As the temperature begins to drop, Purdue basketball season slowly but surely approaches. After last year’s thrilling run through March Madness, the Boilers lost Carsen Edwards to the draft while Ryan Cline and Grady Eifert both graduated. In order to fill in some of the gaps, the Boilermakers have brought in plenty of fresh faces.
Isaiah Thompson — Isaiah Thompson is a 6’1” point guard from Zionsville, Indiana. He comes from a basketball family as his father, LaSalle Thompson, played at Ball State University and had a professional career overseas. He is the younger brother of beloved Boiler P.J. Thompson, who is currently a graduate assistant on head coach Matt Painter’s staff. Isaiah Thompson is a crafty guard with the ability to consistently hit long-range shots.
“(Thompson) can flat out think the game,” sophomore guard Eric Hunter said.
Mason Gillis — Gillis is a 6’7” forward from New Castle, Indiana. He is a very versatile player who can play the two through four position. Gillis missed his entire high school senior season with a knee injury, but he is reportedly back to 100%. Before his injury, he was an Indiana Junior All Star and was consider a major candidate to win Mr. Basketball his senior year. He was also one of the top baseball players in Indiana, but chose to give it up in favor of basketball.
Brandon Newman — Newman is a 6’5” guard from Valparaiso, Indiana. He is the highest ranked incoming freshman listed at No. 80 in the 2019 class by ESPN.com. He finished second in the coveted Indiana Mr. Basketball polls and was a member of the Indiana All Star team. Newman initially was headed to the infamous basketball powerhouse Montverde for his senior season but returned home after his mother became sick. Newman is a knockdown shooter and has a knack for putting the ball in the basket.
“I like Brandon’s ability to score,” Hunter said.
In addition to the freshman class, Purdue has brought in two new walk-ons and a graduate transfer.
Jahaad Proctor — Proctor is a 6’3” senior from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He formerly played at High Point University, where he averaged 19.4 points per game and was named Big South Scholar-Athlete of the Year. Additionally, he made the All Big South Second-Team. Proctor has a smooth in-between game and also has the range to score from outside. He has good finishing ability and hopefully will be able to replace some of the points that walked out the door last season.
Jared Wulburn — Wulburn is a 5’10” sophomore guard from Stanford, California. He previously played for California Lutheran University, where he started 23 games and averaged 6.6 points a game. Like Thompson, Wulburn comes from a basketball family. His father is an associate head coach for the Stanford basketball program.
Matt Frost — Frost is a 6’5” freshman forward from Columbus, Indiana. He averaged 14.2 points and 6.2 rebounds per game his senior year. Frost was The Republic Boys Basketball Player of the Year in 2019 and named first team All Conference.
Although the newcomers have impressed thus far, they still have a long way to go.
“They’ve all done a solid job,” Painter said. “The thing I would say about all of them from the summer and the fall (is) I don’t see much separation, (and) that’s what I’m hoping for ... Those guys have to be able to separate themselves from each other to solidify themselves.”