Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Preview: Purdue vs. Eastern Kentucky - September 1st - 3:30 pm

Football season starts this week, and no two groups of people are more excited for something new to watch than Cubs fans and Indians fans!

Kirk and I held the first ever retreat in Cincinnati two weeks ago using the money we've made from our very wealthy sponsors.  Unfortunately, companies like Google, Hilton and The Wynn Las Vegas feel that our site has not given them enough business and wait to credit us even a dollar until the entire population of the US views Plus, nobody clicks on our ads, so we don't get to capitalize on the big moneymaker. Not that I blame anyone. I'm guessing I was in fifth grade when I last clicked an ad.  It surely had a Victoria's Secret model on it.

Anyway, due to our lack of funds from the site, our retreat consisted of two nights in a suburban Cincinnati WalMart parking lot.  Luckily for us, John McEnroe was also staying there. After getting into an argument about who gets to use the trash can for a urinal, we relented when John offered us his tickets to the 2012 Western & Southern Open!  We were on ESPN more often than the Paint Crew guy with the hair and the weird dance moves and had an amazing time.

Kirk and Erik at the retreat

The point of the retreat was to map out plans for the upcoming football season - Previews, Recaps, etc.  Instead we spent it mesmerized by the best tennis players in the world.  I am dead serious that when we left Cincinnati to head our separate ways on Sunday morning, we both looked at each other and said, "Damn, we forgot to talk about the blog!"

So, instead we're going to wing it with a template I'm coming up with right now.  Each preview will start with some rambling that may or may not have anything to do with the upcoming week's game.  This will be the freestyle portion and likely the only part my wife will read.  The rest will fit into a nice little template that will leave you yearning for more.  We know we can't provide all the info that the other guys provide.  What we hope to provide are those one or two nuggets that you can use with your friends to REALLY impress them on gameday.  For you people, you might as well skip the freestyle section.  Our lame attempts at humor will only fill you up like when Joey Chestnut goes to the ballgame and has to pass on nachos.  He KNOWS nachos are amazing (especially with double cheese), but he can't afford to waste any room in his stomach for non-hot dog awesomeness.

So, now that I've lost anyone actually looking for a preview of this week's game, here's what you need to know about this Saturday's game at Ross-Ade Stadium...

Why Purdue wins
Eastern Kentucky is an FCS school!  Purdue has 3 times the talent, 3 times the depth, and 3 times the quarterbacks.  The offense should have a field day as Akeem Shavers goes for big yards and Caleb TerBush and Robert Marve do everything except settle the debate as to who should be the starter.  The huge question surrounds Rob Henry's role.  Does Purdue try to get him involved with the offense or do they avoid tipping their hat as they head to Notre Dame (for a much more winnable game than originally thought) the following week?  It probably depends how close the game ends up being.

Why Eastern Kentucky wins 
Loyal readers of this blog know that I'm scared to death of Eastern Kentucky (the true preview of Eastern Kentucky is at that link). To sum it up, Eastern Kentucky has one of the top FCS defenses and one of the best running backs in the entire country.  Purdue is likely to be trying out new things with the quarterbacks on offense and has really struggled with run defense in the last several years.  I appear to be the only Purdue fan who doesn't think we'll destroy them, and I honestly think this is going to be a tight ballgame.  If Purdue starts turning the ball over to Eastern Kentucky's high-powered offense, be prepared for some angry Purdue fans.  This team is much better than Rice was last year.

Player we're most concerned about since their stock photo may break our tv

Kevin Hamlin has this Carrot Top/Sideshow Bob thing going on, and he also has the skill set for a feature second-half BTN montage.  Hamlin is a starting linebacker for the Colonels and has a chance at all-conference honors this year.  Let's hope TerBush/Marve/Henry can keep it away from him and his ridiculous hair so we don't have to see any closeups of that mug.

As an aside, my wife thinks he looks like Prince William trying out for a part in the Lion King.

Picks of the week
Kirk and I feel we know Purdue better than Vegas knows Purdue.  Therefore, we'll each make an imaginary bet based on the the spread and see whether we should move to Vegas full-time.  Unfortunately, there are no odds posted against FCS schools, so we'll make up an imaginary, reasonable spread of Purdue (-21). This week, Kirk and I will be betting the value of the most expensive beer we purchased in the prior week.

Erik's Bet
I am betting $8 in honor of a bottle of Dos Equis that I had on a rooftop bar in New York City.  That was the biggest ripoff ever, but at least the views were nice!

I will take Eastern Kentucky with the points.  While I think Purdue will squeak this one out, it won't be a blowout like everyone thinks it is.  Remember, I told you about this back in April Purdue 31 - Eastern Kentucky 30

Kirk's Bet
Kirk will be betting $10 in honor of one of two beers on the week.  Either the Heineken he had at the US Open (in a commemorative cup at least!) or Gina, a Thyme Pale Ale on cask at Eataly's beer garden in New York City.  It's "a traditional American Pale Ale with fresh thyme from the hills of Borgorose, Italy."

Kirk will also take Eastern Kentucky with the points.  There are three takeaways here - (1) Don't go to New York if you want to get a cheap drink, (2) Kirk and I were in NYC for completely separate reasons - no we don't travel together every weekend, and  (3) This weekend's game will be closer than most people think.  Purdue 27 - Eastern Kentucky 14

Three Final Things
- With Dwayne Beckford's run in with the law (yet again), the rest of the defense will need to step it up against a very good FCS team.

- Don't forget about the new rules this year - especially on kickoffs!

- Boiler up!

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Where Are They Now - Chris Hartley

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
Part 5 - Chris Lutz
Part 6 - Gary Ware
Part 7 - Bryant Dillon
Part 8 - Marcus Green
Part 9 - Bobby Riddell

As we approach the end of our 2005-06 Where Are They Now series, we fully expected the last few guys to be people that we barely remembered.  After all, with 11 players on the roster after December 3rd, that means "Part 10" would focus on the second lowest scorer on the team.  Yet somehow, this Where Are They Now edition features one of only 5 players to appear in every game that season and someone who STARTED 14 of the 28 games that year.   The exclusive Where Are They Now series continues with part 10 - Chris Hartley.

Chris Hartley graduated from Noblesville High School in 2002 as an all-state honorable mention, and decided to walk-on for Gene Keady rather than chase a scholarship from a lower-tier Division 1 or Division 2 school.  Known for his work ethic, Hartley was the kind of player Keady loved and was expected to push the rest of the team in practice.

Hartley redshirted his freshman year and subsequently played the "last man on the bench" role in the 2003-04 season.  He did score one basket in his 9 total minutes of play that year, however nobody expected much from the guy who played 20% of the minutes Kevin Garrity received in the same year.

The following season amazingly brought a much bigger role for the walk-on, as he played in 18 games and actually started 4 of them.  The 2004-05 team had their own struggles (remember, tight end Charles Davis had to be recruited to help fill a roster spot), so nobody expected Chris to have much of a role the following year with a high-powered freshman recruiting class coming in.

Remarkably, Coach Painter had other plans.  Hartley played in all 28 games, starting in 14 of them.  In fact, only Matt Kiefer, Bryant Dillon, and Chris Lutz had more starts during the 2005-06 season.  Unfortunately, Chris really struggled from the offensive end and only averaged 1.8 points in nearly 16 minutes per game.

Fans were split into two camps - one group loved his effort, while the other group couldn't stand his wide-open air balls from 3-point range.  But both groups could agree on one thing - he was living a dream that all of them wish they could live. In warmups, Hartley drained everything.  However it seemed like whenever the pressure was on, Chris became that fan who desperately wanted to be the hero and would get so amped up that his shot would go long by 3 feet.  Many fans connected with him, as they'd done this same exact thing while playing intramurals.  This was truly a guy the Paint Crew could get behind because they saw a little bit of him in themselves.

The return of David Teague, along with the emergence of Chris Kramer and Keaton Grant, relegated Hartley back to the bench during his senior year.  Hartley only made one field goal in his 47 minutes of play that year, resulting in a career bell curve rarely seen in the college game.

Chris graduated from the Krannert School of Management in 2007 and became a Global Management and Technology Consultant for Accenture.  Hartley spent nearly 5 years there before settling down in San Francisco as an Advertising Manager for eBay.

It appears that Chris is enjoying a successful career in San Francisco, however one thing may surprise you - he REALLY grew out his hair.  I was shocked when I saw a recent picture of him, as I'll always remember him with his clean-cut hair with enough gel in it to make Tim Doyle jealous.  I mean, this guy got several votes in a message board discussion regarding the "2005 College Hoops Eye Candy All-Americans".  What would these people think of him now?  Just take a look at some recent pictures posted on his Lockerz account:



Wait, that looks like someone I recognize.  Is Chris Hartley really outspoken Cleveland Indians closer, Chris Perez?

Regardless of the new haircut, we can be proud of a former Boilermaker successfully representing Purdue in San Francisco.  Feel free to follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn and let him know how much you enjoyed his time in West Lafayette!

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Boudia Wins Gold!

As the headline exclaims, it was gold today for a guy who proudly sports the gold and black!

I've never had so much fun following a sporting event via updates on my phone, constantly refreshing the screen to see how Boilermaker David Boudia was doing in the 10m platform diving final today.  Thanks NBC for waiting until 8pm to televise something you could have easily shown live on one of your 5 networks.

After barely making it through the qualifying round on Friday, placing 18th and taking the last spot in, Boudia placed third in the semifinal this morning behind the two star Chinese divers.  That meant he dove third from last in the final this afternoon.

After four rounds Boudia had a narrow lead, but after Brit Tom Daley scored over 100 points with his fifth dive and one of the Chinese divers (Lin) had a horrible dive, it was down to three men for the top three spots in a virtual three-way tie, with one dive to go.

Boudia brought out the big guns and scored an astonishing 102.60 on a back 2 1/2 somersault 2 twist maneuver to take the lead and then had to wait to see if China's Qiu could top it.  Qiu performed another fantastic dive, but only scored 100.80 and Boudia could celebrate his victory.

Boudia can add the individual gold to his bronze in the synchronized event.  What a performance!  Not only is Boilermaker country proud, but the entire nation as well.

Friday, August 10, 2012

How is Danny Hope Viewed Around the Big Ten?

I think all Purdue fans will agree that Danny Hope isn't considered an "elite" Big Ten coach.  Heck, we all might agree that he's the least "elite" coach in the conference. Wins and losses aside, he doesn't have the pedigree, track record, or name recognition of the Urban Meyer, Kirk Ferentz, and Bret Bielema set.  Those coaches have made their name on the field and recruiting trail, and they demand the high salary that comes with that reputation.  Such salary I doubt Purdue shells out for a football coach anytime in the next decade.

But that's what Purdue fans are used to.  Joe Tiller wasn't some big name hire when he came aboard the train and led the team to a string of bowl games and a conference title.  Still, Joe had a lot of respect from players during his glory days, and I'm sure that made recruiting easier.  Much of that came from winning and turning out some nice NFL talent.  Without the same wins, I'm not sure what level of respect Hope has, even though I think he's a fantastic person* and a coach I'd be more than satisfied to play for (as a kicker I suppose, given my physique).

ESPN Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg recently did a series highlighting poll results from anonymous players across the conference.  He featured questions like the toughest stadium to play in, dirtiest player, and what would you do if you were at Penn State right now.  The other questions he asked centered around conference coaches, namely which one would you want to play for and not want to play for.

Let's first acknowledge that Rittenberg's poll is not the pinnacle of scientifically conducted, unbiased, statistically significant polling.  He only surveyed 28 players from 11 conference teams (he excluded Penn State), and some of those polled were unwilling to answer certain questions even with promised anonymity.  We don't even know if there were at least two players surveyed per school, so this could have been one guy each from Purdue, Illinois, Indiana, and Minnesota, and 3 players from the other schools.  It's especially interesting that he was able to conduct the poll with help from writers covering Michigan and Ohio State, so I'm guessing there was a higher inclusion of players in those programs.

But back to the results and what they may mean.  When asked "Which Big Ten coach would you least like to play for," Danny Hope received the most votes with four.  That's not a good thing, but let's assess if it's a bad thing.

Hope tied with Wisconsin's Bielema, who also had four votes.  Wisconsin is a top notch program, so clearly that's a critique on Bielema's coaching style or personality and not the quality of football coming out of Madison.  For Hope, I can't claim the same is true.  Hope even had one more vote than Indiana's Kevin Wilson, so if we're looking at players evaluating the school as much as the coach, that's pretty sad.  Sure Kevin Wilson brings a little more "flair" and name to the program, but even IU fanboys agree - they are awful at football, having gone winless against FBS competition last year, and they haven't had a winning season since 1994.

So Hope isn't respected by some of the Big Ten players polled, and Purdue isn't either.  Rittenberg provided only one quote from a player voting for Hope, and that was, "I really wouldn't want to play there."  Ouch, that stings.  Aversion to playing football at Purdue could be due to a lot of things, but it's odd someone would have such a distaste for it to rank a coach based on that.  Again, this is a small sample size overall and just one anecdote, but it sure doesn't help the reputation of the Boilermaker program.

While PR like this surely doesn't help, one thing that I always find important with Purdue teams is having the right guys on board, and that means guys who want to be Boilermakers.  Some of the past football and basketball team's biggest failures have come when the individual players, despite their athletic abilities, aren't excited to spend four years at Purdue.  So just because one player said he would never want to play at Purdue (or possibly for Hope), who cares?  Hope has shown an improvement in recruiting, and it seems like the current players really like him.  Neither of those things are as important as wins (although there are many, many things more important, just ask Penn State), so production on the field this year is going to be critical to Hope's future.

Maybe if we can get a survey with a sample size larger than two percent of all Big Ten football rosters we could learn something, but until then, take this all with a boulder of salt.  If one in six players really ranks Hope the worst coach, or Purdue the worst place to play, I think we'd be even worse off than these guys.

Also, I look forward to the next installment of the survey: "Which coach has the best mustache?"  I know Hope's running away with that one in a landslide.  Priorities people.

* Full disclosure: I've had the privilege to spend some quality one-on-one time chatting with Hope, and I love when people associated with Purdue are genuinely kind, friendly, and generous people.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Another Boilermaker Bronze

If David Boudia's bronze medal in synchronized diving warrants a post, you better believe another Boilermaker alum winning bronze does, too.  Former soccer star Lauren Sesselmann (2005) and the Canadian women's soccer team won against France today 1-0, and even though she's playing for Canada (acquiring citizenship in 2010 through her father), we're still quite proud.  Especially since the US women's team beat Canada to get to the gold medal game (which SPOILER ALERT, they won today 2-1 over Japan).  If Canada had topped the US in the semi-final, it would have been a lot harder to write a celebratory post for Sesselmann.

She played the entire match for five of the team's six games as a defender, helping them post three shutouts, including in the bronze-medal game. Consider me impressed.  You can read some posts she wrote for the soccer blog Pitchside Report, that give you a little background on what she's been up to since graduating and her time with the Canadian team.  Congrats Lauren!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Team Scrimmage Recap

After the warm-up act, the headlining band took the stage.  Everyone at Mackey was really excited to see this year's team and the new crop of freshmen.  You could tell because people didn't leave after sitting in 100+ degree heat during the alumni game, and more people showed up in the lower expensive* seats. (*all lower bowl seats were $10, including the gold club seats and courtside tables.  We hoi polloi can't get too comfortable down there though.)

The scrimmage had three periods, each of which switched up the teams.  The first scrimmage pitted the seniors in black (DJ Byrd and Dru Anthrop) and the true freshmen (Ronnie Johnson, AJ Hammons, and Rapheal Davis) against the rest of the team in gold.  Jay Simpson didn't play in order to heal his broken foot.  That's a shame since he'll miss the extra practice playing in Italy, and we already have a lot of depth in the front court.

Right off the bat, I felt like the black team would dominate, and they did the majority of the time.  The talent level of these freshmen, paired with Byrd's shooting and leadership, was fun to watch.  The older Johnsons did the most work for the gold team, but Sandi Marcius showed that he's continued his development from his late-season success.

During the scrimmages, the assistant coaches worked from the bench, while Painter stood in the corner yelling instructions and walking onto the court for some teachable moments.  I was fortunate to be sitting right next to him during the first scrimmage. Some of the things he said were quite hilarious, like chastising poor shot selection or the heat, but he spent a lot of time making sure guys knew where to be, and commending them for good passes or defense.  I was especially impressed with how much time Painter spent with Ronnie.**  You can tell that Painter not only sees a world of potential in the freshman point guard, but also that he recognizes how fast his learning curve needs to be if the team is to have a successful season. (**I've decided all Johnsons will be referred to by their first name, as will Rapheal, because his first name is way cooler than "Davis")

For the gold team, Terone ran the point, but throughout the afternoon we saw Anthony and Anthrop also bring the ball up the court (in addition to Ronnie).  Rapheal started off defending the point, which was the first unexpected thing involving him.  The second was that I learned his name is pronounced "Ray-feel."  You could have given me ten guesses and that wouldn't have been one of them.

It's hard to evaluate too much from the scrimmage, which featured some sloppy offensive play, as the team is still learning, but I'll do my best to highlight the larger takeaways.

Overall strengths:
  • Depth down low: We all knew coming in that the team boasted more bigs than guards, a rarity for recent Purdue teams. But just having more guys doesn't equal quality.  After watching the scrimmage though, I'm very excited about the skills, athleticism, and match-up problems our post players possess.
    • Marcius has come a long way and played with more aggressiveness and confidence than I've seen.
    • Hammons is going to be a force and definitely didn't have effort problems.  His size in the paint causes a lot of problems defensively, and he showed huge range, hitting a three and long two.
    • Jacob Lawson was also a bit improved.  His athleticism is off the charts, as he'd leap into the air for blocks and rebounds.  He still needs to play smarter, but improvement is nice.
    • Travis Carroll, Donnie Hale, and Jay Simpson will all have their chance to earn more playing time, too.  I hope Simpson can move ahead of Carroll and Hale once he is healthy.
  • Rebounding: The team's size and athleticism should hopefully result in fewer games where they are out-rebounded.  Fewer second chance points for the opponent is always a good thing, and our offense could definitely use some easy put-backs.
  • Ability to get to the basket: Ronnie, Rapheal, Terone, and Anthony all have the ability to get to the rim quickly and in traffic.  Hopefully when they do they can make a clean basket, because the first weakness listed below will be killer otherwise.
  • Hustle: I think this team is going to play very, very hard for Coach Painter.  With young guys fighting for playing time and pushing the older guys to work harder, loads of athleticism and speed, and the typical Boilermaker defensive pressure, this team will be able to out hustle some opponents.  Painter also had the team run sprints after the game, despite the horrible heat, so there's no excuse to not be in great shape this season.
Overall weaknesses:
  • Free throw shooting: We knew that losing Robbie would hurt the team's average, especially after Terone and Anthony's woes last season, but free throw shooting was absolutely horrible (sub 50%).  I just don't understand how a team can do so poorly from the line.  I know Terone got better last season after changing some mechanics, but this is a team-wide epidemic that needs to stop.  Maybe after their games in Italy the team can shoot free throws instead of going sightseeing.
  • Outside shooting: The guy sitting next to me asked, "So, we're going to have to play Anthrop to field a team that can hit a three, right?"  While I'm sure Byrd will have a fine season shooting, and Hammons has proved he can hit an outside shot, I'm not really sure if anyone else on the team can.  Anthony took a few, recognizing it's part of his game he needs to improve, but they missed the mark, and Terone and Ronnie didn't fare any better.  I don't think I saw Davis shoot from outside, and that wasn't a skill he was known for in high school.  Without being able to hit outside shots, it's going to be really tough to keep defenses honest.  Just ask Chris Kramer.
  • Youth: Let's all just accept the fact that this team is pretty young.  They will show flashes of amazing potential but also make some frustrating mistakes. This season is most likely going to be mediocre when compared to our recent successes, although there's definitely the potential for a special season.  Take the goods with the bads and focus on how the guys are learning, developing, and gelling as a team.
Most improved:
  • Hands down this goes to Marcius.  As mentioned above, his late surge last season may have just been a precursor to his development.  He's still got work to do defensively to stay out of foul trouble, but he played like a man possessed, and he clearly understands the game better each day.  The rest of the returning players didn't seem to show any new skills, which may be a bit concerning as well.
Most unimproved:
  • I don't like to be too hard on any of the current players.  If we poke a little fun, it's because we're honest, but we also respect all Boilermaker athletes who try their best.  Now that the disclaimer is out there, Travis Carroll will be fighting for playing time this season.  I didn't see anything special out of him the entire scrimmage, and he's been lapped by the younger bigs.  I'm sure he's got time to improve, and nothing against him personally, I just don't see him fitting in that well with this team either this year or next.  I overheard someone wonder if he'd be better served trying to play tight end on the football team.  Ouch.
Most critical newcomer:
  • Undoubtedly it's walk-on Stephen Toyra.  I kid, this has to be a tie between Ronnie and Hammons.  Ronnie will be asked to do much more than Hammons this season, since we lack another true point guard.  The team's fortunes will grow as he develops, and he has the chance to be great.  Hammons also has the chance for greatness and to become a total game-changer.  If Marcius isn't as far along as we think, Hammons will be looked upon for a lot more help. 
Biggest leader:
  • Going into the scrimmage I wasn't sure if this was going to be Byrd's team, as the lone veteran senior, or Terone's, as the highest potential offensive threat.  While both have shown some leadership and will be critical locker room voices during what looks to be an up and down season, I don't think either is the sole leader.  Neither one seems to take charge and instill his personal drive in the other players.  I guess that means the team's real leader is Matt Painter.
Player most likely to get arrested at Where Else? this season:
  •  It wouldn't be Purdue athletics without at least one player getting arrested outside Where Else? this year, right?  Thanks to his year at prep school and redshirt season, Donnie Hale will turn 21 in October before ever playing an official game.  Here's hoping the oldest rookie in the Big Ten uses his wise old age to his advantage, including staying away from crappy bars and playing nice with bouncers.
Scroll down for some great photos from the event. I think may become the best photographed Purdue blog out there. Now if only I could get a media pass!
Painter addresses the team before the scrimmage IMG_4349

Terone started off the game playing point IMG_4367

The defense collapsing on Terone IMG_4376

Anthony Johnson (I wish I could still call him AJ) posting up on Ronnie IMG_4387

Rapheal getting a nice block on Anthrop IMG_4543

Anthony driving on Ronnie IMG_4421

Byrd was frequently cracking jokes about how hot it was IMG_4573

Anthony driving on Anthrop, while Jacob "Crazy Eyes" Lawson gets ready for a block. Dude can jump, but when he zones in, his stare alone would alter my shot. IMG_4448

Terone drives on Anthony while Marcius and Hammons bang down low IMG_4578

Byrd tries to get by Rapheal IMG_4585

Terone drives in for a floater IMG_4591

Anthony puts up a floater, over Hammons and Lawson, which is quite impressive. Look how high Lawson gets. Hammons is a brick wall down low, even for his teammates. IMG_4609

Hammons with a rim-bending dunk

Marcius does his goofy dunk dance while hanging on the rim

Ronnie dodges Hammons and goes in for the layup

Rapheal tries to prevent the feed to Marcius IMG_4741

Alumni Game Recap

Earlier this afternoon, I made the drive up to Purdue to watch the alumni game and team scrimmage.  I'll cover the scrimmage in a future post, as we learned a lot about the new freshmen and some expected strengths and weaknesses for the coming season.  The highlight of the afternoon, however, was seeing so many alumni come back for the game.

Despite the 100 degree temperatures inside Mackey Arena, which turned it into a literal sauna, former Boilermakers young and old suited up to impress the fans and show they still had some skills.  The game pitted Coach Keady's black team against Matt Painter's gold team, and it looked like the deck was stacked for the black team.

Here's my best memory of the rosters:
Black team: Chris Kramer, Kenny Lowe, Bobby Riddell, Marcus Green, Brian Cardinal, Troy Lewis, Todd Mitchell, Justin Jennings, Brett Buscher, Lewis Jackson, Tim Ervin, Bubba Dey, Todd Foster, and Ian Stanback

Gold team: Carson Cunningham, Ryne Smith, Travis Best, Mark Wohlford, Chris Reid, Chad Kerkhof, Tarrance Crump, Austin Parkinson, David Teague, Roy Hairston, Brandon Brantley, Matt Kiefer, Dave Barrett, BJ Carretta, and 1966 graduate and oldest dude on the court, Steve O'Neil

Wow, we have a whole lot of "Where Are They Now?" entries to do! (kidding)

Some of my favorite moments from the game:
  • Dunks by Kramer and Teague
  • The fans screaming for O'Neil to shoot as soon as he touched the ball to start the game.  He passed it up twice, but later got a layup, much to the crowd's delight
  • Any time Lew Jack, Cardinal, or Teague touched the ball
  • The worst alley-oop I have ever seen, thrown by Cardinal to Kramer. It banged so high and hard off the backboard that I don't even think JaJuan could have gotten a piece of it.
  • Bobby Buckets making a couple three pointers
  • Waiting for Kenny Lowe to slap the floor in defensive exuberance.  It didn't happen.
  • Wondering which guy from the 80's was going to sweat himself off the most poundage
  • Seeing Chris Reid dominate inside.  Apparently he's only good when playing against old guys.
I was excited to have tickets in the comfortable black club seats, but I decided to take my nice DSLR camera and try to get closer for some pictures.  While isn't yet popular enough to get a media pass, no one seemed to mind as I sat courtside the entire time.  I was having so much fun, and trying hard to get good pictures, that I didn't even realize the game was actually close.  Down the stretch Teague and Lew Jack made offsetting threes, and Keady called a timeout with about 24 seconds to go, the score knotted at 70.  I'm not sure what play Keady called, but it clearly wasn't the old "let Lew burn the clock down real low and then fail to find an open man, thereby being forced to throw up a ridiculous three."  As we all know, Painter's the one that calls that play.  I kid, I kid.

Whatever the plan (feed Cardinal?), it didn't work, and Lew was forced to make something happen.  He shot up a highly contested three, and as time expired, it sank, the black team won, and Lew stoically stared down his opponents and slowly walked to the other side of the court.  The crowd went nuts, and it was a very fitting end to the event. If the Paint Crew were there, I'm sure he would have jumped into their arms.

During a break in the current team's scrimmage, all the alumni present came out onto the court, and it was a great chance to see some of the older players, as well as more recent guys like JaJuan, Carl Landry, and Robbie.  I'm so glad Purdue held this event, and I hope it was enjoyable to the fans (despite the heat), the alumni, the current players, the coaches, and the stud recruits that were there to watch.

Below you can enjoy some of the hundreds of photos I took.

Half the team signing autographs before the scrimmage. The lines were hundreds long. IMG_3855

Bryson Scott, Kendall Stephens, and Basil Smotherman hiding in the corner but signing some items for fans who noticed them. I think Bryson liked the photo op. IMG_3863

Robbie and Cardinal having a laugh, possibly about knee pads. IMG_3939

Spotted - the illusive Kiefer-face

Caption contest! My entry: "Hey guys, look at Tim Ervin over there. There's actually someone shorter than Bobby!"

David Teague, how I missed you!

Teague dunking in warm-ups

Ryne dunking in warm-ups

Coach Keady with a standing ovation, without hair dye or a combover IMG_4073

Todd Mitchell and Troy Lewis, the first years I can remember watching Purdue basketball

Tarrance Crump playing some tough defensive on Bobby Buckets. The bench likes it. IMG_4106

A nifty acrobatic layup by Crump IMG_4111

Kramer winding through traffic and dunking! IMG_4132

Brian Cardinal draining a three

Kiefer denying Lew Jack IMG_4142

This picture isn't really about Marcus Green shooting a three. It's about Steve O'Neil, who's in his upper-60's, screaming like a crazy person trying to distract the wide-open Green.


It's the Kenny Lowe Show, and Roy Hairston seems to enjoy watching IMG_4198

Teague got a huge breakaway for a dunk, but of course, diligent defenders Cardinal and Kramer still tried to chase him down the court IMG_4237

Sure, it was great to see JaJuan, but I was more amazed to see Ivan Kartelo for the first time in almost a decade. If only he had been waving his Kartelo Towel from the bench during the game. IMG_4485

A few interesting thoughts from this photo.
1. Nice to see you Carl Landry! Wish your new $8 million contract with the Warriors would have let you play.
2. Nice to see you Brandon McKnight! Looking sharp.
3. Matt Kiefer, did you just hit puberty and you're still getting used to your size? I think McKnight needs to give you a makeover.