Thursday, May 31, 2012

Loyal Reader Update

Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend! 

I enjoyed a fantastic vacation at Kiawah Island filled with golf, sun, and beaches, however Kirk said I have to get back to work.  So here I am, back at, working 24/7 on our next Where Are They Now story (spoiler alert - this guy is still playing basketball professionally!).  Kirk is a tough boss, but I wore a white shirt today (a must after a beach vacation), so at least he's jealous of my awesome tan. 

Expect the next Where Are They Now to hit newsstands everywhere tomorrow, but in the meantime, I wanted to make sure our growing readership (over 6,000 hits in the first 2 months!) clears their calendars for tomorrow night.  That's right, Purdue baseball hosts Valparaiso at 8:00 pm in their first NCAA tournament game since 1987!  Unfortunately, the game is being held in Gary due to Purdue already having sold Lambert Field's bleachers while Alexander Field's bleachers are not quite ready. Luckily for those who have respiratory problems and can't be outside for more than an hour in Gary, the game (and all Purdue postseason games) will be televised live on BTN (yes, BTN does still have programming between March and August!).

The bleachers at Lambert are sold out - literally
Boiler Up tomorrow night and all weekend long as the Boilermakers begin their march to Omaha!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Boiler Briefs - Money Talks Edition

There's been a bit of general Purdue news the last few weeks that we haven't yet weighed in on, so here we go.  This week's theme is money:

  • I've really enjoyed what other writers have said here, here, and here about the cluelessness coming out of the Purdue athletic department regarding installing permanent lights at Ross-Ade.  The $1 or $2 million installation cost is acceptable when considering the life of the lights, local businesses would benefit, and the added exposure of more prime-time games should be a good thing (if you can win them).  And while I understand not wanting too many night games that make it hard on families travelling or with young kids, more 3:30pm or 4pm start times would make me weep with joy, and you need lights for those.  Week after week of noon starts is annoying for everyone involved.  Purdue also needs to keep pace with other BCS schools.  The majority of the Big Ten schools have lights on their stadiums, and almost every other major conference program (90%!) have lights.  This isn't Wrigley Field, and people aren't in the streets protesting to keep more day games, so get it done Purdue!
  • Speaking of spending money on athletics, check out this recent story in The USA Today.  Based on their database, Purdue is last in the Big Ten regarding athletic spending at $66.2 million  (Northwestern is excluded as they're private).  Purdue athletics were actually profitable, as were all Big Ten schools (although Minnesota broke even), assuredly thanks in large part to the Big Ten Network.  While some will read this report and merely be appalled by how little Purdue spends on athletics, I'm proud of the fact that we can field competitive teams, make a profit, and provide no university subsidy.  Our athletic department is fully self-funded, doesn't take money from the more important academic endeavors of the university, and still makes $3 million annually.  Seven Big Ten schools receive anywhere from $272,000 to $7.8 million in university subsidies.  For comparison, Indiana receives almost $3 million in school subsidies and wouldn't have been profitable without that margin.  Obviously football is king for athletic revenues, and powerhouses Michigan ($11 million) and Ohio State ($9 million) make the largest profit with little or no school subsidy.  We'd probably all like Purdue to spend more on sports and their facilities, but I don't want to see that happen at the sacrifice of our students and academics.
  • Next season's money-making ESPN Big Ten/ACC Challenge schedule is set, and the Boilers will head to Clemson on Wednesday, November 28th.  Hopefully the road game will be a good early season test and Purdue can make it four straight Challenge victories.
  • Yes, we missed out on Julius Mays, and that sucks.  I was trying to ignore posting about this since it just makes me angry.  Could we have used him?  Yes, and I told you many of the reasons why.  Do we need him? Probably.  Here's hoping Ronnie Johnson is the immediate point guard stud we think he can be.  It seems like Mays would have fit in well, but the siren song of Kentucky basketball and this money-loving class act caught him.  I wish Mays the best and hope he gets everything he wants out of that arrangement (playing time, national exposure, connections, money, etc.) to help make his NBA dreams come true.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Where Are They Now - Chris Lutz

The five months between Basketball and Football season can be kind of dull for Boilermaker fans.  Luckily for you, we're here to quench your thirst of all things Purdue by looking back at (and following up with) one of the worst teams in Purdue history - the 2005-2006 Men's Basketball team.

Past Where Are They Now Posts:
Part 1 - Matt Kiefer
Part 2 - Nate Minnoy
Part 3 - Korey Spates
Part 4 - Marcus White
We continue "Where Are They Now" with yet another player who showed skill on the court but had a much too short tenure in West Lafayette. However, unlike some of his predecessors in this series, it wasn't due to immaturity, health, or lack of focus.

Chris Lutz came to Purdue from Bedford, New Hampshire, via one year at prep school.  Lutz was his high school's all time points leader and a nominee for the 2003-2004 McDonald's All American game yet only boasted a two-star rating from Rivals.  In his freshman season, Lutz was pressed into service as the team's only outside threat due to David Teague's injury.  He started nearly every game logging big minutes and averaged 9.2 points per game, however Lutz had trouble finding his shot, making only 35% of his three point attempts (which were two thirds of the shots he took).  For comparison, Matt Kiefer shot 33% from three point range that season.

Despite those struggles, Lutz had a promising freshman year, although aided by the sheer number of minutes he was forced to play.  He was the second highest freshmen scorer in the Big Ten and was named to the conference's All-Freshman Team.  After firing up so many threes, he made 53, setting a Purdue freshman record (later topped by E'Twaun Moore's 66 in 2007).

Overall, it was a very nice season for a recruit that wasn't expected to have such an immediate impact. I remember working diligently to get my nickname for him, "Triple," to catch on.  Get it, because he makes threes and ice skating puns are cool.  (bonus points for the "cool" pun right there)

In his second season, however, Lutz really started to make opponents pay for leaving him open behind the arc.  He nailed an amazing 47% of his three point attempts, even surpassing his two-point shot average (ok, so he only took 20 two-point shots all season).  Can you say specialization?  The definite highlight of his season was scoring 16 points in Purdue's first round win in the NCAA Tournament against Arizona.  He hit his first four three-point attempts including three in the first ten minutes despite coming off the bench.  I don't think Purdue wins that game without him.

However, due to Teague's return and the hard work of freshman man-crush Chris Kramer, Lutz rarely started that season and saw his minutes and points per game decline.  This, combined with the incoming Baby Boilers class, caused Lutz to evaluate his situation and decide to transfer in search of more playing time.  The following season he figured to be stuck on the bench behind younger off-guards Kramer, Moore, and occasionally Keaton Grant when he wasn't playing point guard.

I can honestly say, this transfer decision bothered me more than any others of the previous five seasons.  Purdue had turned the corner from the "worst team ever" in 2005-2006 to a talented NCAA tournament team the following season.  Even though the Boilers were losing the incredibly talented Teague and Carl Landry to graduation, the incoming recruits were stellar, and lots of pieces seemed to be in place to give Matt Painter the arsenal he needed to make some noise in the conference.  A player who can shoot 47% from three point range could be used by any team, so it was hard to see Lutz take his skills elsewhere.  You can't blame him for wanting to be more than just a three point specialist though, and as you'll read later, he's continued to improve his all-around game.  I can't really complain with how the basketball team performed after Lutz's departure, but I still like to think he would have made us that much better if he had stayed in gold and black.

Lutz decided to transfer to Marshall, and after sitting out his mandatory year, he became the team's second leading scorer and top three point shooter despite a nagging hamstring injury.  His three point percentage fell back to 37% though, leading some to believe that his stellar sophomore season was more an aberration.  The highlight of his junior season was scoring 37 points against Tulane, including 34 points in the second half.  In his senior season, Lutz was named team captain and led the Herd in minutes played while increasing his three point efficiency to 42%. In 2010 he graduated college at the age of 25.

Fortunately, that isn't the end of the Chris Lutz basketball story!  Being Filipino-American, Lutz moved to Manila and joined the Philippine National Team, Smart Gilas.  Fun fact: at 6'4" (at Purdue he was listed as 6'3"), you're apparently a small forward in the Philippines.

Lutz has proven to be an integral part of the team, putting up 15 points and 10 rebounds in his first game November 25, 2010 against the basketball powerhouse of North Korea, but also scoring 12 points against far lesser teams like the US squad featuring Kobe Bryant, Kevin Durant, Derrick Rose, and Chris Paul.

After that great debut in the Philippines, Lutz entered the PBA draft (this one, not that one), was selected third overall, and began playing professionally last Fall for the Patron Blaze Boosters.  PBA basketball, where you see headlines like, "Petron Dumps Powerade," and it's referring to two sports teams.  Lutz is playing alongside former NBA player Eddie Basden and against other "imports" like Rashad McCants while averaging 17 points per game on 43% shooting (which aren't all three point attempts as he now has the skills to drive into the lane more). Just as Lutz's field goal percentage fluctuates yearly, so does his height; he's sometimes listed at 6'1" (the heat there must counterintuitively cause shrinkage).  I also find it interesting that Lutz has turned into a defensive stopper for his team, so maybe some of that Matt Painter coaching has paid off.

Check out Lutz getting the hero treatment in the Philippines:

It's great to see Chris Lutz having terrific success and still excelling at the sport he obviously loves.  I deeply wish we had the chance to enjoy his career a bit longer in West Lafayette, but it's refreshing to see a transfer really work out for a student athlete.  If you want to reconnect, you can find him on Facebook and Twitter (14,000 followers!).

Since we're working our way through the team in order of each player's points per game, I didn't realize going into this process that the first five posts would only feature one player who actually ended his collegiate career at Purdue. We knew this series would be depressing, but c'mon!  Stay tuned for our next installment though, because it features a big man who did actually exhaust his eligibility at Purdue, albeit in only two years.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Wait 'til next next next next year

With all the football talk about playoffs, Ohio State's annual violations, bowl eligibility, and the reinstatement of two key players for next year's Boilers, a quieter announcement from the Big Ten may have the most impact on for Purdue fans.

Today, the Big Ten announced the 2015 and 2016 schedules, and Purdue is the big winner!  The Boilermakers will miss Nebraska, Michigan, and Michigan State in those two years, meaning the crossover (non-division) games will be Minnesota, Northwestern, and Iowa.  Sure this is several years down the road, but coaches are currently recruiting for players that will be on these teams, and if any schedule is set up for a trip to the Big Ten Championship game, it would be this one.  Yes, Minnesota and Northwestern might turn around their teams by then, but if you had to pick the teams to play 4 years from now, wouldn't you pick those 3?

An excellent analysis of the full Big Ten schedule can be found here.  Meanwhile, make sure to get your tickets now for this year's Michigan/Purdue game on October 6th.  It will be the last time Purdue plays them until 2017.

Sept. 5 - at Marshall
Sept. 19 - NOTRE DAME
Oct. 3 - OHIO STATE*
Oct. 10 - Open
Oct. 17 - IOWA
Oct. 24 - at Penn State*
Oct. 31 - at Northwestern
Nov. 14 - at Wisconsin*
Nov. 21 - ILLINOIS*
Nov. 28 - at Indiana*
* denotes Leaders Division Game

Sept. 3 - at Cincinnati
TBA - at Notre Dame
Oct. 1 - at Ohio State*
Oct. 15 - at Iowa
Oct. 22 - PENN STATE*
Oct. 29 - Open
Nov. 12 - at Minnesota
Nov. 19 - at Illinois*
Nov. 26 - INDIANA*
* denotes Leaders Division Game

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Purdue Baseball Fever

While the rest of the Purdue blogosphere has lit up with posts on Purdue's historic baseball season, your highly-esteemed bloggers at have been silent.  Are they so busy researching their next Where Are They Now that they're stuck in 2006 and completely clueless as to what's going on right now?  Were they boycotting the blog since their exposé of the Marcus White coverup was somehow not picked up by TMZ or Deadspin (or GBI)?  Would they rather let everyone else report the facts and then piggyback off their coverage to share their meaningless opinions?  We'll let you decide.

For those with their head up their Bloomington this past week, the Purdue baseball team has clinched their first Big Ten Regular Season Championship since 1909.  It's an outstanding accomplishment and a great way to send Lambert Field out on top, as the new stadium will surely be ready by next year's opening day. 

This weekend's series against a mediocre Iowa team offers the Boilers a chance to clinch the Big Ten outright with a win or losses by Indiana and Penn State.  IU and PSU are both 3 games back with 3 to play, but only Indiana has a chance to wrestle away the Number 1 seed from Purdue in next week's Big Ten Tournament.  Even if both teams tie, Purdue will almost definitely win the tiebreaker unless Iowa somehow sneaks into the top 6 teams (they'd need a lot of help, even with a Purdue sweep).  Check out the tiebreaking procedures here and see if you can come up with another scenario where Purdue doesn't get the number one seed - I couldn't.  Interestingly, each Big Ten team plays 24 games, and yet due to the iconic 3-game series, Purdue and IU did not play each other.

That's a lot to digest for something that has less than a 5% chance of happening.  Assuming our Boilers take care of business, we need to address an important issue: This has been a great run and it's amazing to be excited about Purdue baseball approaching the end of May.  However, might this team be a bit overrated?

I know what you're thinking: "C'mon man, let's just enjoy the run!"  (In my head, all of our readers talk exactly like Chris Berman on Monday Night Countdown).  But then again, when you heard that Purdue lost at home to Michigan on Sunday and then squeaked by Indiana State at home in extra innings on Tuesday, didn't you wonder that same thing?  I know I did.

However, while the Michigan loss probably shouldn't have happened, Indiana State is a good baseball team.  A VERY good baseball team.  In fact, as Purdue secured their 40th win on Tuesday night, the Sycamores were already a 40-win team with wins against Missouri and Indiana and are currently top 25 in the nation in runs scored and ERA.   They are also 4th in the country in Hit By Pitches, meaning they all probably hit like Craig Biggio.

So no, I don't think Purdue is overrated.  Many Purdue fans who are just jumping on the baseball bandwagon may not think a win over Indiana State is anything to write home about, but believe me, this Purdue team can hang with any team in the country.  Still not sure?  Then let one of the top national college baseball bloggers try to convince you.

If you haven't seen this Purdue team play, make sure to check them out Friday night at 7:35 pm on Big Ten Network.  And don't forget to clear your calendars for next Thursday evening as Purdue starts their Big Ten Tournament run on the same channel.

Let's win this thing outright! Boiler Up! 

Friday, May 11, 2012

Where Are They Now - Marcus White

The five months between Basketball and Football season can be kind of dull for Boilermaker fans.  Luckily for you, we're here to quench your thirst of all things Purdue by looking back at (and following up with) one of the worst teams in Purdue history - the 2005-2006 Men's Basketball team.

Past Where Are They Now Posts:
Part 1 - Matt Kiefer
Part 2 - Nate Minnoy
Part 3 - Korey Spates
Korey Spates and Nate Minnoy may have answered our trivia question regarding freshmen who averaged double-digit points, however there was another newcomer to average more than 10 points per game for the 2005-06 Boilermakers.  Marcus White transferred in and immediately made an impact for Purdue.  However, just like Spates and Minnoy, White only lasted one season as a Boilermaker.  At the time, his departure from the team was universally accepted by Purdue fans. However, you’re going to be stunned when you find out what Marcus White has been up to since his year in West Lafayette.  This is Marcus White’s edition of the “Where Are They Now – Worst Year Ever” series...

Marcus White came out of Whitney Young HS (Chicago) in 2002 as a top-100 recruit for the UCONN Huskies (after decommitting from DePaul due to a coaching change). A prolific rebounder, White was second on the team in rebounding as a freshman and appeared to have a bright future ahead of him.  Unfortunately, his ‘03-‘04 season was derailed by a bulging disk in his back and he was forced to redshirt in UCONN’s National Championship season.   After undergoing surgery, White was not getting the playing time he was looking for in his sophomore year, as Charlie Villanueva and Josh Boone had established themselves as UCONN’s go-to big men. 
White (23) and Kiefer summing up the 2005-2006 season
White left UCONN in mid-December, and announced his intentions to transfer to Purdue in early January.  While his reason for transferring was never officially stated, it appears he was looking for more playing time and that there were no “Bo Ryan-esque” transfer issues on Jim Calhoun’s side.

White was eligible to play for Purdue beginning in December of 2005 and a month later took over a team that was decimated by injuries and other issues.  Carl Landry, David Teague, Nate Minnoy, and Korey Spates were all injured or kicked off the team by the end of January, allowing White to shine.  Beginning with the third game of the Big Ten season, Marcus scored double-digit points in 10 of his next 12 games and teamed up with Matt Kiefer in forcing opposing coaches to pack the paint.  Unfortunately, White’s back issues flared up again and he was forced to miss the last two games of the season.  

A few weeks after the season, news came out that Marcus White’s career was over due to his back issues. Matt Painter announced that while his career was over, Purdue would keep him on scholarship through the end of his senior year.  The story should have had a sad, but heartwarming ending…White finishes his Law and Society degree, gets a great job out of school, and reminisces about what could have been.  However, that's not even close to what happened.  Despite Purdue, Matt Painter, and Marcus White convincing nearly all fans to this day that White’s career was over (search on “white” to read the comments section of a recent post from another awesome Purdue blog), Marcus went on to play THREE years of professional basketball.
Instead of capitalizing on his opportunity for a free-ride in his senior year, White passed it up to play professionally in Lebanon for Antranik Beirut.  In his first and only season there, White really hit his stride and averaged 17.9 ppg and 13.9 rpg while playing in 17 games.  In addition to his offense, White was also named to the Lebanese Basketball League all-defensive team. A huge season less than nine months after leaving the Purdue basketball team due to a career-ending back injury!  

After a short Lebanese season, White was apparently healthy enough to join the Al Kahraba Electricity in Iraq.  The Iraqi Premier Basketball League may not have been great at keeping stats, although rumor has it there were a lot of sharpshooters in the league. This chilling article talks about life in the Iraqi league with player always under the threat of kidnapping.  I did enjoy the one line from the article though:
“In a country that is often without electricity, it seems ironic that a team would have just that word in its name.”
Apparently, White impressed enough people with his play that in November of 2007, Marcus White was taken in the third round of the NBA D-League draft by the Los Angeles D-Fenders.   White played 14 minutes off the bench in the team’s first game of the season in the Staples Center, but didn’t score a point before tearing the meniscus in his right knee.  3 days later, he was released from the team due to injury, and it appeared his 15 minutes of fame would come up 1 minute short.

Marcus White (22) in the D-League
However, White spent the next year in intensive rehab and eventually re-signed with the D-Fenders in December 2008.  He played in 9 games, including a dominant 20 point, 19 rebound performance against the Anaheim Arsenal.   Unfortunately, the injuries caught up with him and White was finally released for good on Febuary 3rd, 2009.

With White’s playing career finally over (three years after leaving Purdue due to a “career-ending” injury), Marcus moved back to Chicago.  According to his Facebook pages, he is now engaged and is working as a professional trainer.  Not quite sure why he has 2 different Facebook pages, but it appears one is very “business-like” while the other is much more party-focused.  Regardless, make sure to add him as your friend to find out more!

Unlike the prior two “Where Are They Now’s”, Marcus White doesn’t appear to have arrests on his record and has done pretty well for himself.  However, that doesn’t mean this story was without major controversy.  

What happened after the 2005-2006 season?  Did Painter kick White off the team?  Did White have an offer to play professionally and dupe the team into thinking he was permanently injured?  Did the coaching staff, worried about making room for incoming freshmen and big-time recruits Jonathan Uchendu and Dan Vandervieren, cover up the real reason he left?  And how have fans been duped this entire time?

With Gordon Watt, Carl Landry and the two big freshmen all battling for the 4 and 5 spots the following year, my best guess is that White decided to move on and that it was mutually decided to use the injury as the main excuse.  Regardless, it’s very suspicious that Purdue would offer White to keep his scholarship for his senior year, but not have him play on the team if they truly didn’t believe that he was injured. 

In the 2006-2007 season, Purdue made it to the second round of the NCAA tournament and nearly beat Florida, the eventual National Champions.  That same year, Marcus White played in Lebanon and averaged 18 points and 14 rebounds in what was supposed to be his senior year.  What if Marcus White had come back and brought that kind of production to Purdue?  A starting lineup of White, Landry, Teague, Chris Kramer, and Tarrance Crump could have done some major damage in March.

Do you have your own conspiracy theories?  What’s the real reason behind Marcus White leaving Purdue?  Leave your thoughts below, and check back throughout the summer as we continue our “Where Are They Now – 2005-2006 Season” series!

Monday, May 7, 2012

What a comeback!

The No. 11 Purdue baseball team appeared to be headed for a sweep at the hands of No. 14 UCLA.  Down 10-5 in the ninth inning of Game 3, Purdue incredibly rallied for TEN runs in the top of the 9th and held on for a stunning 15-11 victory!

Some amazing stats from Purdue's half of the 9th inning:
- Purdue scored 8 runs with 2 outs.
- Purdue did not have a single multi-run at-bat in the 9th; that means there were TEN different at-bats with an RBI.
- The first 5 batters in the inning did not put a ball in play.  4 walks and a strikeout started the inning - any baseball fan will tell you that walks are the worst thing you can do as a pitcher with a 5-run lead (just ask Carlos Marmol). 
- The last run scored on a double.  That was the ONLY extra-base hit of the inning.  I watch a lot of baseball, and can't remember a team scoring 9 runs in an inning without an extra-base hit.
- Scott Griggs, UCLA's closer who opened the 9th, gave up the 4 walks and got the strikeout.  Southpaw Grant Watson, who relieved Griggs, then proceeded to give up 6 singles and a sacrifice fly.  Watson faced 7 batters and EVERY batter got an RBI.

While Purdue is considered a lock for the NCAA tournament, this win could help Purdue in it's quest to be a number one seed.  A one-series west coast trip against a top team is tough for any ballclub, regardless of level, and getting swept on the road wouldn't have been that big of a deal (this isn't football where a three-game losing streak sends fans to the Big Ten Network alternate channels to watch IU get blown out just so we can feel a little better about ourselves).  However, this win adds another notch to the belt and can get this team believing again that they can beat anyone.

Start paying attention folks.  Purdue should be playing in the postseason for the first time since 1987, and is on the verge of their first Big Ten Title since 1909. 

If you're in town this weekend, make sure to support the Boilers in their last home series of the year.  And if not, check out the Boilers on BTN at noon on Saturday as they take Michigan.

Boiler Up!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hoping for Julius Mays

With two open scholarship slots left to fill for the upcoming season, after the departures of Barlow and Hart, but no available scholarships the following season, I, like most fans, am strongly hoping that Painter works his magic to lure a talented 5th-year-senior transfer.  There's potential to sign a veteran impact player, with the only real risk being team chemistry, something Painter shows he cares a lot about.  So I trust that he won't simply offer anyone just for the extra warm body.  The team also could use another guard, preferably a point guard that can help split time with freshman Ronnie Johnson, and a point with experience could do wonders for RJ.  This would also allow brother Terone to play his more natural position as the off guard, so that he didn't have to split time at the point, and possibly freeing up the rotation for more minutes of an RJ/TJ back court.  Just something about two brothers who know each others' games so well playing together is exciting.

Therefore, I get excited at the prospect of Julius Mays transferring to Purdue.  Mays is leaving Wright State after one season, where he averaged 14.1 points and 2.5 assists (while being nominated for the Geico play of the year for a cool buzzer beater).  He was named the Horizon League Newcomer of the Year and second-team all conference.  Mays previously attended North Carolina State as a 3-star recruit for two years before transferring to Wright State to get more playing time.  Purdue showed interest when Mays was in high school but never made an offer to the Marion, IN native.  Because he's graduating, Mays can play next season without sitting out a year.

There's no word yet on if Painter has made an offer, but given Mays's ties to Indiana, the ability to come in and have playing time at a competitive big-conference program, and the need at point guard, I really hope we can land him.  From what I've read, Mays is a hard worker and a high character individual, so I'd expect him to fit in well with the rest of the team.

Reasons I want Mays:

  • Veteran with point guard experience
  • Only costs Purdue 1 year of scholarship
  • Lets Terone play more two-guard next season
  • Gives Ronnie someone to push him in practice
  • Ability to score and get to the line (4.8 FT attempt avg. and 14.1 pts/gm on less than 10 shots/gm)
  • Shoots his free throws well (83.2%)
  • Can still rebound for a guard (2.8/gm, although Lew Jack at 5'9" had over 3 per game)
  • Shoots the three well (42.4%)
  • Willing to play defense (led his team in steals)
  • Got to appreciate a guy who graduates in four years, despite transferring schools
Reasons I don't want Mays:
  • Um...Bueller...Bueller...?  Seriously though, I obviously trust Painter's judgment and hope that he's hot on the trail so that once Mays graduates in early June, he can officially announce he's becoming a Boilermaker.  I'm not sure what other great 5th-year options are out there, but this seems like a great fit regardless (and we technically can still add another transfer).

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Unlucky Knees

Our plan is to keep this blog Purdue-focused, and in that vein, I feel it appropriate to spend some time moping about another team I follow through the lens of a Boilermaker.

As a life-long Purdue fan, I know we aren't spoiled; we're resilient, probably a bit pessimistic or bi-polar, and proud of our school for more reasons than just sports.  The last few years have showcased a lot of highs and a lot of lows - with some of the lowest points coming at the result of injury.

It's been written (literally) ad nauseam, but recent and current Purdue players don't have the best luck with their ACLs.  In the last five years the list of high-profile athletes missing time with torn ACLs includes:

  • Football: Robert Mavre (twice), Rob Henry, Ralph Bolden, Keith Smith, and Jaycen Taylor
  • Basketball: Robbie Hummel (twice), Drey Mingo, KK Houser, Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton
  • Volleyball: Anna Drewry

There are probably more I forgot, too.  So why am I lamenting these past injuries?  Because of this. Now, I'm not nearly as big a fan of the NBA as I am of college basketball, but I have great love for the Chicago teams I grew up rooting for (and teams featuring studly Purdue alumni).  I understand any detractors who don't approve of how Derrick Rose handled his brief stint as a "student athlete," but as a professional (and young kid at that), he has been nothing but a exemplary player and leader while showing high levels of character and integrity.  So to see the former MVP go down in the playoffs, after a year of nagging injuries, on the best team in basketball, it just sucks.  It really, really sucks.

Purdue fans have learned class from the rash of injuries; we feel for even our most hated rivals when a player gets hurt (even if he really dislikes us).  I'm sure this isn't the case in the realm of professional sports, where we can attack millionaire adults as opposed to kids, but I hope people feel for Rose like I do.  At the least because you hate the Heat and are rooting for anyone else to beat them.  The Bulls still have a shot though, and the Boilermaker in me knows we love the role of underdog.