Indiana Basketball All-Star Week is upon us, with the first event being the Junior-Senior Exhibition Game for both boys and girls. This double-header was littered with future Boilermakers, featuring 7 and possibly more with several uncommitted players participating.
The ladies kicked things off and were followed by the boy¨s game.
Girls Game: Seniors: 94, Juniors 69
Jayla Smith: The 2021 Indiana Miss Basketball winner headlined the girl¨s roster, and did not disappoint. She led the team with 16 points on 6-13 shooting from the field after a cold start to the game. Smith also finished with a team-high 6 assists to go along with 5 rebounds and 4 steals. I was very impressed with her play tonight, struggling to find her shot in the early going, she impacted the game in many ways and did not force up bad shots.
Lilly Stoddard: Stoddard suited up for the junior squad tonight and had a rough go of it. The 6¨4 Purdue commit shot just 1-7 from the field and hauled in 4 rebounds in 15 minutes of work. She will still have another year to develop her skills and prepare for the Big Ten, but tonight just wasn¨t her night.
Boys Game: Seniors: 127, Juniors 106
Caleb Furst: The 2021 Indiana Mr. Basketball was as phenomenal as advertised tonight. He simply had his way no matter where he found himself, dropping 22 points on 9-14 shooting from the field including 1-3 from three-point range and a perfect 3-3 from the free-throw line. He also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, while dishing out 5 assists as well. It was easy to see why Furst won Mr. Basketball, as his feel for the game and raw talent showed throughout the night. Hitting a three-pointer, all three of his free throws, and a couple of mid-range jumpers was huge to see. If that is something he can do consistently next year for Purdue… watch out.
Trey Kaufman-Renn: Matt Painter¨s other four-star recruit in the 2021 class also had himself an impressive night alongside his future teammates. The 6¨9 forward scored 22 points on 8-13 shooting from the floor and connected on 6 of 9 free-throw attempts. He finished second on the team in rebounds with 9 and added in 3 assists for good measure. In-person, Kaufman-Renn quietly had a very stellar performance tonight. I would have liked to see him stretch the floor a little bit more, but he was able to take advantage of mismatches and score around the rim with ease.
Brian Waddell: I was not sure what to expect from the surprise commit hailing from the home of one Ryan Cline, and many left with no answers. Waddell had a quiet night, with just 2 points, 2 rebounds, and an assist. He didn¨t make any impact in any area, but that could have just been the circumstances in which he found himself. A redshirt season will be very valuable for him as he grows into his frame and sharpens his skills.
Fletcher Loyer: To watch one of the best shooting recruits in the Matt Painter era live was something else. Loyer finished the game with 15 points on 6-12 shooting, including two splashes from distance. His first two buckets were both off the dribble, pull-up jumpers in a defender¨s face, which is something the Boilermakers currently lack on the roster and attacked the rim on a few occasions. Loyer has been marked as a shooter, but his offensive arsenal is wider than people may think.
Braden Smith: Not many Purdue fans knew about Smith at the time of his commitment to the program. After watching him tonight I think that he will be a fan favorite amongst Boilermakers and a hated player by other schools and their fanbases. In 22 minutes of play, he scored 2 points but hauled in a team-high 9 rebounds and 5 assists. This kid just makes plays, simple as that. Defensively he was all over the place wreaking havoc and jamming the ball which is something he will be used to at Purdue. He was more focused on creating opportunities for his teammates tonight, and with his supporting cast makes sense. I will be interested to see him live in high school ball to see his scoring touch moving forward.
Both of the senior squads will be heading down south to take on the Kentucky All-Stars on Friday, followed by another matchup on Saturday at Southport in Indianapolis.