GoldandBlack.com Purdue Basketball Mailbag
Q: Which current player do foresee making the biggest jump between last year and this year?
A: The two obvious guys are Braden Smith and Fletcher Loyer, the combination of which should improve considerably with both experience and a real college basketball off-season, which Smith didn’t get last season. They both wore down late in the season and lost weight (when there wasn’t a hell of a lot to lose) so their collective conditioning is something to watch come next February and March.
Loyer is bound for big things, IMO, now that he has a season behind him and knows what defenses are going to do against him and acclimates to a world in which he’s open every now and then, but it’s Smith who could really take off from a productivity perspective next season.
Purdue’s going to push — demand, maybe — that Smith be more aggressive looking to score and likely build in even more ball-screen and guard-oriented stuff for the sake of balance, with Smith being at the forefront of that. I’m obviously writing this not knowing if Zach Edey will be on the team, but either way, I think Smith moves into a whole new level of responsibility and showed this year he can handle more.
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