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Boiling Point


Painter will decide on Barlow soon

Coach seems to be leaning toward playing freshman

Matt Painter said freshman Kelsey Barlow is probably the most talented guard Purdue has in terms of athleticism and an ability to handle the basketball.

No wonder it's a tough decision on whether to redshirt Barlow.

In one breath, Painter talks about likely playing only eight or nine players in his rotation.

But then he mentions how much he liked the way Michigan State coach Tom Izzo brought some of his freshmen along slowly, playing minutes sparingly early, and then getting them bigger chunks of time late in the year to add some nice options and depth depending on the game.

"It's a hard decision," Painter said after Purdue's victory over Kentucky Wesleyan in its final exhibition game. "It's the first time we've had a decision like this, when you have a guy who can redshirt and can play and you know he's going to play, you just don't know how much."

Barlow can't play a single minute in the regular season without burning his redshirt, according to NCAA rules.

Painter said he'll sit down with his staff in the next couple days to make a decision. He said he'll make one before the team's season opener Friday.

After Purdue's exhibition opener last week, Painter sounded like he was leaning toward a redshirt when he talked how much depth the team has in the backcourt.

But on Monday, Painter seemed to be leaning toward playing Barlow this season.

"It's a tough decision in terms of you want the best for him," Painter said. "But in terms of winning a championship, I don't think it's a tough decision."

Barlow didn't reveal much about what's going through his mind at this point. He said he's trying to stay positive, keep focused on each day and not think of future decisions.

When asked whether he was open to redshirting, he said, "I am. I'm a team player, so I'm pretty open to options."

Barlow was an effective point guard in the two exhibition games, but when Lewis Jackson completes his three-game suspension and returns to the lineup, it's hard to say where Barlow fits.

Keaton Grant or Jackson will start at point guard and the other will be the top option off the bench. It's possible Barlow would play sparingly much of the season and be used only in certain situations.

But it sounds like Painter is OK with that.

"It's tough keeping a lot of people happy, but if you get them to buy into your program and buy into winning a championship and giving yourself to the team, I think (the approach) makes a whole lot of sense," he said.