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Purdue Basketball Wish List - July

Purdue coach Matt Painter hopes that some of the top Midwest talent gravitates to West Lafayette this recruiting cycle. (Associated Press file photo)
Purdue coach Matt Painter hopes that some of the top Midwest talent gravitates to West Lafayette this recruiting cycle. (Associated Press file photo)

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For more on Purdue basketball and recruiting, follow Jonathan Batuello on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/jcbatuello
Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.The Associated Press

Boilermakers on the hunt for a point guard

Monday, July 21, 2014 10:59 am
Purdue has a focus for the 2015 class - finding a point guard. Three of the five players listed below in the Purdue Wish List are guards. It makes sense why Matt Painter and his staff are desperately trying to land an impact point guard. With Ronnie Johnson gone (and it can be debated whether that is a good or bad thing), Purdue's roster features an undersized player in PJ Thompson and another who struggled to adapt to the point guard role in Bryson Scott.

Looking to the 2015-2016 roster, the Boilermakers could have every other position well suited. Ryan Cline and his outside dominance has already committed, leaving two scholarships open as of now, and likely three assuming AJ Hammons heads to the NBA following this season.

The things Purdue would likely want for that roster are a starting point guard, putting Thompson to a back-up role and moving Scott to a more natural combo guard position, another athletic wing and, if possible, an inside threat to play the power forward position or spell Isaac Haas if and when Hammons leaves.

This Wish List takes the potential departure of Hammons into account, giving three point guard options, an athletic wing and one of the best big men in the country.

School: Adlai Stevenson High School

Position: Point Guard

Measurables: 6-foot-1, 175 pounds

Rankings: Rated a five-star prospect by Rivals and 15th in the class; Rated a four-star prospect by 247Sports and the sixth best point guard in the country.

Offers: Temple, Illinois, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Connecticut, Villanova, Kansas, Ohio State, Creighton, DePaul, Virginia, SMU, Oklahoma State.

Considering: Connecticut, Kansas, Illinois, Villanova, Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Temple.

Breakdown: Brunson is one of the best point guards in the class and would be a humongous get for Matt Painter and company. Purdue has been on Brunson early and that is likely why it made his top eight schools released earlier this summer.

Brunson offers plenty to like about a point guard. He works well in pushing the ball at high speeds but can also work an offense in the half-court set. He makes smart decisions and has a strong enough 3-point shot that defenders can't lag off him.

Perhaps the best part of the lefty's game is his open court passing, being able to find men during the break extremely well.

There is stiff competition for Brunson. It is impressive for Purdue to simply make his top eight, but Painter has struggled to nail down commitments from top players the past few years. Can he and his assistants change that trend and get an instant-impact point guard?

School: St. Joseph High School

Position: Point Guard

Measurables: 5-foot-11, 160 pounds

Rankings: Rated a four-star recruit by Rivals and 85th in the class; 247Sports puts him as a four-star prospect and the 11th best point guard in the country.

Offers: Creighton, Nebraska, Purdue, Iowa, DePaul.

Considering: Nebraska, Purdue and Creighton

Breakdown: He isn't the strongest point guard in the class, but Watson has plenty of skills. Purdue has been following Watson closely and was one of the first to offer him. Painter has become a fan of the Illinois Wolves team he plays for in the summer (as it includes Barrett Benson as well).

Watson is very quick and very good at reading plays as they develop. In summer circuit play he has great chemistry with his teammates and knows where they will be before they arrive. He makes smart decisions and has the ability to attack the basket off the dribble. He could use some work on his outside shot, but it isn't too far away from being

college ready.

His athleticism would be something Painter would love to have at the point guard position. While Purdue could be a long shot to nab Brunson, Watson appears to be down to three schools with Purdue going against Nebraska and Creighton.

More on Watson: Illinois guard continues to keep Purdue on radar

School: Formerly Bowman Academy, transferring to LaLumiere for senior season

Position: Small Forward

Measurables: 6-foot-5, 205 pounds

Rankings: Rated a four-star recruit by Rivals and 123rd in the class; 247Sports puts him as a four-star prospect and the 22nd best small forward in the nation.

Offers: Iowa, Purdue, Creighton.

Considering: Dillard has not narrowed down his list as he hopes to gain more offers in the summer evaluation period, but Purdue and Iowa seem to be frontrunners right now.

Breakdown: If Purdue wants a freak athlete off the wing, Dillard is a great choice. He has great size and no problem with absorbing contact. He is most adapt at slashing to the rim and adds plenty of flare when he gets there.

Dillard has a lot going for his game in his athleticism, ability to attack the rim and he can step outside and hit the jumpshot or 3-pointer. He has also shown the willingness to be a strong defender.

For Purdue fans he would likely look similar to Basil Smotherman, though, he hasn't shown the rebounding ability Smotherman has yet. Dillard would be a strong addition to the class and it is hard to ever have too many athletic wings. Putting him with Smotherman, Vincent Edwards and Raphael Davis would give Purdue a small forward/power forward player in every class. Dillard also adds the potential of a double commitment with the next player on the list.

More on Dillard: Attention grows for Dillard

School: East Chicago Central

Position: Point Guard

Measurables: 5-foot-10, 160-pounds

Rankings: Rated a three-star prospect by Rivals and 141st in the class; 247Sports has him as a three-star prospect and the 30th best point guard in the country.

Offers: Illinois, Indiana, Purdue

Considering: Illinois, Indiana, Purdue, Michigan, Michigan State

Breakdown: Edwards is another point guard on the list, but this time from Indiana. He has had the two large state programs watching and following him closely since early in his high school career.

He is most adapt at attacking and scoring from the point guard position. He has a strong passing ability but he would be more similar to Ronnie Johnson in the way he attacks the rim and looks to score.

One big question surrounding Edwards and Dillard is they could be a package deal. GoldandBlack.com reported the two would prefer to play somewhere together. There is no certainty to that, though, and with the two wanting to likely play at a high-major, they may struggle to find a program that will take both of them due to need or scholarship availability. These aren't two top 10 players that have the sway, but it is still a potential Purdue has to keep in mind.

More on Edwards: In-state PG keeping cool about decision

School: Homestead High School

Position: Center

Measurables: 6-foot-8, 255 pounds

Rankings: Rated a five-star prospect by Rivals and 20th in the country; 247Sports has him as a four-star prospect and the 6th best center in the country.

Offers: Arizona, Georgetown, Indiana, Illinois, Kansas, Michigan State, Purdue, N.C. State, Notre Dame, Pittsburgh, Tennessee, Florida State, Xavier

Considering: Swanigan has been very tight-lipped about top schools on his list.

Breakdown: The biggest mystery in Fort Wayne basketball right now is where Swanigan's recruitment is headed. The big man has offers and interest from just about every program in the country but has given no real indication as to where he is headed.

Most recruiting experts seem to think he is off to play for Tom Izzo, but Swanigan's quotes recently have downplayed those opinions. This leaves Purdue in position to continue in the recruitment where Swanigan has some connections to the Boilermakers program from the people he surrounds himself with.

Swanigan offers the ability to play inside-out as he has improved his outside shooting touch in just a short time. He also has shown a commitment to getting in better shape as he his improved his body dramatically in just one year.

With his abilities to almost score at will in the box and shoot outside, Swanigan would be a huge get for any program and would complement well next to Isaac Haas on the starting line for Purdue. Can Painter finally close the deal on a top in-state talent he has come so close to getting the past few years?

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For more on Purdue basketball and recruiting, follow Jonathan Batuello on Twitter at www.Twitter.com/jcbatuello


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