Painter defends Purdue not paying for transfer Marcius’ summer classes
By Michael Osipoff email@example.com/@MichaelOsipoff April 23, 2013 6:52PM
Purdue forward Sandi Marcius grabs a rebound against Montevallo during their exhibition NCAA college basketball game, Tuesday, Oct. 30, 2012, in West Lafayette, Ind. (AP Photo/The Journal & Courier, Brent Drinkut) MANDATORY CREDIT; NO SALES
Updated: May 25, 2013 6:42AM
For the first time since Purdue’s season-ending loss to Santa Clara in the CBI quarterfinals on March 25, coach Matt Painter formally spoke with reporters. He answered questions on a wide array of subjects for more than 50 minutes on Tuesday.
The transfer of Sandi Marcius was a primary topic. The redshirt junior requested to be released from his scholarship, which Purdue granted. But the native of Croatia and LaLumiere product needs to complete two classes this summer — at a cost of about $7,000 — in order graduate, then enroll at another school for his fifth and final season of eligibility.
“He voluntary withdrew from our team, so that’s where it stands at this point,” said Painter, adding that he controls the roster and athletics director Morgan Burke handles the grants-in-aid. “He wants us to pay for school after the fact, which is something we haven’t done.”
Painter said the situation with John Hart, who transferred from Purdue to IUPUI after the 2011-12 season as a graduate student, was different. Hart didn’t “voluntarily” leave, he didn’t “quit” the team, Painter said; instead, the coach, the player and his family met the previous spring to discuss the options given Hart’s standing in the program. It then was mutually agreed upon that Hart would leave, Painter said, thus Purdue paid for his necessary summer coursework.
Painter reiterated that he wanted Marcius — who provided energy down the stretch this season, after a mostly up-and-down career — to stay with the program, and he expressed that sentiment when they talked on two or three occasions. He understood the big man’s frustration playing behind A.J. Hammons, given the talented freshman center’s inconsistent effort; and that he wasn’t happy, though unhappy players typically don’t perform well, which wasn’t the case with Marcius (another point Painter tried to make in conversations with him). But Painter had “big plans” for next season for the “tandem” of Marcius and Hammons.
Instead, Purdue gave Marcius his release — unconditional, with no restrictions or limitations, Painter noted.
Painter again wished Marcius nothing but the best.
“He’s a great guy, and hopefully he’ll be happy at his next school,” he said.
Among Tuesday’s other highlights:
Painter views this offseason as a vital one for Purdue to get back to its standards, both in terms of success (after having its streak of six straight NCAA tournament appearances snapped) and style (as far as such core values as work ethic and toughness, taking a “blue-collar” approach).
He said each player has to “take a hard look at himself,” and improve in various areas (including, but not limited to, decision-making, jump-shooting, free-throw shooting, defense) for individual and team reasons. The coaches have been “brutally honest” about what each player must do to “play big minutes” next season.
Academics obviously are important, but he also wants guys to “show us basketball is a big part of what they do,” and for some simply to “register on the give-a-damn meter.”
“We’re trying to get each one of them to understand that improvement comes from their hard work,” Painter said. “I like our talent, and I like our guys.
“I’ve always liked the talent we had, now we just have to develop as a group. We have to have a great summer so we can have a great winter.”
Painter believes the Boilermakers can learn from the struggles in their 16-18 season (also noting their 8-10 conference record was the same as two teams — Illinois and Minnesota — that each won a game in the NCAA tournament, though Purdue put itself in a poor position in the nonconference season). They still will be relatively young — with seniors Terone Johnson and Travis Carroll their only upperclassmen among their 10 current scholarship players, with a combined eight sophomores and freshmen — but this past season’s freshmen did gain beneficial experience, including three starters (Hammons, Ronnie Johnson and Rapheal Davis, who Painter described as a “breath of fresh air” with his work ethic), and they do have four returning starters overall (with Terone Johnson).
“We just need to see a difference in maturity and growing up, and being more accountable as a basketball player every day,” Painter said.
Painter expects all the incoming freshmen — Kendall Stephens, Bryson Scott and Basil Smotherman, as well as Jay Simpson (his redshirt paperwork was expected to be approved soon) — will play, and probably significant minutes. He said they are joining the program at “a perfect time for them,” considering the players who started last season haven’t done so on a consistent winner. Painter said the freshmen are “excited” about the opportunity, but the returnees have a “chip on their shoulder” after having met their teammates-to-be.
He said any player on the roster could potentially start. “I’m going to play the five guys who play the hardest,” he said.
Painter continues to praise Simpson, with his ability to dribble, pass and shoot at 6-foot-9 and 250 pounds. Painter said Simpson would be as good as any big guy in the Big Ten next season if it simply were a halfcourt game, but quipped he didn’t think the conference would let the Boilermakers play that way.
Painter said “the sky’s the limit” for Hammons, who just needs to gain consistency. He pointed out big guys, including JaJuan Johnson (who Painter said “became the best big man in college basketball” ) and Carl Landry, typically develop more slowly, and he tends to have “less patience” with guards.
Purdue has continued to recruit this spring with possibility of adding a player (or players) for next season (with an emphasis on “skill,” particularly shooters), but it would have to be the right fit. Painter said he was comfortable with having just the 10 current scholarship players going into 2013-14.
All of the current players were expected to remain on campus for Maymester, joined by the freshmen for summer school.