Thursday, July 07, 2011

Catching Up: Juwan Staten, Earnest Ross, Patrick Bade

Catching up on three final stories from June that I hadn't gotten to yet:

Juwan Staten will now transfer to West Virginia - Staten has had a busy offseason. The star freshman from Dayton had announced that he would head to Penn State (I talked about that move here), but the exit of Ed DeChellis caused him to re-open his transfer and now he's decided on West Virginia. Staten will have to sit out the 2011-12 season, so this won't impact anything for more than 12 months from now, but Staten is a huge signing. He's going to be a star in the Big East, and point guard could be a key need for West Virginia.

Truck Bryant will be a senior this coming season and will not be around for the 2012-13 season. Star 2010 recruit Noah Cottrill was the heir apparent at point guard, but a slew of off-the-court problems have him done at the school. The only returning scholarship point guards for the 2012-13 season will be 2011 recruits: Gary Browne and Jabarie Hinds. Both are quality recruits, but neither is a true blue chipper, and I'll be shocked if Staten isn't the starter. As long as Bob Huggins is the head coach, West Virginia will have athletic wings and bigs, and they'll play good defense. But his successful teams the past few seasons have all had quality point guards. He'll still have Truck Bryant for the coming season, but after that it will be a great luxury to be able to turn things over to Juwan Staten.

Earnest Ross to Missouri - This is actually one of three big transfers for Missouri. Missouri also appears to have locked up George Goode and Keion Bell. Ross was the leading scorer on Auburn last season, although that wasn't a huge achievement considering how awful that team was. Honestly, he's a better defensive player than offensive player. Goode is a relatively raw big who is coming in from Lousiville. Bell is a hyper-athletic guard from Pepperdine. He created a lot of offense and was a big scorer in the WCC, but he's not an efficient shooter, and only time will tell if he can repeat that success in the Big 12. Goode will likely be the only one of the three that will be able to play in 2011-12, as he has graduated college and will have one year of eligibility to go. Ross and Bell will likely not be eligible until 2012-13.

The Missouri situation remains in flux with Mike Anderson's exit and Frank Haith's arrival. I don't think there's much question that Haith is a downgrade from Anderson, and the school's fans are already smarting from the way Matt Painter played Missouri's interest into a raise at Purdue. Even if Haith is able to keep any more of his players from leaving, he still has to deal with the fact that Laurence Bowers, Marcus Denmon, Kim English and Matt Pressey are all down to their last season of eligibility. So even if all four play for Missouri in 2011-12, Haith will still really be able to use Keion Bell and Earnest Ross the following season. It will be easier to project this team when we get to October and have a more firm Missouri roster, and a more firm set of 2011 and 2012 signees.

Patrick Bade quits Purdue's basketball team for football - At first glance, this doesn't seem like news even worth mentioning. Bade scored only 18 points all season in 2010-11, in only 157 minutes. He had 1.5 rebounds per game. But with his size he was a solid rebounder, and he was a big body for a team that needs big bodies. Robbie Hummel will return for Purdue, but I don't think Purdue fans can count on anything from Hummel at this point considering how badly battered his career has been by injuries the past few seasons. The only other returner for Purdue over 6'5" who played any important minutes all season long is Travis Carroll, who is a slightly better offensive player than Bade, but isn't as good defensively or on the boards. The only other returner over 6'5" is Sandi Marcius, who I honestly have no opinion on because I can't recall watching him in anything other than garbage time.

Matt Painter is attempting to reload the frontcourt with his 2011 recruiting class, adding Jacob Lawson (a raw, athletic forward) and Donnie Hale (a quality big on both ends of the floor, but who may be more of a project). But if Hummel goes down with an injury again, then the loss of Patrick Bade means that Purdue is going to be depending on at least 30-40 minutes per game from these two true freshmen, which is going to be quite a bind. In my opinion, the best case scenario for Purdue (with a healthy Hummel) is third place in the Big Ten behind Ohio State and Wisconsin (see my 2011-12 Big Ten preview here). Even if everything goes right for them, I still expect them to battle with Michigan and Michigan State, and perhaps Illinois, for that third place spot. But they're a Hummel injury away from fighting with teams like Indiana and Northwestern, and perhaps even Iowa or Nebraska, for the final NCAA Tournament spots. It's hard to think of another team in recent memory so dependent on such an injury-prone player as the 2011-12 Purdue team will be with Robbie Hummel.

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