Matt Painter, Danny Hope lead annual Purdue Coaches Caravan
By Michael Osipoff 648-3137 or firstname.lastname@example.org June 18, 2012 11:24PM
Purdue head football coach Danny Hope listens to a reporter's question before the start of the Purdue Coaches Caravan Monday evening at the Radisson Star Plaza in Merrillville. | Jeffrey D. Nicholls~Sun-Times Media
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Updated: July 20, 2012 6:25AM
MERRILLVILLE — As of this past Friday, Division I men’s basketball coaches have been able to make unlimited calls and send unlimited texts — the latter which previously had been banned entirely — to prospects who have completed their sophomore year in high school.
The new rules enacted by the NCAA, which include allowing coaches to send private messages to potential players via social media such as Facebook and Twitter, could dramatically alter the landscape of recruiting.
“They (the NCAA) had a tough time with people who weren’t doing what they were supposed to do,” Matt Painter said on Monday night as the Purdue Coaches Caravan made a stop at the Radisson, hosted by the Purdue Alumni Club of Northwest Indiana. “I think they had a tough time monitoring, they didn’t have enough manpower to do it, so they just eliminated all that. I think in time, the right answer comes out. For me to project what’s right really doesn’t matter.
“We’ll see if it’s too much of a burden for the student-athlete. I think it helps us, because now we have accessibility, we can locate them, we can get to them, we can text them, we can call them. But is it going to be too much? A lot of the rules are us overdoing things. So now, some kid’s getting 30 texts from one coach each day, getting five phone calls. If that ends up being too much for a kid, he’s going to shut his phone off. I think the NCAA will come back here in a year or two and try to get things figured out. Time will tell.”
One thing that Painter won’t change is his straightforward approach in dealing with recruits.
“I always tell them, I tell each kid that I talk to, we’re not going to wear you out. But we want to make sure we stay up with the Joneses,” he said. “You should know that we want you. But you’re always on different grounds with different kids — there’s a kid that you’ve offered, there’s a kid that you’re close to offering, and there’s another guy you haven’t quite seen enough that you’re waiting to evaluate more to get it figured out. I just try to be direct with each guy where they are, and just try to go from there.
“You’re building a relationship. The best way to handle it is to be honest with him. You see players you like, but you might not see him against quality competition. I’ve seen you dominate, but I haven’t seen you dominate against another Division I guy. I want to see you in AAU. We’ve had scenarios like that. So you just try to be honest. If your honesty turns them off, then so be it. The last thing, if you get a kid and you told him the truth all the way through, they’re really going to respect that and it helps your relationship.”
With the composition of their roster — including four highly regarded freshmen in point guard Ronnie Johnson, swingman Rapheal Davis, center A.J. Hammons, and forward Jay Simpson — the Boilermakers’ Aug. 7 to 17 trip to Italy could not have come at a better time for them.
“It just worked out,” said Painter, whose team has made six straight NCAA Tournament appearances. “We went to Australia four years ago. It’s very ironic that now freshmen can play, and it’s the first year they can do it, and we go on this trip. It worked out perfect for us.
“Obviously, 10 practices (leading up to the trip), the young guys being able play, a new team being able to gel and get together. You’re going to have issues, you’re going to have problems, like on every team, and now you can work through some things. From a defensive standpoint, we have a lot of size on our team, but we have a lot of unproven size. So we’re going to see who’s going to step up and play, and help us especially on that back line.”
Football coach Danny Hope understandably praised Kawann Short, the East Chicago Central graduate who returned to Purdue for his senior season.
The All-Big Ten first-team defensive tackle and All-American candidate has been widely projected as a first-round pick in the 2013 NFL Draft. Short had received feedback from the NFL Draft Advisory Board that he likely would have been a third-round pick had he declared after his junior season. Hope said Short not only could be a first-rounder this time around, but he could play his way into the upper half of the first round if he has the type of season he is capable of having.
Hope said Short has continued to get into better shape, has improved his stamina to play at a high level more consistently, and could prove to be one of the nation’s most dominant defensive players.
Short also is scheduled to graduate in December.
The quarterback spot for the Boilermakers remains a hot topic, though Hope really has not deviated from his position. Caleb TerBush, a rising senior, started all 13 games last season; Robert Marve played a significant amount last season, as he recovered from the torn ACL he suffered in the fourth game in 2010 after he had started each of those four games that season (the NCAA granted him a sixth season of eligibility); and Rob Henry ended the 2010 season as the starter, before he tore his ACL in preseason practice last season.
“We’ll go into the season penciled in on the depth chart with TerBush at one, and Marve at No. 2, and Henry at No. 3,” said Hope, who in his third season took the Boilermakers to his first bowl game, a win against Western Michigan in the Little Caesars Pizza Bowl to finish with a 7-6 record. “They’ll compete through camp, and then we’ll continue the competition throughout the course of the season, with more than one guy playing in the games.
“We’re in a good situation where we have some experienced, winning quarterbacks coming back, guys that have played. This is the first time since I’ve been coaching Purdue that I’ve had an experienced quarterback coming back that’s healthy and ready to play. So that’s a good problem for a coach, and it’s an excellent situation for our football team.”