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Success with and without Johnson

Four times this season, JaJuan Johnson has played 20 minutes or fewer in a game.

Three of those games, including against Tennessee and Alabama, the issue was foul trouble.

Yet, Purdue won all of those games.

Johnson also still averaged 12 points and 4.6 rebounds despite limited minutes, including a 10-point, nine-rebound effort in only 15 minutes against Alabama last week.

So is that a sign that Purdue needs Johnson in the game to win -- or that they can win without him?

That was a question posed to coach Matt Painter this week.

"He played 18 minutes against Tennessee, and we beat them. He played 15 minutes against Alabama on the road, and we beat them," Painter said. "I think if we would have lost both of those games, you would take a step back and say, 'We're having a tough time beating good people without JaJuan Johnson.' But we are beating good people with him playing limited minutes and playing less than half the game.

"It's a great sign for our team and a great sign for our depth and our ability to play a couple different ways. Obviously, you'd like to have him in the lineup. I think his energy on the glass really helped us in the second half (against Alabama). He was fresh and he was able to go out there and still be productive while having fouls."

  • Been getting a good response from the Chris "Kramer Chronicles" video segment that was started a couple weeks ago here. I encourage you to continue to e-mail me at sclardie@jg.net with questions for Kramer. I will probably end up doing installments throughout the season with Kramer just answering those questions.

    I wanted to go ahead and address one myself. One reader asked for Kramer's response to the "rumor" that he would play football for Purdue next season. I talked with Kramer about that at the Big Ten media days, and here's what he said:

    "That's speculation. Somebody made that up. I never said I'm going to play football at the end of the year. Put that in there. Everybody talks about that, but I've never said that. (A reporter) was asking me, and I was like, 'If this happens, if this works out, if this didn't work out, I would think about it.' But (basketball) is what I'm thinking about right now."

    I know Kramer wants to continue to play basketball. So if there's an option to do that after college, I'm guessing that's the route he'd take. If that opportunity doesn't develop, then he'll look for other things. Football could be among those other options. So I'll wait until April to ask him that.

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