this past season and will likely be a first-round pick in the NBA.
“He’s a borderline first-round guy, and I’m not sure how he will have a better year than he did this past year,” one NBA GM told ESPN.com. “I don’t see how he improves his stock coming back,” another NBA executive said. (Source: ESPN)
Swanigan was more than just a big man. There were many games fans might call him “Mr. Clutch.” Despite his numbers dropping a little at the end, he had some stellar games during regular season play. In the matchup against Notre Dame, Swanigan scored 26 points for a five-point victory over the Fighting Irish. He also added big numbers against Minnesota, Illinois and on Michigan State’s home floor.
The squad will miss his talents for sure, but it isn’t set in stone that he’s going to the NBA yet. Swanigan hasn’t hired an agent yet, but people are skeptical that he’ll have a better season if he stays another year.
who’s coming back
Purdue can count on senior Isaac Haas, the center who averaged 12.6 points in 19.5 minutes per game. He also had a field goal percentage of 58.7 percent, the highest on the team.
In addition to Haas, Dakota Mathias will be returning for his senior season at the guard position. Mathias led the team with 3.8 assists per game as he took on a larger role for the team. His playing time increased significantly from his sophomore season.
Senior Vince Edwards will also be returning, and contributing big minutes and points. He’s a threat at the forward position with his strong skill set and athleticism.
P.J. Thompson, another senior guard, will also be finishing up his career as a Boilermaker. Thompson at 5-foot-10 doesn’t seem like the crafty guard he is, but teams are learning to respect him more.
The senior class will be the backbone of the team, providing strong leadership and standards for all the new kids coming in. Carsen Edwards will also be entering his sophomore year, which comes with higher expectations and hopefully more minutes. Purdue will also look to him a little more.
like I said, the future is bright
Purdue has Nojel Eastern signed at the shooting guard position, straight out of Evanston, Illinois. He should have an early impact as a freshman. Eastern will also be joined by Matt Haarms, Aaron Wheeler, Eden Ewing and Sasha Stefanovic. While it isn’t quite the same caliber players that Kentucky has coming in, Purdue will be a strong contender for the Big Ten title again next year.
Featured Image by Bleacher Report
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