INDIANAPOLIS — The Purdue basketball program returns several key contributors for the 2021-22 season, but they can't all be on the floor at the same time. Coach Matt Painter knows that, and he addressed managing a talented roster Friday during Big Ten Basketball Media Days at Gainbridge Fieldhouse.
"Each one of our guys, they want to play, and they want to be a big part of us playing," Painter said. "We're going to have to have some sacrifice within our team, like any team that's successful. I think the keys don't come down to the talent, the keys come down to the production from that talent, and the sacrifices you have to make to be on a team. And that's hard to do.
"But we've got a group of guys right now that are working really hard and putting in a lot of time just trying to get better each day. And I think what happens sometimes when you get picked to be one of the better teams, your management of that ends up being really crucial in terms of your success."
The Boilermakers are coming off an 18-10 season, which included a 13-6 mark in the Big Ten Conference. The team earned a No. 4 seed in the NCAA Tournament, but its run ended abruptly in the first round with a loss to North Texas in overtime.
Purdue's top-eight scorers from the 2020-21 season are back this season, led by senior Trevion Williams. The 6-foot-10 forward averaged 15.5 points per game as a junior and finished as one of the top rebounders in the Big Ten.
Williams, who tested the waters at the professional level, will pair with rising stars Jaden Ivey and Zach Edey. The two sophomores had successful outings in the 2021 U19 FIBA World Cup in Latvia this summer.
Ivey helped lead the USA team to a gold medal, and Edey led the entire tournament in rebounding.
A debilitating loss can fragment teams, especially after losing players to graduation or the transfer portal. However, Purdue was fortunate to return all of its starters from a year ago while holding onto a strong group of role players.
There are high expectations for Painter and this Boilermakers team. They have aspirations of returning to the Final Four, so the group of familiar faces will look to learn from last season's defeat and come back to put themselves in a better position to succeed.
"It wasn't something that we took lightly," Painter said. "We knew North Texas was very, very good. But that's part of March Madness, but we've really tried to magnify some of the things that we struggled with in that game, and hopefully it can make us a better team and a better program."
- PURDUE BASKETBALL FAN DAY DETAILS: The Purdue men's and women's basketball teams will have their yearly Fan Day on Oct. 16 at Mackey Arena. The event will feature autograph signings, practice and a scrimmage. CLICK HERE
- PURDUE 2021-22 TIPOFF TIMES ANNOUNCED: The Big Ten Conference released several tipoff times and television designations ahead of Purdue's 2021-22 basketball season. Here is the complete Purdue Boilermakers basketball schedule. CLICK HERE
- MATT PAINTER SPEAKS AFTER FIRST OFFICIAL PRACTICE: Purdue coach Matt Painter discussed injuries, lineups and the freshman class after the team's first official practice Tuesday. CLICK HERE