Nov. 14, 1997

Purdue Signs Three to Letters of Intent

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue men's basketball coach Gene Keady has announced the signing of center John Allison, guard Maynard Lewis and forward Rodney Smith to the National Letter of Intent to attend Purdue starting in the fall of 1998.

"The thing I like about the group is that they're all different positions, so it gives you nice balance for the team next year. The second thing that I like about them is that they are good academically. They have great families, and I really like that. Taking everything into consideration, we're very happy about who we signed."

The 6-10, 215-pound Allison is a native of New Palestine, Ind. As a junior, Allison averaged 10.8 points, 9.1 rebounds, 6.4 blocks and 2.6 assists for 13-11 New Palenstine High. The Dragons won the 1997 Greenfield Sectional Championship. Recruiting analyst Van Coleman of Future Stars rates Allison somewhere between 100-150 nationally.

"He's a center, and we like the way he competes, and he blocks shots and he's is big," says Keady. "We're very lucky to get him."

Lewis is a 6-1, 170 pounder from Terre Haute, Ind., South High. As a junior, he averaged 21.1 points, 6.0 rebounds, 4.0 assists, shot 53.7 percent from the field and 73.9 from the free throw line for his team, which finished 18-6 after losing in the regionals to eventual state champion Bloomington North. Lewis was named to the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association All-Underclassmen Team and was an Associated Press third-team all-state pick. Lewis scored 1,191 points in three varsity seasons, and has scored at least 30 points four times and at least 20 points 29 times. Coleman ranks Lewis between 90-100 nationally.

"I think he is one of the best guards in the nation, so I am hgappy to sign him," says Keady. "I think he will be a tremendous athlete in our press and fast break. He has a good attitude and I like his demeanor on the court."

Smith is a 6-6, 205-pound explosive athlete from Indianapolis, Ind., Pike High. He plays for Coach Alan Darner, who is the father of former Purdue guard Linc Darner (1991-94). As a junior, Smith averaged 12.5 points and 6.3 rebounds. He had 15 blocks in 20 games, shot 51 percent from the field and 65 percent from the free throw line. As a sophomore, Smith 12.0 points and 7.0 rebounds. He finished fifth in the annual IHSAA-Farm Bureau Insurance Slam Dunk contest during the stae finals last march in the RCA Dome. He is rated between 75-100 by most recruiting analysts.

"Another great athlete," says Keady. "This young man can be a very good forward here with a lot of work, on the weights and just being part of our program."