Osipoff: Boilers turn attention to bowl bid
By Michael Osipoff firstname.lastname@example.org | 648-3137 November 28, 2011 11:10PM
High Point guard Nick Barbour, center has his shot blocked by Purdue forward Jacob Lawson (34) as guard Ryne Smith helps on defense during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game in West Lafayette, Ind., Monday, Nov. 14, 2011. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Updated: December 30, 2011 8:21AM
After reclaiming the Old Oaken Bucket and gaining bowl-eligibility for the first time since 2007, the Purdue football team was not scheduled to practice until this coming Sunday as it awaits its postseason fate. The Boilermakers had a meeting this past Sunday, and the coaches were expected to be on the road recruiting this week.
Coach Danny Hope on Sunday generally deferred on discussing his contract status, after Purdue defeated Indiana on Saturday. But when asked if he thought he deserved an extension based on his three seasons leading the Boilermakers, he said, “I certainly do.”
Hope’s contract runs through the 2014 season, and a school having at least a four-year deal in place with its coach is typical for recruiting purposes. He referenced his contract being “up for negotiation in December.”
Also on Sunday, Hope said he did not have an official word on the extent of Ralph Bolden’s right knee injury. It has been suspected that the running back tore his ACL against the Hoosiers. If so, it would be the third time Bolden has suffered that injury to that knee; he did it in spring practice in 2010, forcing him to miss last season, after he also did it in high school.
The Purdue basketball team’s defense was largely exposed during its trip to the Puerto Rico Invitational, though the Boilermakers appear to have made strides since returning against lesser opponents.
Still, Miami, their opponent in Tuesday night’s Big Ten/ACC Challenge game, should provide a stiff test, particularly in terms of containing dribble penetration.
“I think this is a great challenge,” Purdue coach Matt Painter said on Monday. “We have struggled in that area. We used to get into people and pressure. We do have individuals on our team that are capable of doing it. I just don’t think they’re fully concentrating from that standpoint. We’re not in a good place right now. We need to take more pride in our one-on-one defense, we need to take more pride in trying to stop people. There’s just too many direct drives in the games we’ve played so far.
“We have to step up as a team and do a better job, and just take pride in our defense.”
At one point not all that long ago, Jacob Lawson appeared on the verge on redshirting. Now, the 6-foot-8 freshman has emerged as a key part of Purdue’s three-headed committee at center that also includes Sandi Marcius and Travis Carroll. In fact, Lawson right now could be the Boilermakers’ best option at the position, particularly depending on the matchup.
“With his athleticism and ability to be quick to the basketball, he really helps our team, because we don’t have another guy like him,” said Painter, also praising his overall talent.
“He has to continue to learn the game and be engaged at all times. He needs to be engaged at all times and know what’s going on, and be in a stance and be ready. He is going to make good plays, he has very good basketball instincts.”
Painter added that Donnie Hale, with his length and athleticism, most closely resembles Lawson’s skill set among the players on Purdue’s roster. Hale, another 6-8 freshman, is the one redshirting because of a numbers crunch in the frontcourt.
JaJuan Johnson was expected to be in attendance at the game against Miami, as he will be honored with the formal dedication of his banner in the Mackey Arena rafters.
First-round draft pick Johnson, in line to join the Boston Celtics with the end of the NBA lockout, had his name and number raised in recognition of his performance as a senior with the Boilermakers last season. He was a first-team All-American, and was both the Big Ten Player of the Year and Defensive Player of the Year. He led the conference in both scoring (20.7 points per game) and blocked shots (2.5 per game).
Johnson graduated from Purdue second in program history in blocked shots (263), third in minutes played (3,856), fourth in games started (120), tied for first in games played (with E’Twaun Moore at 140), fifth in rebounds (854) and seventh in scoring (1,919).
Moore, the East Chicago Central grad who has been playing in Italy during the lockout and was the Celtics’ second-round pick, also has a banner at Mackey.
The 2,000-point scorer graduated third on the Boilermakers’ career list (2,136) , and first in starts (136) and minutes (4,517).