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It Will Take Patience

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I have to admit, I didn't expect this type of start to the season. On the other hand, I don't know what I expected. It's just so rare to lose three of four at the beginning of the year, including a loss at home.

To be fair, it took some extraordinary circumstances to be 1-3 at this point. Purdue had a chance to win all four games, but there isn't a need to point out how that may have happened. It didn't!

Coach Painter said this week that he feels his team is searching for an identity. No argument here. My early opinion is that the start is more a result of a system issue than anything else. Yes, the team is young and inexperienced, but it just hasn't had time to properly understand what is needed of them within the team concept. Sometimes when you think too much, other aspects of your game can be affected.

I think this team will be good in time, but it will take patience.

Also, remember that the coaching staff is using an incredible amount of different combinations involving nearly the whole roster. In time, that will be pared down and every player will have a defined role. I wouldn't venture a guess as to when that may happen.

I'm also not convinced that the shooting woes will continue from the three-point arc and the foul line. My experience tells me that statistics usually settle in after 12 games. Free throw numbers will improve when a player gets more minutes. Like anything else, it's hard to get into rhythm when you're only taking a few shots a game.

I think it's fair to say that D.J. Byrd and Terone Johnson haven't started well. This will change. Terone's ankle injury hasn't helped him in the early going.

So, what's on the horizon? Working together to get better, I assume. This year's Boilermakers have some interesting parts. As was demonstrated in the Oregon State game, A.J. Hammons could be a star. That's up to him, because he certainly has the talent he displayed at Madison Square Garden. He also has plenty of company in the talent department.

Attitude and work ethic lead to victories. Some teams understand that, some don't. Bottom line: when this team grows up and does the right thing, victories will follow. It sounds simplistic, but it's true.

Some other thoughts:

Good luck to the football team against Indiana.

Like a lot of people, I was surprised to see the Big Ten add Maryland, and potentially Rutgers, to the conference. Let's face it, there are no geographical boundaries any longer, and expanding into those markets will increase the Big Ten brand.

To all those Boilermaker fans out there, have a safe and joyous Thanksgiving!

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