Purdue’s men’s basketball coach called the first practice of the 2013-14 season Saturday “maybe the best first day of practice since I’ve been here.”
“We obviously have a lot to learn,” head coach Matt Painter said. “But the guys really competed today and didn’t just go through the motions.”
The most high-energy portion of practice happened in a rebounding drill. Assistant coaches shot three-pointers that players on two different teams had to battle for. Many of the plays in this drill resulted in multiple players on the floor, fighting for possession of the ball.
Fifth-year senior Errick Peck, who joined the Boilermakers after transferring from Cornell, appeared to be one of Purdue’s top rebounders throughout practice.
Freshman Bryson Scott received applause from teammates when diving after a defensive rebound and holding on when players tried to wrestle it away.
Senior guard Terone Johnson said that Scott has caught his attention since the freshman class arrived at Purdue.
“He’s probably the most competitive freshman that we have,” Johnson said. “He’s very quick, strong and can get to the basket; he can help us defensively also.”
Senior center Travis Carroll said the attitude of the team needs to be better on a consistent basis in order to achieve its goals.
“We just need to go out there and play hard,” Carroll said. “I think we got away from that a couple times last year. We would lose a couple of games and guys would get bad attitudes.”
Carroll noted how hard sophomore center A.J. Hammons has been working, as he’s lost considerable weight. The 7-footer was aggressively boxing out and crashing the boards Saturday and had several offensive putbacks.
“I’ve seen him in the weight room after we’ve finished,” Carroll said. “He’ll be in there doing extra reps with the strength coach by himself. I think he’s starting to mature a little bit and realize how important he is; he’s given himself to the team this year, which is awesome.”