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Painter demands upsurge in energy

Purdue men’s basketball coach Matt Painter has made honesty with his players a priority this offseason.

Brutal honesty, in fact.

“I think they respect that,” Painter said during a teleconference Tuesday. “I just want them to register on the give-a-damn meter.”

After a 16-18 season full of inconsistency and a lack of effort, the Boilermakers needed the wakeup call.

Purdue brings in three freshmen, including Northrop standout Bryson Scott, and will have four returning starters from this year’s team for next season. Departures by Sandi Marcius, Jacob Lawson and Anthony Johnson have brought the roster to 10, with two seniors and no juniors.

Painter, though, is optimistic. He has players with chips on their shoulders, he said, and experience in the right spots.

“I do think we have experience with some talented guys who have played major minutes already,” he said. “It’s not somebody who’s subbed in and played 16 minutes, you know? We have four guys that played 30 minutes for us.”

But those players need to recognize the urgency with which they must approach the spring and summer. The Boilermakers will all attend Maymester and summer classes in June and July. They will have individual workouts during that time.

Painter said his players need to show they care about Boiler basketball.

“I think it’s a process,” Painter said. “I don’t think you ever make a guy with a low motor have a high motor, a guy with just bad energy have great energy, but I think you can definitely make strides.”

Consistent energy was a sticking point for Painter this season. It has opened doors for newcomers Scott, Basil Smotherman and Kendall Stephens, as well as Jay Simpson, who was hobbled by a foot injury as a freshman.

“I’m going to start the guys that play the hardest,” Painter said. “We’re not getting the effort needed. I could care less if we go big, small, we play five centers or five point guards.”

Recruiting might not be over for the 2013 class, either. Painter and his staff have reached out to potential fifth-year senior transfers and junior college prospects.

While coaches cannot comment on individual recruits, Painter did acknowledge his program could use a veteran skill player.

“If we can get the right fit with some guys that can play and shoot the basketball and give experience to us, it really helps us,” he said. “We’ve looked at all markets, but it’s also trying to get the right guys.”

Painter also commented on Purdue not paying the $7,000 for Marcius to finish classes at Purdue.

“He voluntarily withdrew from our team, so I think that’s where it stands at this point,” Painter said. “Now he wants us to pay for his school after the fact. … Nobody told him he had to leave. We wanted him to stay. That was a decision that he made.”

smorrison@jg.net

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