With freshman forward Caleb Swanigan officially cleared for competition a couple days ago, Purdue has its full allotment of players for what should be one of the nation’s best front court rotations. With their combination of talent, depth and size, head coach Matt Painter won’t lack for options as the Boilermakers look to make a second consecutive NCAA tournament appearance and contend in the Big Ten.
Those options also mean that junior forward Basil Smotherman will redshirt, with the news being announced by Purdue Sunday afternoon. There were discussions about the 6-foot-6 Smotherman taking this path earlier this fall, using the redshirt season to improve his skill set with an eye towards being a major contributor in 2016-17, so the news wasn’t stunning at all.
In addition to Swanigan, Purdue has centers A.J. Hammons (center) and Isaac Haas (sophomore) and sophomore forward Vince Edwards. Add in 6-foot-10 redshirt freshman Jacquil Taylor and the presence of guards such as Rapheal Davis and Kendall Stephens who can allow Purdue to play small at times if they so choose, and spending a season honing his craft makes sense in Smotherman’s case.
In his first two seasons at Purdue Smotherman averaged 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, shooting 53.3 percent from the field and 57.6 percent from the foul line. More of an athletic slasher who can finish at the rim offensively, the season away from game competition should allow Smotherman to improve his perimeter shot.