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Painter Tells All To Dakich

Photo Credit To Scott Utterback of The Courier Journal

Wednesday started off nice and quiet. There was no huge news in the sports world and for Purdue announced a few of their players would be playing on the The Basketball Tournament (TBT) roster this summer. Still, this was expected. It wasn’t anything too groundbreaking. Just another day in quarantine. 

Then BAM! At 12:30 Eastern time, Purdue Men’s basketball coach Matt Painter hopped on The Dan Dakich Radio show and let everything out. Painter expressed his opinion on the recent transfers from Purdue, the Boilermaker’s culture and what it takes to make the NBA. The timing of Painter talking on the show was interesting considering just yesterday, Nojel Eastern joined Matt Haarms in transferring from Purdue. Sure enough, in one of the most honest interviews you’re going to see from a coach on a matter like this, Painter let loose.    

Here are a few quotes from the interview

Parents on message-boards

In response to Dakich’s question of the effects of Nojel Eastern’s mom’s many comments on Message-boards, here is what Painter had to say:

   “…What I will comment on, just in general is  it’s hard enough to be successful, the way it is. People don’t realize that you get guys that have successful careers that get to a high major level and they realize and they’re like, ‘Oh Man’ like they talk in recruiting and they just don’t realize…”  

“…Anytime there’s any outside influence, you’re just making it hard for these guys to be successful, and kind of to your point, yea it makes it harder if there is any type of outside influence…” 

“… Now we live in this world of social media and these guys listen to what’s out there like they will, you know take some weight to strangers saying things on message boards…”


Recruits Not Meeting Expectations 

“… I remember Jay Edwards going to Indiana, and not playing the first 5, 6 games. He played a little bit, but I just remember being like, why isn’t he playing him? And you’re not there, you don’t understand, it’s just hard to be good and it’s hard to be good immediately. It really is, How many times do you see this hype about somebody and then they get somewhere and they say ‘well what’s wrong with him’? Well, nothing’s wrong with him, he’s just competing with  21 and 22 year old’s that understand it and are more disciplined, that are older, more experienced, that have matured a little bit physically and mentally and it just gets really hard…”  


On Guys wanting to be Pros

“…These guys are like, ‘Hey I want to be a pro’. I’m like, why don’t we be All-Conference in college first? Why don’t we try that out? So you’ll get guys that average 4, 6, 9 or 10 points and say, ‘Coach, I want you to develop me into a pro’. Well, why don’t you work like a pro.”  

“…There’s some things changing in high school basketball, there’s some major changes that are coming in college basketball and there’s going to be a lot of differences. But the one difference that isn’t changing is how good you have to be to play in the NBA.” 

“… I wasn’t running around blaming Gene Keady because I wasn’t any good. I averaged 8 points. I wasn’t putting my name in the draft.” 

“…With Carsen (Edwards), It’s an everyday deal with him… Carsen Edwards wakes up thinking about making threes. He’s thinking about and you can see from watching him, but he puts in that kind of time like he puts in that kind and I know he’s fast, I know he’s explosive, but he works on his game like that.” 

Purdue Culture 

“… I love it here. It’s a great situation, we have a great president, great board of trustees and a great athletic director. So we have a lot of great things going on at Purdue. Purdue’s a special place. Purdue’s not done with you when you’re 22 years old.” 

Painter on developing bigs at Purdue:

“When I look at that position, it worked for Caleb Swanigan in that position, it worked for AJ Hammons in that position, it worked for Carl Landry in that position, It worked for JaJuan Johnson…”   

On next year:  

“What’s going on at Purdue? Nothing’s going on at Purdue. To me, it’s all about competition.” 

“…Mason Gillis and Brandon Newman, they redshirted last year and I really like both of them. Ethan Morton is the best passer I’ve ever recruited. Jaden Ivey is really good and works really hard….”  

“…I like where we are and I like what we’re doing.”


On Eastern And Haarms Transferring 

“…I feel bad, I’ll be honest with you. To me, I always feel like I fail in some way because at the end of the day we move on.” 

“… I love those guys, and I mean that about those guys, but when it’s obviously not better for you academically or Basketball wise, I feel for them. Matt was going to do that, but he also got his degree from Purdue. Jelly is walking out of here without his degree. That’s not smart, but I’m really biased.” 

“… A lot of times it just comes down to competition. Matt, in the simplest terms, we tried to play him and Trevion Williams together and it just didn’t work. That’s competition and Trevion was playing better. With Nojel Somebody’s not playing. They decide that, not me. It’s competitive if you don’t want to be her, the door swings both ways.” 


My Closing Thoughts 

This was no doubt about as honest of an interview from a coach you’re going to get when discussing the topic of players transferring. Painter was asked the questions and he answered them with exactly how he felt while sending a message to players, coaches and parents in the process. The message being maybe you aren’t as good as you think you are and maybe the NBA isn’t something that everyone can make. Watching the Last Dance documentary seems pretty relate-able to this topic. Everyone talked about how Michael Jordan was a terrible person for how he interacted with teammates, but all he wanted to do was make them better while sharing the same success with them. Not everyone is going to be great, and not everyone is going to make it in the NBA, but if you just blame others and don’t work hard then you definitely won’t be either.  

I also found this very similar to what I once heard from Indiana High School Basketball coaching legend Jack Keefer on transfers. He talked about how he’s had a bunch of players get up and transfer to other high schools and how parents always think their sons deserve more playing time. His response? Look in the mirror and work harder instead of leaving every time there is competition.  

Whether or not this works out for either player transferring, Matt Painter appears ready to move on and compete for another Big Ten Championship without them. Leadership is what was going to be asked of both players and from Painter’s insight, maybe neither would have brought that.  One quote that will really stand out from the interview though, would be when he says, “We got better yesterday”.    

Here’s the whole interview:

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