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March 10, 2008

Four Boilermakers, Painter earn Big Ten honors

Coach Matt Painter doesn't put much stock in awards, other than to say that getting them means your team's a winner.

Take his Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year honor, for example, which he won after his Boilermakers finished second to Wisconsin in the league standings.

"I'd love to trade the Coach-of-the-Year award for the Big Ten title," Painter said, "but I don't think Coach (Bo) Ryan will go for that."

Painter was just one of a handful of Boilermaker honorees cited Monday night, when the Big Ten announced its all-league teams and postseason awards.

Below is a look at Purdue's honorees.

Robbie Hummel
First-Team All-Big Ten(Coaches)
First-Team All-Big Ten (Media)
Big Ten All-Freshman Team

Hummel proved to be one of the top freshmen not only in the Big Ten, but in all of college basketball.

In overall games, he averaged 11.7 points, second most on the team, and 5.9 rebounds, a team-high. He also led Purdue in field-goal percentage (49.8) and led the Big Ten in three-point percentage (45.8).

He finished second in free-throw percentage (85.4, third in the Big Ten), steals (40) and blocks (19), while placing third in assists (80) and boasting an assist-to-turnover ratio of nearly 2-to-1 as one of Purdue's primary ball-handlers.

Beyond statistics, though, Hummel often played his best in Purdue's biggest games.

During Purdue's stretch of back-to-back wins over top-10 opponents in February, Hummel dropped 21 points on 8-of-12 shooting in the Boilermakers' improbable win at Wisconsin.

Days later, he scored 24 with 11 rebounds against Michigan State in Mackey Arena.

In Purdue's first win over the Badgers, it was Hummel's last-second blocked shot that secured the pivotal victory of the eventual league champ.

Hummel - the first Purdue true freshman since the modern era of freshman eligibility to be named first-team all-league - has drawn staggering praise for his performance this year.

He's one of 10 finalists for the Oscar Robertson Trophy and one of 24 contenders for the Wooden Award. Both honors are given to the national player-of-the-year.

"He's very deserving," Painter said. "He's a very good all-around player. He's a guy that does just a little of everything and helps you win games with his overall play.

"He passes the ball, he has a good assist/turnover ratio, he knows what's going on and he has a competitive edge to where he's always trying to be better. Even in wins, he's dissecting his play and trying to help Purdue win basketball games."

E'Twaun Moore
Second-Team All-Big Ten (Coaches)
Second-Team All-Big Ten (Media)
Big Ten All-Freshman Team

The last time a true freshman led Purdue in scoring: Never. It's never happened since freshmen began eligible in '72-73.

That's just what Moore did, though, pouring in 12.4 per game, more than 14 in Big Ten play.

He also ranked among the league's best three-point shooters, at 42.6 percent.

Moore was far more than just a scorer for Purdue, however; he tied for second on the team in rebounding (3.8) and third in steals (30), while also handed out 81 assists, second only to Kramer.

Talk about consistency: He scored in double-figures in 15 out of 18 league games - he scored nine in the other three - with three 20-plus-point outings.

Chris Kramer
Big Ten Defensive Player-of-the-Year
Third-Team All-Big Ten (Media)
Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten (Coaches)

Kramer, Purdue's sophomore captain, made his name as a defensive menace above all else.

Boasting a résumé of shutdowns that would read like a who's-who of Big Ten perimeter scorers, Kramer always drew the assignment of stopping the other team's best outside scorer.

Usually, he did it.

Oh, and he led the Big Ten in steals by a longshot, averaging 2.23 in overall games.

He also led Purdue in assists with 86.

Kramer was the first Boilermaker to win Defensive Player-of-the-Year since Kenneth Lowe won it in both '03 and '04.

"It's a great award for Chris," said Painter, who's lobbied for Kramer most of the season. "He sacrificed a lot for our team with his defensive effort. He closes on the basketball when it's loose, he takes the challenge when you put him on the best perimeter player. He's just a good overall defender and I'm proud of him for everything he's accomplished, and for everybody in the media and the coaches for having Kramer and (Wisconsin's) Michael Flowers on the lists. People who are voting are valuing defense, and that's very important."

Keaton Grant
Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten (Coaches)
Honorable-Mention All-Big Ten (Media)

Grant's emergence into a big-time shooter came from out of nowhere.

An afterthought for opposing defenses on the perimeter last year, Grant blew up as a sophomore, averaging 10.7 points. His 44.6-percent shooting from long range ranked him third in the Big Ten.

He, too, came up big in big games; his back-to-back 22-point games carried Purdue to consecutive wins at Iowa and against Illinois earlier in the season, and his last-second drive and free throw won the second Iowa game. Just this past Saturday, a second-half three-point barrage helped propel Purdue past Michigan.

Coach Matt Painter
Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year (Coaches)
Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year (Media)

In his third year as Purdue's head coach, Painter took a team that one time early in the season started four freshmen and a sophomore - with half its roster made up of first-year players - and finished 24-7 overall and 15-3 in the Big Ten, good for second place, just one game behind outright league champion Wisconsin. At Christmas, Purdue was 7-4.

"It's really not a personal award," Painter said. "It means you have very good players and you have very good assistant coaches.

"For me, on a personal level, I hope a lot of athletic directors across the country realize that we have some pretty talented assistants that are going to be fine head coaches.

"(The award) doesn't really mean a whole lot to me because our goal this year wasn't to be first-team all-conference or being coach-of-the-year; the goal was to win the Big Ten. I'm proud of our guys for their effort. We came up a little bit short. Hopefully next year we can be a little bit better and win the Big Ten."

Gene Keady won Big Ten Coach-of-the-Year in 2000, so Painter ended a nearly decade-long drought.

Riddell Honored, Too

Boilermaker junior guard Bobby Riddell was Purdue's recipient of the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award.

One player from each school receives the award, which is based on academics, service and other such factors.

Riddell's one of three Boilermakers who've earned Academic All-Big Ten acclaim, joining Kramer and senior Tarrance Crump.

First-year players are not eligible for Academic All-Big Ten. If they were, 10 of Purdue's 16 players would have the necessary 3.0-plus GPA.





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