Purdue Basketball 2018 New Player Additions – As a follow-up to the three Purdue basketball players discussed in the last article, I will now delve into three more who are both older and expected to have larger roles initially due to their experience.
I’ll start off with the “best athlete” of the group.
Redshirt-Freshman Aaron Wheeler (6’9, 205)
If there’s one thing the 2017 class excelled at it would be winning, and Aaron was the prize winner of the bunch. In his senior season at Brewster Academy Aaron helped the team to a 33-0 record and a 3rd National Prep Championship in his 4 seasons. To truly appreciate how impressive this team, and Aaron Wheeler are, I shall compare them to more familiar schools. For starters, in 2015 they defeated internationally-renowned IMG Academy 87-53 in the championship. Actually, Brewster has had 10 players play in the NBA since 2010, including Donovan Mitchell, making it even more impressive that Wheeler was the MVP of the 2017 championship game. But to actually breakdown what his game has to offer to Purdue is pretty simple. Aaron is an athletic freak who impressed all his Purdue teammates as soon as he got to campus, but just would’ve been a waste of his eligibility to sit him behind Vincent Edwards and Dakota Mathias. Now that their gone many expect Wheeler to take a Vince-esque role, but he’ll probably have to beat out the team’s only on-scholarship senior Ryan Cline, and workaholic Grady Eifert to start as a small forward who can stretch the floor as Vince did in his time at Purdue.
Realistic projection: 9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists
Kobe-esque Goal: 13 points, 6.5 rebounds, 4 assists
Wheeler’s MVP performance at the National Prep Championship:
Crazy Dunk in Purdue’s exhibition game last year:
Redshirt-Freshman Sasha Stefanovic (6’4, 200)
If Aaron is the 2017 class’s version of Vince, then Sasha is the 2017 version of Dakota Mathias. Both Sasha and Dakota were pure scorers in high-school who failed to reach 4-star status because their lack of “must-have” athleticism. They are under-the-radar achievements for both guys as well. Dakota “shared Ohio division II player of the year honors with All-American Luke Kennard after pouring in 27.7 points per game” (via maxpreps) and Sasha was name the Post-Tribune player of the year after averaging “19.9 points, 6.9 rebounds, 1.9 assists and 1.5 steals”. What allowed for Dakota to turn into a defensive marksman? He credits Rapheal Davis (2015 Big Ten defensive player of the year) and Purdue for teaching him how to play high-quality defense. Ironically, Raphael was also mainly an offensive player in high school. By practicing under Dakota last year, Sasha should be able to complete a similar trajectory to that of Dakota’s career.
Sasha would’ve probably made the Serbian national team this summer, but his grandfather passed away after Sasha had passed the first cuts, and he decided to leave to join his family in mourning. If he was able to make the team, he would’ve gained a lot of valuable experience playing with a bunch of pros in the FIBA U20 championships, which Serbia has won the gold medal in three appearances since 2007. Although the 2018 addition commences later this week in Germany without our Boilermaker, an international event in Italy, USA East Coast, will likely have both Aaron Wheeler and Sasha.
So yes, Dakota scored in the ballpark of 5 points per game his first two seasons on Purdue’s campus, but found a way to be appreciated by fans in how effective he was at the little things and being effective in short stints. Sasha’s role, like Dakota’s, can afford to take it’s time to develop behind sharp-shooting guards Carsen Edwards and Ryan Cline, but if he’s able to beat out Eric Hunter Jr. for that third “shooter” role, then there’ll definitely be a solid baseline for growth once Ryan Cline (graduation) and Carsen (NBA) depart Purdue.
Realistic Projection: 4.5 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist
Kobe-esque Goal: 8 points, 4.5 rebounds, 2.5 assists
Stefanovic showing off his shooting-skills at the Circle City Hoop Fest 2 years ago:
Getting to Know Sasha: https://purduesports.com/news/2017/10/11/Getting_to_Know_Sasha_Stefanovic.aspx
Evan ”The Transfer” Boudreaux (6’8, 220)
First of all, Evan Boudreaux is what we call a driven man, and an article from the Journal & Courier delves into that more if your curious. Basically Evan comes from a well-off family and doesn’t believe he should be slighted for it. Evan’s work ethic is so strong that he graduated from Dartmouth in three years after sitting out this past season to maintain two years of eligibility. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a recruit graduate early in order to be immediately eligible at his next school, but Evan did it in order to go from the Ivy League to the 2017 Big Ten champs.
Not only is Evan here at Purdue after all that hard work, but it would be considered an upset at this point if he’s not in the starting lineup from day one. It doesn’t hurt that Boudreaux was named the “13th most complete player in college basketball” after just his freshman year at Dartmouth. If your skeptical or amazed by this keep in mind that Evan averaged “17.7 points and 9.4 rebounds per game as a freshman, shooting 45.5 percent overall and 40.6 percent from three-point range.” and that NBA players Trevon Bluiett, Dillon Brooks, Melo Trimble, Kelan Martin, London Perrantes and Yante Maten were all listed as “honorable mentions” on this top 20 complete players according to Bleacher Report.
After reading that your probably curious how he did in his sophomore year, and the answer is more of the same as displayed by his 2-year average of 17.6 points and 9.5 rebounds. Boudreaux’s stats probably could’ve taken an increase from his freshman year if he would have had a better team around him. But for a guy who works his butt-off, wins didn’t magically appear for Dartmouth. Not winning won’t cut it for anyone who works as hard as him. But especially when his goal is to reach the NCAA tournament, saying goodbye to Dartmouth and their 10-win seasons was probably an easy decision. For the first time in his college career, Evan boudreaux has that chance. All he has to do is excel at the work-ethic that got him to this point, and the NCAA tournament will include Evan Boudreaux in it’s “one shining moment.”
Realistic Projection: 11 points, 6.5 rebounds, 1 assist
Kobe-Esque Goal: 16 points, 10 rebounds, 3 assists
Some highlights from his Dartmouth Career:
Kyle King (6’6, 215)
This guy is reminding me a bit of Grady Eifert.
- First similarity between the two is measurables where both stand at about 6’6 and 220 pounds
- Second similarity is high-school production
Grady: 15.8 ppg, 8 rpg, 2.3 apg, 2.2 spg, 35-40% from 3
Kyle: 16 ppg, 9 rpg, 4.5 apg, 35-40% from 3
- Thirdly both have a rather cool connection to Purdue
Grady: Parents (Greg and Julie) and sister went to Purdue. Father Greg played on the Purdue basketball team from 1980-83 and his brother (Tyler) went to Notre Dame and plays tight end for the Bengals (Pro bowler in 2015).
Kyle: Grandson of George King – Purdue’s basketball coach from 1966-72 and athletic director from 1972-92. King coached Purdue to their only NCAA National Championship game in 1969 (Lost to UCLA) in large part due to the play of Purdue Legend Rick Mount. Kyle’s uncle is Gary Danielson, former Purdue and NFL QB, who is currently a broadcaster for CBS.
If Purdue wins a lot and in “big league” fashion you’ll see both Grady and Kyle a lot this season. Share this article if you want to see Kyle and Grady play a lot this season.
Highlights from Kyle’s Junior year below.