Even without Carsen Edwards, Purdue has enough talent and depth returning to be thought highly of heading into the 2019-20 season.
The Boilermakers are ranked No. 23 in the AP men’s basketball preseason Top 25, which was released Monday.
Purdue returns two starters – guard/forward Nojel Eastern and center Matt Haarms — and seven players overall from a team that finished 26-10 and reached the Elite Eight for the first time since 2000. The big question next season will be how the Boilermakers will replace the production of Edwards, who led the Big Ten in scoring at 24.3 points per game last season before leaving school as a junior and being picked in the second round of the NBA Draft by the Boston Celtics.
Purdue coach Matt Painter has said it will take a collective effort to replace Edwards, and several sophomores showed the ability to put the ball in the basket during Purdue’s Fan Day intrasquad scrimmage Saturday. Sophomore guard Sasha Stefanovic scored 16 points, going 4-of-7 from 3-point land. Sophomore forward Aaron Wheeler added 15 points while sophomore point guard Eric Hunter had 13 points, five assists and four rebounds. Guard Jahaad Proctor, a graduate transfer who averaged 19.4 points last year at High Point, had 12 points.
Purdue is one of four Big Ten teams in the preseason AP Top 25. Michigan State is the preseason No. 1 team in the country, receiving 60 of 65 first-place votes. Maryland is ranked No. 7, and Ohio State is ranked No. 18.
Indiana, coming off a 19-16 season that ended in the quarterfinals of the NIT, is not ranked and did not receive any votes in the Top 25. The Hoosiers played a closed scrimmage Sunday, falling 72-69 to Marquette. Senior starting guard Devonte Green and sophomore starting point guard Rob Phinisee sat out the game for precautionary reasons. Freshman guard Armaan Franklin led four scorers in double-figures with 14 points, with junior guard Al Durham adding 11 points and four assists. Graduate transfer center Joey Brunk had 11 points and seven rebounds, and freshman forward Trayce Jackson-Davis also had 11 points.
Indiana got to the line frequently but was unable to convert, going 24-of-43 from the foul line.