The 2012-13 season was Purdue’s first to end with a losing record since 2005-06. That was Matt Painter’s first year as coach. He led Purdue to six straight seasons of 20 or more wins after that. The Boilers were 16-18 last year and missed the NCAA tournament but returned to postseason play for the seventh straight year with a College Basketball Invitational berth.
The Boilermakers return four of their top five scorers from last season with senior guard Terone Johnson, sophomore center A.J. Hammons, sophomore guard Ronnie Johnson and sophomore forward Rapheal Davis. That four produced more than 60 percent of Purdue’s points as well as 46 percent of its rebounds.
Painter brought in three freshmen that are expected to contribute from the get-go. Northrop grad Bryson Scott, along with Basil Smotherman and Kendall Stephens, should bolster the Boilers’ backcourt.
The team added two graduate transfer players: Errick Peck, an Indianapolis native who comes to West Lafayette after graduating from Cornell; and Sterling Carter, who hails from Seattle and played at Seattle last season.
Former Boilermaker Brandon Brantley, who was part of three Big Ten championship teams, joined Painter’s staff as an assistant coach.
4 games of interest
Nov. 28 vs. Oklahoma State: The Boilermakers face Marcus Smart, one of the best players in college, and his Cowboys during the Old Spice Classic in Florida.
Dec. 14 vs. Butler: The Crossroads Classic will pit Purdue against a team with a knack for playing tough and gritting out wins against more talented opponents.
Dec. 31 vs. Ohio State: The Boilermakers have a stern test in their second Big Ten game. The Buckeyes are a preseason top-15 team.
Feb. 15 vs. Indiana: The rivals square off just once this year, and Purdue will seek payback for two big losses to the Hoosiers last season.
3 key players
Terone Johnson, Sr., G: The 6-4, 198-pounder is one of two four-year players on the squad. He led the team in scoring with 13.5 points per game last season.
A.J. Hammons, So., C: The 7-foot, 250-pound Hammons was inconsistent last year but still managed 10.6 points, six rebounds and two blocks per game.
Kendall Stephens, Fr., G: The 6-6, 193-pound Stephens struggled through some injuries in the offseason but is likely the team’s best three-point threat.
2 points of concern
They’re still young: Purdue brings back most of its production but will likely start at least three underclassmen, if not more. Have those players developed enough to win?
Going small: The Boilermakers will use some nontraditional lineups this season. Only three players – Hammons, redshirt freshman Jay Simpson and senior Travis Carroll – are taller than 6-7.
1 major issue
Attitude adjustment: Purdue has practiced all offseason with a chip on its shoulder. The Boilers want to prove themselves, but can they maintain that mentality and avoid the inconsistency that has plagued them?