Purdue Coach Matt Painter Praises Caleb Furst's High Character: 'He's the Best'

Caleb Furst sacrificed a starting role during Purdue's 2023-24 basketball season. It selflessness helped get the Boilermakers to a Final Four. Coach Matt Painter praised Furst for his high character and hopes the forward has a big year in 2024-25.
Dec 29, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Purdue Boilermakers forward Caleb Furst (1) shoots the
Dec 29, 2023; West Lafayette, Indiana, USA; Purdue Boilermakers forward Caleb Furst (1) shoots the / Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports
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In today's era of college basketball, it would've been easy for Purdue forward Caleb Furst to enter his name into the transfer portal, explore other options and commit to a program that would allow him more playing time. Instead, the junior from Fort Wayne made a huge sacrifice for the program, and coach Matt Painter is incredibly proud of the selflessness Furst showed throughout the season.

Furst, a starter for the Boilermakers during the 2022-23 season, had a significantly reduced role last season. Playing behind Zach Edey and Trey Kaufman-Renn, the junior saw less time on the court. He played in 36 games but averaged just 8.9 minutes per contest.

During an appearance at a Big Brothers Big Sisters event, Painter praised Furst for his attitude throughout the year.

"Caleb, you know, he's the best," Painter said in a video posted by Josh Ayen of WANE 15 . "He's a great guy, he's worked very hard and ... you have to understand, everybody's value on the team was the value with Zach Edey. So like, sometimes that's not fair. For him, he's a good player, but it got into a numbers crunch and it was really hard.

"He kept a great attitude, a positive attitude, really showed his true character. Because, in those situations when you're competitive, you can be a distraction. And he wasn't. It's not something you have to agree with, but it's something you have to be professional with because you don't want to take away from the team. "

Furst averaged 2.4 rebounds and 2.2 points per game for the Boilers last season. The team went 34-5 and reached the national championship, the program's first trip since the 1968-69 season.

A year ago, Furst averaged 5.5 points and 4.6 rebounds per contest. While there's no guarantee he'll be a starter again for Purdue, Painter is optimistic that the senior forward can make significant contributions for the team during the 2024-25 season.

"Now, he'll have more of an opportunity with Zach Edey going to the NBA Draft. Hopefully he takes that opportunity and keeps working and has a great senior year for us."

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Dustin Schutte