We now turn to senior Terone Johnson, a highly recruited player envisioned to be E’Twaun Moore’s replacement at shooting guard who, though he has experienced some ups and downs, has been a steady and significant presence for the Boilermakers, and is someone of whom much will be expected this season.
What He’s Done
This 6-4, 198lb guard, built like a steam engine, powered Purdue’s offense last season in what was his breakout season. Despite the poor team performance, Terone was a bright spot, going for 13.5 pts, 4.7 rbs, and 2.9 ast per game, good enough for third team All-Big Ten as voted by the coaches, and Honorable Mention as voted by the media. Johnson has played significant since a freshman, including nearly 20 minutes a game on a loaded 2010-11 squad that featured two future NBA players. With Terone it has also felt like he was on the cusp of doing something significant, breaking out and becoming a Purdue star in his own right. He hasn’t quite reached that point yet, although last year was a tantalizing glimpse into what is possible with him. He has suffered through injuries over the past two seasons, but 2013-14 finds him healthy and very much motivated to ensure that his senior season doesn’t go the way of his junior year. His biggest strength is his defense; he plays hard, on the ball defense, most often against Purdue’s toughest perimeter opponent. His is capable of using his superior strength to muscle his way into position, and he forces opposes players to score over him instead of through him. On offense, his strength against derives from his physicality; he is at his best when he drives to the basket. He’s a very capable rebounder in traffic, and is effective scoring on second-chance opportunities. Both his free throw shooting and his 3-point shooting need work. He has been working on those, as evident by his increased shooting percentage in both last year as compared to his sophomore year (43.5-62.3% FT% and 31-34.6% 3FG%). His career highs are 32 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists (2x), and 3 steals (5x).
What We Can Expect
Leadership is the key for Terone Johnson this season. Purdue is going to have people who can score, rebound, and play tough defense. If he has a bad night, it isn’t going to cripple Purdue like it did last season. But what he needs to be is a strong, vocal leader. This team is young again, and with no seniors in next year’s class, it’s important for Terone to set a positive example and help this young squad mature as quickly as possible, avoiding many of the issues that plagued this team last year. He has already taken on that role in the off-season, speaking very candidly, moreso than in previous seasons, about the source of the team’s failings last year. It was evident that last season’s result really bothered him. It’ll be important for him to be the steady, calm leader that his mentor E’Twaun Moore was, and not let his negative emotions show too much on the court. He is expected to be Purdue’s leading scorer, and will most likely start all season. If his numbers continue to trend upwards, he could put together a special season, especially considering the cast that surrounds him.
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