Skip to main content Saturday Simulcast: April 13 Purdue hoops wrap

Karpick_headshot500x500by:Alan Karpick04/13/24

AlanKarpick Saturday Simulcast: April 13 - Purdue hoops review

In this week’s episode,’s Purdue men’s basketball writers Brian Neubert and Mike Carmin and host Alan Karpick reflect on  the 2023-24 season, the Final Four experience and what is ahead for the Boilermakers in 2024-25. 

ICYMI: Brian Neubert’s 24 takes from Purdue’s 2024 season

Here are 24 takeaways from Matt Painter, Zach Edey and Purdue basketball’s historic 2023-2024 NCAA runner-up season, which concluded Monday in the national championship game.

  1. Purdue is on rock-solid ground, established currently as the top program in the Big Ten, and will contend to be back at this level again before Matt Painter is done, whenever that time may be, but almost certainly years from now.

2. This season should have now raised the bar even higher. Winning this thing is now the new “Get Purdue to a Final Four.”

3. Purdue built an elite national champion-caliber college basketball team; UConn has built a college basketball machine. That’s the difference between Purdue being NCAA champion and NCAA runner-up. There was no shame in losing to a historically dominant Connecticut team.

4. There should be more synonyms for “elite.” “Great” isn’t eloquent enough and “pre-eminent” is too hoity-toity.

5. Comparing eras is extremely flawed, but you can not make a counter-argument now to Zach Edey as the greatest player in Purdue history. He got the Boilermakers as far as any who came before him, at least those whose shoes weren’t made a cloth. His numbers are a steel fortress impregnable for any who come after him. What he did for Purdue and its brand not just in America, but probably beyond, you can’t put a dollar figure on.

6. Purdue needs NIL support, absolutely, but not necessarily in the same way most others do. Painter has this figured out his way. He’s not running out every spring and conducting a fantasy draft. He’s getting his sorts of guys and the NIL piece of it is a highly valuable filter for a coach who’s become a razor-sharp evaluator of personality as well as talent. If NIL is a recruit’s first question, chances are that player winds up elsewhere. NIL at Purdue is basically a reward for everyone’s investment in the program — everyone gets something — and everything beyond that is based on achievement. It’s a wise counter-move to the mainstream that doesn’t jeopardize locker room harmony.

6. This was Painter’s finest coaching job at Purdue, by far. People may not realize how much of a pressure-cooker this season could have been and how much Painter coached to foster looseness, confidence, etc. You saw the result. He and his staff — and the staff deserves a great deal of credit, too — pushed all the right buttons with this team.

7. Purdue changed more than people realize, and more than it probably had to given how good it was last season. The offense was very different, the defense did different stuff and the lineups were very different. Again, Purdue could have just banked on natural improvement through experience, but it was instead very aggressive and proactive in changing. Again, all the right buttons.

8. Purdue could not have done better with its one addition from portal this season. Godsend is a strong word, but Lance Jones was a godsend. It wasn’t his athleticism, shooting, defense, etc., as much as it was his spirit, his joy, the levity he brought. Again, this season could have been a pillow over everyone’s face, given how last season ended. Jones’ energy real was a breath of fresh air.

9. Braden Smith‘s scoring transformed this team, but so did his will and command. He and Edey were really something special together this season. This was the greatest season ever by a Purdue point guard. Again, comparing eras is flawed, but how could it not be?

10. Not sure anyone embodies what Purdue aspires to be about than Mason Gillis, who gave everything he had on the court and in the classroom, led and really set a great example this season. He was one of this team’s most overt leaders and the face of the sacrifice that made this whole work. Had he been about himself more than Purdue, that could have been a real land mine. He deserves as much credit as anyone. He was a damn good player, too.

11. Fletcher Loyer is a much better player than he generally got credit for alongside Edey and Smith. He quietly had a great season, made a ton of big shots and never took his eye off the ball in terms of making sure the ball got inside to Edey. He didn’t force anything this season; for gifted shooters, that’s half the battle.

12. It stands to reason to expect Gillis and Ethan Morton to look to use their COVID years elsewhere next season, which might be hard for Purdue fans to stomach, seeing those guys in different uniforms, but the business part of this nowadays is real.

13. Trey Kaufman-Renn is going to be ready for much more. Last year, it was Edey who blew up as a junior; this season, it was Smith as a sophomore. Next season, look for it to be Kaufman-Renn, who’s poised to slide into more minutes and much, much higher usage (i.e. touches). He will work like crazy this summer after he played well in the NCAA Tournament, and improved considerably through the course of this season on defense.

14. Camden Heide showed so many winning qualities right away this season. He’s going to win a lot of games at Purdue.

15. Meanwhile, Myles Colvin had his ups and downs as a freshman, but laid a solid foundation for the future, starting with a much more prominent role next season. He made marked progress as a two-way player — and he was just a shooter when the season started — and has all the tools to be really, really good. The experience of seeing up close what made this team great had to be really valuable for him.

16. P.J. Thompson has a really bright future in coaching, at Purdue specifically. The word “prodigy” comes to mind. Painter winning with “his guys” doesn’t just mean players.

17. The Big Ten’s transition to having games on Peacock didn’t solicit the sort of fan outrage or confusion it easily could have, at least best we could tell. Otherwise, the ESPN-FOX college basketball wars are on, but still second fiddle to football.

18. It must be really nice to be Purdue’s staff right now having a pretty good idea who’s going to be on its team next season. Does portal life catch up to Painter at some point? Maybe. Is Purdue going to wind up throwing young teams out there on occasion against a bunch of semi-pros? Yeah, probably. But the difference gets made up in continuity and experience together. This season proved that. Purdue dominated against an elite non-conference schedule, then a Big Ten season, full of adults playing against kids. Meanwhile, Purdue will have to onboard six freshmen in June, but the difference is made up in the coaches not meeting most of their players six months before their first game.

19. It was apparent in Honolulu back in November that something bigger might be at play with this Purdue team and it did in fact play out that way the rest of the season.

20. Purdue showed what it was all about not in victory but defeat. When it lost, players cared obviously, but the message was always, “We’re fine. We know how good we are.” Then in the NCAA Tournament, the utter lack of celebration was kind of unnatural to observe. The professionalism and stoic nature of this group was striking.

21. None of that was possible without the FDU loss. Never underestimate the importance of failure in sports. It toughened Purdue, which embraced it, closed ranks around and responded like champions.

22. Purdue will be different next season, but Painter has his own “Eras” tour going. He’s won with a lot of different types of teams. It probably energizes him, if we’re being honest.

23. Big off-season for Caleb Furst, who now has the first real opportunity of his career to earn his place as a needed, relied-upon, invested-in sort of player. With a strong off-season, he can force Purdue to build in ball-screen offense components for him and perhaps some defensive wrinkles.

24. Fans and especially media need to do a better job not platforming bad takes. Purposefully ignorant troll culture feasted on Zach Edey this season and it’s the reaction that gives that sort of stuff legs. Ignore it.

Related: Edey named national player-of-the-year

You may also like