Ever wonder why schools like Kansas and Kentucky consistently remain atop CBB? Well, it’s pretty simple- appeal. College basketball revolves around program appeal and notoriety. Top programs attract top recruits by showing off some combination of past success, high likelihood of a future in the NBA, and breathtaking facilities.
Don’t get me wrong, Purdue is a phenomenal institution, but there’s reasoning behind our inability to draw the attention of big-name recruits outside of Indiana. Caleb Swanigan was a gift, but the fact that he is a Hoosier (Resident of Indiana) and has ties with Purdue led him into the lap of Matt Painter. Look at our biggest rival, Indiana University. IU, year-after-year, is able to lure in the enticing names that the town of West Lafayette can only salivate over. Purdue cannot do that because, well, we haven’t been as successful as IU. The Hoosiers (IU basketball) can boast their five championships and slew of NBA legends. Purdue, on the other hand, can do neither.
I promise I’m getting somewhere, this isn’t just a mindless coup of Matt Painter and the rest of the coaching staff.
This brings us to the 2015-16 season, which, in theory, could be the most important season in the history of the school.
The Baby Boilers were a fun team. They were an assemblage of the most talent in Black and Gold’s history. They were ranked third before the 2009 season, and climbed up a spot to second before the 2010 season. Ultimately, they emerged with zero national championships, one Sweet Sixteen exit, and one Round of 32 exit. An agglomeration of hype with no culmination. And people continue to question why we can’t secure top-tier talent?
This season, we need to prove Purdue is not fluke. We need to prove that Purdue can, and will compete for years to come. Our players don’t have the finesse that can be found at schools like Kansas and Kentucky. We need to put our devotion, teamwork, and grit front-and-center to garner success. Early consistency from the arc (About 42% thus far) proves that we are capable of achieving so much more than just defensive prowess. We entered the season ranked 23rd in the AP Poll, enough hype to motivate the team, yet enough of a gap to leave them hungry, and that’s exactly what we needed.
5-0 is a great start, but it can’t end there. We need to show the entire nation that Purdue is here, and not going away anytime soon.
This is when the domino effect falls perfectly into place. Success and the spotlight is what draws recruits, which, in turn, will result in Purdue players getting drafted early and often. Once that cycle begins, it is incredibly hard to stop; just ask Coach Cal. These are not the Baby Boilers, in fact, they are very different. They are hungrier, and they are willing to do what it takes to add to the win column. Success is crucial this season and this may be the only year in a very long time where we can truly prove ourselves. Now it’s just up to Black and Gold.
“If you build it, they will come.”
Boiler Up, Hammer Down.