Purdue’s 2020 Roster Crunch

As Purdue gets
ready for the Big Ten tournament and a likely NIT berth it’ll be a
chance to evaluate the roster for 2020. Senior night at Mackey said
thank you and goodbye to scholarship grad transfers Evan Boudreaux
and Jahaad Proctor. Seven other players saw time with Emmanuel
Dowuona not playing and freshman Brandon Newman and Mason Gillis
redshirting; that’s ten players with three freshmen in the 2020
class.

That’s the
full roster of 13 scholarships used and a potential roster coach for
Matt Painter. The coach has been very active in the transfer market
with fair success the last few seasons but now will have to juggle
playing time and who to redshirt. Having that much of the roster come
back will be big as the experience should lead to a bounce back
season BUT it will be a test for Painter to juggle.

At this point
I don’t believe there will be any early departures to the NBA draft.
Nojel Eastern and Matt Haarms have tested the waters but seem
unlikely to leave before their senior seasons. They’re locks for
minutes along with Eric Hunter, Sasha Stefanovic and Trevion
Williams. Isaiah Thompson has seen minutes as a true freshman this
season, including some clutch minutes and seems like a replacement
for Proctor.

That’s six
rotation spots taken without mentioning Aaron Wheeler. He was a
preseason pick to step up in the absence of Carsen Edwards and Ryan
Cline but has had a very forgetful season. Wheeler was taken out of
the starting lineup and saw his minutes continually fall. Wheeler
finished the regular season at 17.8 minutes per game, 3.6 points, 4.2
rebounds, shooting 25.7% from the field and 21.6% from 3. With
Boudreaux graduating there’s a starting spot open at power forward
but can Wheeler shake off his rough sophomore season?

Could Aaron
Wheeler seek out a change of scenery? His play cost him minutes but
Painter still played him as he tried to shake off the rough season,
so will he show in the preseason he can step up? Wheeler and, more
likely, Dowuona are the big ones to watch to potentially transfer out
of West Lafayette. With Haarms and Williams back the center minutes
are taken and that will likely have incoming 7’3” center Zach Edey
redshirt.

Wheeler will
likely have plenty of chances to take over the starting spot with the
back ups being Mason Gillis and possibly Brandon Newman with their
height. The real logjam is at guard. Eastern, Hunter, Sasha and
Thompson all saw minutes this season with Newman redshirting and 4*
Ethan Morton and Jaden Ivey coming in. Will they take a redshirt like
fellow 4* Newman and Gillis did, though Gillis was coming off an
injury?

Nothing will
be as bad as that stretch that saw Painter’s squad bottom out with
bottom of the Big Ten finishes 2012-2014 but the Purdue record this
season is similar to those two years. This year was due a lot to a
very tough schedule but there’s no denying it was a down year after
the Elite 8 appearance. Can Painter juggle it and, more importantly,
win enough to keep the big time recruit he got for 2021? 4*, and
reports are he could reach 5*, forward Caleb Furst committed for
2021, and was a huge get, but there’s plenty of time still before he
pens the paper to be a Boilermaker.