A pair of fifth-year seniors are looking to inject leadership into the Purdue basketball program in their first year in West Lafayette.
Sterling Carter and Errick Peck transferred to Purdue from Seattle and Cornell, respectively, in the offseason.
“I feel as us being older guys, it’s just natural for us to want to explain to the younger guys that we’ve been there and done that,” Carter said. “We may not have played in the Big Ten or at Purdue, but we have a lot of experience under our belt.”
Peck said he feels like the old man of the team among a roster that includes just two returning scholarship players that are juniors or seniors.
“I’m trying to instill working hard day after day,” Peck said. “I have problems with that myself, so it’s kind of like we’re helping each other out in the process.”
Terone Johnson, one of Purdue’s two seniors along with Travis Carroll, said Purdue has accepted the newcomers’ leadership.
“They set examples, something we didn’t really have last year as much,” Johnson said. “The maturity they brought in the offseason and now has really helped the youngsters.”
Peck and Carter will look to provide maturity on the court for a Purdue team plagued by turnovers in 2012-13, averaging 12.6 per game.
“Basketball IQ is a big part of my game,” Peck said. “I’m not as athletic as I once was ... but I’ve become more mature and know what people are going to do on the floor.”
Peck brings versatility to the floor with his ability to defend both forward spots, score and rebound.
The Indianapolis, Ind., native averaged 9.7 points and 4.8 rebounds last season at Cornell to earn honorable mention All-Ivy League honors.
“I’ll do whatever needs to be done,” Peck said. “If there’s scoring that day, I’ll rebound the basketball and go play some defense. If they need me to score, I’ll be more than happy to do that as well.”
Peck has familiarity with head coach Matt Painter’s program as he played with or against several current Boilermakers growing up in Indianapolis.
“My house is an hour away, so I know what Purdue basketball is about and has been about,” Peck said.
Carter gives Painter a third point guard who can provide defensive pressure alongside Ronnie Johnson and Bryson Scott.
“It gives us the opportunity to put a fresh guy on the ball handler every other possession and not make us tired, but make them tired,” Carter said.
The Seattle, Wash., native has experience with the full-court press from his time at Seattle, which the Purdue coaching staff emphasized as a major role for him throughout the recruiting process.
“You can’t learn how to play full-court defense in a year,” Carter said. “You have to have the mind to want to do it and the mind to be able to do it, and I think I have that.”
Carter could also help Purdue with its perimeter shooting after he made 69 of 190 three-pointers in 2011-12 for Seattle. The Boilermakers made just 145 three-pointers last season, the least in the Big Ten.
“I feel like all the guys have worked this offseason to improve their shooting and play overall,” Carter said. “I’m a shooter and I feel my teammates will be ready (to shoot) as well.”
Carter and Peck said they have been impressed with their teammates since they arrived in West Lafayette.
“This is probably one of the best teams I’ve been on,” Carter said. “This team is so versatile. We have a very good team; it’s going to be up to us where we go.”
“Just the talent and how hard we worked over the summer, especially when they talk about compared to last year,” Peck said. “I think this team will be a lot better and much improved from last year’s.”