INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Coach Matt Painter is tired of dealing with the same old problems at Purdue.
He figures he's spent far too much time dissecting turnovers, poor decisions and working on team chemistry.
So this offseason, he's starting over. With only five returning scholarship players expected back next season, Painter will get a rare chance to remake this team in the image he prefers — hard-working tough guys who are able to follow the Purdue basketball principles.
"Two years ago, we were the No. 1 team in the country with the fewest turnovers," Painter said after Thursday's season-ending loss to No. 24 Ohio State. "So this is a big changing of the guard for us from a personnel standpoint."
The changes have already begun.
Four seniors are graduating. Redshirt freshman Jay Simpson will not return after doctors diagnosed him with a career-ending heart condition. Starting point guard Ronnie Johnson announced Saturday he is leaving the program after starting 52 of 66 games. There has been speculation that 7-foot sophomore center A.J. Hammons could declare early for the NBA draft.
If Hammons and the others do stick around, Painter will have two juniors — Hammons and Rapheal Davis; three sophomores — Bryson Scott, Basil Smotherman and Kendall Stephens; four walk-ons and five freshmen. Four of the freshmen have already signed with the Boilermakers; P.J. Thompson reportedly gave an oral commitment last week.
Will all these moves actually help the Boilermakers rebound next season?
Purdue (15-17) entered the conference tournament with the Big Ten's second-worst turnover average (12.1), tied for last in the league standings and on a six-game losing streak. So things can't get much worse.
Those numbers were only part of the problem. There were indications all season that everyone was not on the same page.