It’s crazy how fast stories spread around the college basketball world come March.  I love it.  I was promptly informed that Kelsey Barlow had been suspended yesterday from about 12 people within a 20 minute time period. It was nuts. My phone rang non stop.  It began that Barlow was suspended for “conduct detrimental to the team”.  I’ve recently heard more details that he was suspended for failing 3 drug tests within a month time span. I’m not 100% this is the reason but it comes from a reliable source.  I also want to give a few thoughts on how I think this will affect Purdue and their chances at making a run to the Final Four.  I’ll have a piece on Kyrie Irving’s return as well later tonight.

1st of all I think Purdue will be just fine.  Yes, Barlow averaged 19 minutes a game and was a lock down defender but here’s what most people saw.  Kelsey Barlow was a turnover machine.  I can’t remember how many times I yelled at Coach Painter through my TV to get Barlow off the court and Lewis Jackson back in.  I think Barlow is a tremendous athlete and has the potential to blossom into a terrific player someday (and personally I do hope that is with Purdue).  I’ve heard rumors all season that he was a distraction to the team.  I don’t know if that’s true or not but if so that will be good for the Boilers.  When it’s a one and done deal you need to be focused with as little distractions as possible.

Terone's ability to finish at the hoop will help the Boilers with their run in the tournament

Purdue still has Terone Johnson, who I think will be Purdue’s next E’Twaun Moore.  I thank God that Barlow isn’t a post player (Forward or Center) that’s where Purdue really lacks depth.  Terone has the ability to do something Barlow didn’t show that he could do.  Terone can hit jump shots! Sure Barlow could get up there and throw down some ferocious dunks and pump up the team once ever 6 games but, T. Johnson has stepped up huge knocking down 3’s, making smart decisions with the ball, and getting into the lane and getting to the free throw line. Plus he finishes at the rim.  Terone is also a very solid defender.  Maybe not as good as Barlow but he can do his job and play team D that’s needed for Purdue to be successful.  That’s all I really ask out of the young guy.  Play solid defense and make a few shots here and there, and Terone has done that and most of the shots he has hit have been huge.  I actually look forward to seeing Terone get some more playing time.

I haven’t heard the status on John Hart in a while but I’m sure he’s well rested and will be ready to play Friday.  For some of you who aren’t familiar with hart I’ll give you a brief history.  Last season (as a redshirt freshman) Hart came off the bench against the Fighting Illini when Purdue was struggling to get anything going.  Hart had played very few minutes and Painter was making a

John Hart could prove valuable with increased minutes due to the Kelsey Barlow suspension

statement to the older guys.  Soon John scored and all of a sudden there was a stoppage in play.  The coaches had forgotten to put Hart on the roster for that game.  He went on to scored 14 points and lifted the Boilermakers to a victory.  He has the ability to score in bunches and has a good perimeter jump shot.  Hart also scores at good times when either Moore or JaJuan are being shut down or off the floor.  Hart is also a very solid defender. He reminds me of Lewis Jackson, shorter with a good build and solid perimeter defensive skills.  Look for Hart to be a factor in the tourney.

Purdue fans should also keep in mind the adversity Purdue has played against all year.  Raise your hand if you thought Purdue would have finished the season 25-7 and earn a 3 seed after Hummel went down.  Not many of us did, I didn’t. I knew we would still do well but didn’t have these expectations.  Purdue plays what they call “TEAM” basketball.  It’s not just one player like BYU, SDSU, and Sometimes UNC with Harrison Barnes.  Of course we have our two stars but everybody knows their role and contributes when needed.  That’s what makes Purdue a good team and a tough team to beat even without Hummel or Barlow.  So for all you Boilermaker fans out there continue to BOILER UP and HAMMER DOWN on all who may get in their way!

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