A year after strengthening the Purdue frontcourt, Boilermaker men's basketball coach Matt Painter turned his attention on Wednesday to making sure that his backcourt was as deep as possible heading into the upcoming seasons.
Painter added three prep perimeter players, including Fort Wayne's Bryson Scott, to the Purdue family on the first day of the national signing period.
Scott, Basil Smotherman and Kendall Stephens comprise a class that is ranked as the 23rd-best in the nation by both Rivals.com and Scout.com.
“With the class before this one having three bigs, we needed to add some depth in our backcourt,” Painter said in a release. “With the signings of Bryson Scott, Basil Smotherman and Kendall Stephens, I think we've been able to land three very good players. They'll not only help us improve our guard play, but they'll give us more options in the backcourt.”
Purdue will lose senior guard Dru Anthrop and swingman D.J. Byrd to graduation following the 2012-13 season and has only awarded 12 of the 13 permissible scholarships for this year's team.
Scott and his twin brother, Brenton, an Indiana State signee, have been mainstays for the successful Northrop program since the first days at the school four years ago. He averaged 25.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game as a junior and led the Bruins to a sectional title.
“Bryson Scott is a player who's very good with the basketball,” Painter said. “He's physical strong, and he's really worked on his perimeter game in terms of becoming a consistent three-point shooter and having an effective pull-up. He's always been a guy who can get to the basket and finish or get to the free throw line, and he really brings tenacity at both ends of the floor.”
Smotherman averaged 9.9 points and 6.3 rebounds per game last season as a junior at Lawrence North, which earned the athletic wing honorable mention AP all-state accolades.
“Basil Smotherman is a very good athlete who can play both forward spots,” Painter said. “He's a guy who is really impressive from a physical standpoint. He's got a big frame, and he's long and athletic. He's continuing to improve his skill set and energy level. I think he could be a high-energy guy who runs the floor, crashes the glass and really defends the wing position.”
The last time that Purdue signed a member of the Stephens family it worked out pretty well. Kendall's father is former Boilermaker great Everette Stephens.
As a junior, Stephens averaged better than 24 points per game as a junior at St. Charles East after logging 17.1 points per contest as a sophomore.
“Kendall Stephens has really made some strides physically, and in his overall game, over the past year,” Painter said. “He's a very good shooter who can catch and shoot out to about 23 or 24 feet. He's really improved in putting the ball and floor and going to his pull-up. His game will continue to improve as he improves physically, and that physical maturity will be a tell-tale for him.”
The three newcomers will join Boilermaker guards Terone Johnson (a current junior), Anthony Johnson (sophomore), Ronnie Johnson (freshman), and former Fort Wayne South Side standout Rapheal Davis (freshman).
“We're excited about all three guys,” Painter said. “They all bring something a little bit different, and they're really going to help us solidify our backcourt.”