This last weekend Matt Painter capped off an amazing 2013 recruiting class, using the final scholarship on blue chip Kentucky power forward Derek Willis.
Hearing about Willis leaves Purdue fans salivating over what could be a big-time player in a big-time class. The ESPN four-star recruit(48 nationally) is 15 years-old, 6’9 and weighs 185 lbs. He currently wears a size 18 shoe and has a 7’1 wingspan. Jeff Washburn‘s recent blog on Willis quoted Willis’ head coach Troy Barr saying “The amazing thing is that he hasn’t had one growth spurt yet.” As a sophomore at Bullitt East High School in Kentucky, Willis averaged 13.5 points-per-game, 8.5 rebounds-per-game, and 4.4 blocks-per-game.
Willis should blossom into a great Purdue player because of his ability to create a mismatch. At 6’9 he will likely play the 4(power forward) but could play a 3(small forward) assuming he doesn’t grow any more. ESPN says, “ He is a good athlete that has an advanced offensive skill level for a player his size in his age group. He is an outstanding shooter with a quick release that has range out behind the 3-point arc.” He was entertaining offers from Purdue and Indiana, and other schools (Kentucky, Louisville, Xavier, Oklahoma St.) showed interest.
As of this point, all 13 scholarships are filled through the 2013 season, but Painter is still heavily recruiting for the class of 2011 and 2012 which leads Boilermaker nation to think that someone will be transferring after the spring semester.
The book is closed on a magnificent 2013 class that will feature a new player at four different positions. Coupled alongside the 2012 class, Purdue is building a program that will be here to stay. Currently six of the seven recruits of the two classes are four star ranked and each member in the class of 2013 is ranked in the top 50 in the nation.
In the class of 2012, Indiana may very well have the number one recruiting class in the nation that is getting tons of attention because four of the five players are all from the Indianapolis area. Most people in Indianapolis are overlooking what the Boilers have coming in in 2012 alone. With potential room for one more, the Boilers currently have commitments from guys in Ft. Wayne, Illinois, and Ohio. Being from Ft. Wayne, not many people realize Rapheal Davis may be the best player in the state of Indiana. In the last six months, the 6-5 shooting guard has scored 50 points twice and 67 once. 6’9, 235 lb. power forward Jay Simpson has made a name for himself in Illinois and is currently the states number one recruit in the 2012 class. Simpson shined in Merriville last weekend and is quickly climbing the top 150 charts. The last player(currently) in the 2012 class is Kyle Molock from Dublin, Ohio. Molock is recovering from an ACL injury but before the injury, he was considered the top point guard in Ohio.
In 2013, the Boilers are bringing in what should be a top 5 recruiting class that is being compared to the baby Boilers class of 2007. By rankings alone, the 2013 class tops the 2007 class. In 2007, Rob Hummel was ranked 76th overall, Scott Martin 75th, JaJuan Johnson 42nd, and Etwaun Moore 35th. In 2013, the Boilers have commitments from Kendall Stephens who is 49th overall, Derek Willis is 48th, Bryson Scott is 41st, and Basil Smotherman is 26th. Stephens, 6’5, is a silky smooth shooting guard who has a 6’9 wingspan. He hasn’t really burst onto the scene until recently and started getting some interest from Duke before he committed to Purdue. Scott, the first 2013 commit, is a pure point guard who loves contact and can get to the rim. Smotherman may be the top recruit of the class and at 6’4 has the ability to play shooting guard or small forward.
There is no doubt that coach Matt Painter is expanding his recruiting empire. Pulling a kid out of Kentucky with a high level of talent is a very tough thing to do. Although 2012 and 2013 are very far away, Purdue fans can rest assured that the Boilermakers are here and they aren’t going anywhere for a long time.