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Purdue University

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Michelle Davies | The Journal Gazette
Purdue basketball coach Matt Painter speaks Thursday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne’s 21st annual Steak and Burger Dinner.

Purdue coach excited about recruit from city

Purdue coach Matt Painter thinks incoming freshman Rapheal Davis falls into Chris Kramer’s category.

And it’s not just because both were area players – Davis spent time at South Side and Kramer attended Huntington North – before becoming Boilermakers.

“He’s physically ready to play in the Big Ten,” Painter said of Davis. “Sometimes that can really help you in your adjustment because you’re 6-foot-4, 220, and you can physically guard some people and athletically you belong and it really helps with your adjustment.”

Painter was in Fort Wayne as the keynote speaker Thursday at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Fort Wayne’s 21st annual Steak and Burger Dinner.

“You always reflect back when you were 12 and how cool it was to come to the Boys Club. A lot of mine was through the competition and through the leagues I played in at the Boys Club in Muncie. I looked forward to going in there,” Painter said. “… It was great for me from a competition standpoint, and I met a lot of friends.”

Painter met with reporters after an afternoon ceremony in which Mayor Tom Henry read a proclamation declaring National Boys & Girls Club Week. Painter discussed Davis’ potential impact for the upcoming season.

“He can really put the ball in the basket,” he said of the guard. “There’s times you go to a game and you think he kind of played all right. And then you grab a box score and he had 29 (points). I like guys that play all right and just get 29. That’s something that we need. We need a guy to be able to put the ball in the basket.”

Davis is one of four incoming freshmen for a class ranked No. 20 nationally by Rivals.com. Purdue recently had another spot open up when John Hart announced his intentions to transfer. A senior, Hart will graduate in the summer and will be eligible to play immediately at another NCAA Division I institution should he choose a graduate program not offered at Purdue.

It’s a different transfer scenario, the “permission to contact,” that’s been in the national news lately, most notably surrounding Wisconsin’s Jarrod Uthoff. Painter said there isn’t a blanket answer and situations should be looked at on a “case-by-case” basis.

“You want to be able to recruit kids and feel good about them and have them fight through adversity, but they also should have the right to be happy themselves. Sometimes it just doesn’t work,” Painter said.

“I really don’t have an answer to it. I just try to be straightforward when I recruit guys. I try to be straightforward when we have them. We had a kid Chris Lutz, I really wanted him to stay, but he wasn’t happy. We gave him a blanket release and let him go. Still to this day, I wish he would have stayed. We had a kid, Scott Martin, who went to Notre Dame and did a great job. I wanted him to stay, but he wasn’t happy, so I think you have to be able to let kids go if they don’t want to be there because a lot of times if you fight them to be there after they’ve already mentioned that they don’t, it’s not good for anybody.”

lpope@jg.net

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