Purdue lost two more games (16-18) than it won during this past men's basketball season and no one from Boilermaker coach Matt Painter to his fan base (The Paint Crew) is pleased about that fact. However, if indeed this program is to get back to where the Boilermakers expect to be – and they will return to that point – it is going to be due to the efforts of a couple of Fort Wayne natives.
Painter spoke recently and emphatically about what he is going to expect, no, make that require, from the 2013-14 squad.
“I'm going to start the guys that play the hardest,” Painter said. “I tried to fit some guys at some spots that they ideally belonged at, but we weren't getting the effort needed. So I could care less whether we go big, small, if we play five centers or five point guards.”
That is exactly what Northrop senior guard Bryson Scott wants to hear.
The 6-foot-2 combo guard and Purdue commit is a lot of things on the basketball court. He's strong, athletic, emotional, and skilled. However, more than anything else, Scott is a fiery competitor that former Purdue coach Gene Keady would've loved to have coached.
“Bryson is the ultimate competitor,” Bruin coach Barak Coolman said. “But with that competitiveness, he pushes himself harder than anyone that I've ever coached.”
That is exactly what the Boilermaker coach wants to hear.
There were times over the past season when Painter had to explain to certain players that it was important to put in extra time in order to reach their potential. He'll never have that conversation with Scott.
“When I'm at Purdue, I'm going to show that I care about getting better as a player,” Scott said. “Being there and grinding hard every day and showing that I care about the Purdue program.”
Scott won't report to West Lafayette until next month, but he already is in training for the 2013-14 season. He is either in the gym or weight room every day (minus an occasional “church day with his family”) and he also has the luxury of a fellow Division I work out partner to battle against in his brother, Brenton, who will play at Indiana State next year.
“I don't want to take any days off,” Scott said. “Me and my brother will play one-on-one and it's a real battle.”
Painter recruited a kid from Fort Wayne a year ago and that situation worked out great for the Boilermakers.
“It was a breath of fresh air to coach a guy like Rapheal Davis,” Painter said. “I'm going to hang my hat on those guys.”
The former South Side High School standout had glimpses of strong play early in his first season for Purdue, but the longer the season wore on, the more that Painter began to rely on the 6-foot-5 forward because of his maturity (forget the fact that he was a true freshman) and work ethic.
“We need guys that play hard,” Painter said. “That's where we've got to improve and it starts with every one of our guys.”
During a Boilermaker beatdown at the hands of Michigan State last season in East Lansing, things got a little chippy on the court. Painter took offense, not to the Spartans per se, but to his own team. He explained that showing toughness isn't getting into a fight physically, but grabbing critical rebounds, remembering to execute defensively, and winning games on the road.
Perhaps this could be construed in a negative light, but Scott is capable winning a fight in either regard. Looking at Scott, there will be no “physical adjustment” period to college basketball. In fact, Painter may have to keep the Boilermaker football coaches from dreaming of Scott as a star middle linebacker.
But in all seriousness, what Scott plans on doing is restoring the “Play Hard” attitude that the Boilermaker program has utilized as its foundation for success over the past three decades.
“I felt like (Purdue) was missing a guy that went out there and played with energy, a guy that played with all of his heart,” Scott said. “I don't think that anybody went out there and played with that passion and fire. That's the type of guy that I am.”
That's exactly what the Boiler Nation wanted to hear.