First, the Purdue Boilermakers also feature veteran leadership from Trevion Williams.
The big man is the only major player who averaged 15 points, nine rebounds and two assists per game last season. Williams also led the nation in total percentage of team shots taken while on the court, according to KenPom.
But anyone who has watched the FIBA U19 World Cup realized that Purdue was going to become a force to be reckoned with thanks to Jaden Ivey and Zach Edey.
Ivey, 19, helped lead the United States to the gold medal and was one of the most impressive players in the tournament. For 40 minutes, he averaged 29.8 points to complete with 7.3 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.8 steals.
Jaden Ivey’s movie is very interesting. I watch athletics. I see some passing ability. However, can he be a main escort? Your projection changes a lot depending on the answer to that question.
– Stephen Gillaspie (@StephenGHoops) November 2, 2021
While he came off the bench for the first eleven games of his college basketball career, averaging just 7.2 points per game, he ignited it down the stretch. Purdue won each of its last five regular-season games and was particularly effective. Over the course of the last seven games, including the conference and the NCAA tournament, Ivey averaged 17.1 points.
Even though he shot just 25.8 percent from beyond the arc as a freshman, that might not be indicative of his jump shot. Ivey actually shot 31 of 76 (40.8 percent) on 3s for the Indy Heat on the Nike EYBL circuit in 2019, according to Cerebro Sports.
Meanwhile, Edey may be even more dominant just because of her size. The 7-foot-4 (!) Big man averaged a fun 25.6 points, 23.3 rebounds and 3.9 blocks every 40 minutes for Canada during the U19 World Cup.
I think this year we are going to get used to seeing damaged Zach Edey tires.
Watch the conclusion of tonight’s game on B1G + pic.twitter.com/vya9S6jMSy
– Purdue Men’s Basketball (@BoilerBall) November 5, 2021
As a freshman, according to Synergy, he averaged 1.05 points per possession. That ranked in the 90th percentile among all DI college basketball players in 2020-21.
Plus, new senior Sasha Stefanovic can extend the court as he’s shooting 39.4 percent from 3-point range during his first three college basketball seasons.
Purdue is a fashion pick to make a tournament career, but with their star power and experience, I will pick them to win it all. It would be his third Final Four appearance, and his first since 1980, and his first men’s basketball title.
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