Freshman wall? Maybe. Struggles that come with being a freshman against Big Ten competition? Certainly.
Tough times have found Purdue freshman Bryson Scott, just as they have for so many Boilers entering today's regular season finale with Northwestern. How Scott, a prolific high school scorer at Northrop, responds to it will determine if he will be the Boilers' point guard of the future, or switch to shooting guard.
“I don't know,” coach Matt Painter said. “You need your point guard to make good decisions. He's struggled with that. He has the ability to do it, but he has to want to do it.”
In the last three games, Scott has totaled five points, eight turnovers and two assists. He is 1-for-7 from the field.
As a result, he's played just 10 minutes in each of those games, well off his season average of 15.9.
“He has handled most competitive situations by just getting the ball and going,” Painter said. “You can't do that at this level. The decision making on when to pass and when to shoot, on when to go and when not to, has been a challenge for him.
“That's OK. You know what your challenge is. Now let's work on getting that fixed. Let's embrace that. At times he has, at times he hasn't. That's what's led to his inconsistent minutes.”
For the season Scott has 42 assists and 42 turnovers. Ideally you want your point guard with at least twice as many assists than turnovers. He averages 6.4 points and 2.6 rebounds. He has a team-leading 28 steals. He's played in all 30 games, starting two.
Scott has had big moments. He scored a career-high 18 points against Oklahoma State in late November. That was part of five straight double-figure scoring games. He's scored in double figures 10 times overall, three times in Big Ten play, with a high of 13 at Nebraska.
Against Eastern Illinois he had 14 points, six rebounds and four steals.
But the last two weeks have been especially tough.
“He just has to keep plugging,” Painter said. “Take care of the ball. Make good decisions. It's been a learning process for him. It's been hard for him.
“He did some good things (against Wisconsin on Wednesday), but he has to be able to play 10 minutes and not turn it over. He's got to play 20 minutes and not turn it over. When he does those things and takes good shots, he's going to play more.
“He has a lot of ability. He gives good effort. He likes basketball. He's competitive. He has to take care of the ball and take good shots and do his job defensively. Once he becomes a student of the game, he'll take off as a player. Until then he'll be inconsistent. He has to dive into the nuances of the game.”
Seniors Travis Carroll, Terone Johnson, Errick Peck and Sterling Carter are set to play in their final regular season home game today.
Carroll will wind up his career with his worst individual numbers, but his biggest team impression. He's played in 24 games, averaging just 7.0 minutes, 1.3 points and 1.3 rebounds.
But Carroll's impact, Painter said, goes way beyond that.
“He's been great. He's been one of the best leaders we've had here in 10 years. He's always been positive. He stays with it. He kept practicing hard. He kept putting extra time in. He's always ready when his name is called. He always has a positive word.
“He does what he's supposed to. He's not a guy you have to fight. He's embraced his role. When you get to that spot as a senior, you've matured. You start to understand what the coaches are talking about. You carry out what they want. He's overachieved in what he's accomplished at Purdue. You look at his numbers and that might sound shocking, but he's done the best he could do. He kept a great attitude.”
While Johnson became the 47th Boiler to surpass 1,000 career points, Carroll was barely able to get past 200. It didn't matter, Painter said.
“He overachieved in his effort and having a good attitude and being a company guy. He over achieved in wanting what's best for Purdue.We live in a such an individualistic society and basketball culture. Having a guy like that is a breath of fresh air. He's the epitome of what Purdue is about. Whatever he does, he will be successful.”
Johnson is one of just nine players in school history with 1,000 points (1,288), 400 rebounds (465) and 250 (292) assists. He's one of seven Boilermakers to rank in the top 30 in career points and the top 20 in career assists.
Johnson leads the team in scoring (12.1) and is second in assists (70).
Peck and Carter are fifth year senior transfers. Peck averages 4.5 points and 4.5 rebounds. Carter, who has missed the last three games with a torn ACL that will require after-season surgery, averages 4.8 points and 1.8 rebounds.