When discussing what Matt Painter’s Purdue Boilermakers need to do in order to rebound from a disappointing 2013-14 campaign, junior center A.J. Hammons is usually the first player brought up and rightfully so. The 7-footer is the team’s leading returning scorer, rebounder and shot blocker, and despite the fact that he was selected to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive Team there’s still room for growth. Hammons certainly is a key figure for Purdue, but so are a trio of sophomores whose debut seasons were essentially a case of “trial by fire.”
Guards Kendall Stephens and Bryson Scott and small forward Basil Smotherman all played at least 15.7 minutes per game in 2013-14, and with leading scorers (and guards) Terone and Ronnie Johnson both having moved on the playing time will increase in 2014-15. During the team’s second intrasquad scrimmage Saturday, which consisted of four ten-minute periods, Stephens and Scott led the way offensively.
Stephens, who averaged 8.0 points per contest last season, accounted for 32 points on 11-for-16 shooting from the field and he knocked down eight of his 13 shots from beyond the arc. As for Scott, he added 20 points and six assists with just one turnover. There were other productive offensive options for the Boilermakers Saturday, including Hammons (22 points, eight rebounds), junior Rapheal Davis (24 and nine) and freshman Vince Edwards (17 and six).
Also of note are the ten assists dished out by graduate transfer Jon Octeus, who gives Purdue another option when it comes to running the offense. Yet even with other players having solid days in Purdue’s scrimmage, the progression of Scott and Stephens will be critical if the Boilermakers are to make a move up the Big Ten standings. Above are highlights from the event, courtesy of Purdue Athletics.