Purdue Sports Are Heating Up With Drafts, Seeds And New Players

By: Ken Thompson

Purdue men’s basketball coach Matt Painter continues to lay the foundation for a potential second consecutive NCAA tournament No. 1 seed.

The Boilermakers will play in senior center Zach Edey’s home city as part of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame doubleheader in Toronto on Dec. 9. The opponent? Alabama, like Purdue a No. 1 seed in the 2023 NCAA tournament.

TCU and Clemson will square off in the second game. Times and TV will be announced at a later date.

The Alabama matchup comes exactly one week before Purdue takes on Arizona in the Indy Classic. Already on the Boilermaker schedule is a home game with Xavier as part of the Gavitt Games on Nov. 13 and the Maui Invitational on Nov. 20-22. The Maui field includes Kansas, Tennessee, Gonzaga, Marquette, UCLA, Syracuse and host Chaminade.

The Crimson Tide (2) and Boilermakers (7) combined to be ranked No. 1 in the Associated Press poll nine of the 19 weeks last season. While Purdue returns its top seven players from a year ago, including the National Player of the Year in Edey, Alabama lost standouts Brandon Miller, Noah Clowney and Charles Bediako to the NBA Draft.

Speaking of Edey, he could pick up yet another award at ESPN’s ESPY ceremony July 12. Edey is one of four finalists for Best Male College Athlete. The others are Creighton men’s soccer player Duncan McGuire, Duke men’s lacrosse player Brennan O’Neil and Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams of USC.


NFL bargains?

For the rest of eternity, anytime someone is skeptical that a late round draft pick can become a star in the NFL, the chorus of “Tom Brady at No. 199” will ring out.

Nick Baumgardner of The Athletic lists former Purdue standouts Payne Durham and Cory Trice among 11 players picked on Day 3 who have a chance to surprise in their rookie seasons.

On Durham, who was taken in the fifth round by Brady’s former team, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers: “Outside of his frame (6-5, 253, 33 3/8-inch arms), there is nothing flashy about Durham,” Baumgardner writes. “He’s not that fast; he doesn’t have much wiggle; if he averages 10 yards per reception, you’re probably doing OK with him. But if you throw him the ball 75 times, he’ll probably catch 70 of them. Durham has powerful hands, a great frame, and he understands the finer points of football, which allows him to give QBs friendly throwing windows over and over again.

Durham is a solid blocker who can be a dependable, team-first chain-mover in the NFL. He’s a three-down prospect who likely will start as a TE2, but there is TE1 potential here. Known at Purdue as a tone-setter because of the way he worked, Durham won’t get bullied as a run blocker in training camp — a lot of rookie TEs do.”

Trice lasted until pick No. 241 in the seventh round when the cornerback was taken by the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“This could go in the books as one hell of a steal. Trice, a 6-3, 206-pounder with elite burst (broad jump of 11 feet) and agility (6.70 three-cone), most likely fell in the draft due to injury concerns — his 2021 season at Purdue included an ACL tear and an ankle injury, and he later suffered a groin injury. Trice, a former safety, also still has some technical issues in coverage as well.

“But why did he slide to the seventh round? I’m not coming up with a great answer there. Our draft guru, Dane Brugler, had Trice ranked No. 88 overall in the 2023 class.

Trice’s traits are off the charts, and he can play anywhere on the back end. He has the goods to compete for a spot on the depth chart immediately.”

Cornerback Darius Rush, a fifth-round pick by the Indianapolis Colts, also made Baumgardner’s list.


Purdue a portal winner

In at least one category, the Purdue football program is ranked in a Top 10 with Alabama and USC.

The Athletic rated the Boilermakers as one of 10 “non-Deion” spring transfer portal winners. The ranking excludes Colorado’s mass exodus and importing of players since the legendary Deion Sanders took over as head coach.

The two newest Boilermakers singled out by The Athletic are wide receiver Jahmal Edrine (Florida Atlantic) and defensive lineman Jeffrey M’Ba, the No. 1 ranked junior college recruit of 2022 who departed from Auburn.

Louisville also made the portal top 10 for its haul under former Purdue coach Jeff Brohm. The list includes former Boilermaker offensive tackle and 2021 Indiana Mr. Football Brady Allen.


Quick hits

Incoming Purdue freshman basketball player Myles Colvin was selected to the USA Basketball U19 World Cup team that begins competition Saturday in Debrecen, Hungary.

The 17-year-old Colvin is the only Big Ten representative on the team. He’ll be seeking to join Purdue stars Caleb Swanigan, Trevion Williams, Jaden Ivey and Caleb Furst to win a World Cup gold medal. Carsen Edwards (2017) and Edey, representing Canada in 2021, brought home bronze medals.

The six Purdue players selected to the U.S. team since 2015 is the most nationally. Oklahoma State is next with four, followed by Duke, Kentucky and Villanova with three apiece.

The 6-6 Colvin, the son of former Purdue and NFL standout Rosevelt Colvin, was ranked 51st nationally by Rivals.com and 58th by 247 Sports. …

Former Purdue guard Dru Anthrop will be part of the new Phoenix Suns coaching staff, reuniting with former boss Frank Vogel.

Anthrop, who starred at Lafayette Central Catholic, was named one of seven assistant coaches. He moves to Phoenix from the Los Angeles Lakers, where he spent four seasons as head video coordinator and player development coach.

Anthrop was a special assistant to Vogel for two seasons with the Orlando Magic. Anthrop began his NBA career as a film coordinating intern for the Indiana Pacers from 2013-15.

– Kenny Thompson is the former sports editor for the Lafayette Journal & Courier and an award-winning journalist. He has covered Purdue athletics for many years