Wednesday, October 2, 2013

News and Notes: Wednesday Edition

Below, news and notes for Wednesday...

              Purdue basketball: Errick Peck, Sterling Carter ready for one season with Boilers
              WEST LAFAYETTE — Sterling Carter and Errick Peck had no basketball reservations about joining the Purdue men’s program. Yet both incoming fifth-year senior transfers now admit feeling some trepidation about their outsider status. How would they fit in with an already established group, both on and off the court? That acclimation became easier when Carter and Peck learned they would be roommates for their lone season as Boilermakers. “Him being my roommate and us being in the same situation, it allows us to have somebody there to talk to, to go through it with,” Carter said. “If it was just one of us, it would be kind of hard to talk about it, like, ‘Oh man, I’m new here. I’m a fifth-year; it’s my only season here.’ But there’s two of us, so we kind of bonded together with that. “The team accepted both of us, so that’s all you could ask for, really.” Peck, an Indianapolis native and Cathedral product, was an honorable mention All-Ivy League performer at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Carter played at his hometown Seattle University after a redshirt season at University of the Pacific in Stockton, Calif. From opposite ends of the country, they converged to provide a needed veteran boost to a young Purdue roster. “I’ve had a great time just being around him, learning from him, hearing his story, him hearing mine, sharing with each other,” Peck said of Carter. “It’s been a good time with Sterling this far, and hopefully, we can bring enough leadership to this team and get some more wins this year.” Purdue coach Matt Painter spoke of his team’s immaturity during a 16-18 season. The Boilermakers started three freshmen for most of the season, and the current roster features 10 freshmen and sophomores and one junior, Neal Beshears, who joined the program as a walk-on. So Carter and Peck understand one of their biggest contributions comes from showing younger Boilers the importance of work ethic and handling adversity. “They’ve brought a level of maturity with what they do, as far as setting examples, also, that we didn’t really have last year,” said guard Terone Johnson, the lone returning senior aside from Travis Carroll. “The maturity they’ve brought during the offseason and now has really helped the youngsters.” As one might expect from a Cornell grad, basketball intelligence is a big part of Peck’s game. But Carter said the 6-foot-6, 223-pound forward is a “quiet killer” whose strength and intensity surpass what some might expect from his physique. The Boilermakers hope Carter, a 6-0, 193-pound guard, provides critical help as a perimeter shooter and pressure defender. He also isn’t shy about sharing his college odyssey with his young teammates. “My situation wasn’t bad, but being at three different schools in five years is not ideal for a player,” Carter said. “But at the same time, I had to do what I had to do and weathered the storm, and I’m here and I’m happy where I’m at now.“Sharing that with younger guys puts them in a mindset like, ‘I want to do better than he did starting out.’ That’s what I try to push in them and pressure them in practice and stuff like that, on and off the court.”
              A pair of fifth-year seniors are looking to inject leadership into the Purdue basketball program in their first year in West Lafayette.
              Sterling Carter and Errick Peck transferred to Purdue from Seattle and Cornell, respectively, in the offseason.
              “I feel as us being older guys, it’s just natural for us to want to explain to the younger guys that we’ve been there and done that,” Carter said. “We may not have played in the Big Ten or at Purdue, but we have a lot of experience under our belt.”
              Peck said he feels like the old man of the team among a roster that includes just two returning scholarship players that are juniors or seniors.
              “I’m trying to instill working hard day after day,” Peck said. “I have problems with that myself, so it’s kind of like we’re helping each other out in the process.”
              Terone Johnson, one of Purdue’s two seniors along with Travis Carroll, said Purdue has accepted the newcomers’ leadership.
              “They set examples, something we didn’t really have last year as much,” Johnson said. “The maturity they brought in the offseason and now has really helped the youngsters.”
              Peck and Carter will look to provide maturity on the court for a Purdue team plagued by turnovers in 2012-13, averaging 12.6 per game.
              “Basketball IQ is a big part of my game,” Peck said. “I’m not as athletic as I once was ... but I’ve become more mature and know what people are going to do on the floor.”
              Peck brings versatility to the floor with his ability to defend both forward spots, score and rebound.
              The Indianapolis, Ind., native averaged 9.7 points and 4.8 rebounds last season at Cornell to earn honorable mention All-Ivy League honors.
              “I’ll do whatever needs to be done,” Peck said. “If there’s scoring that day, I’ll rebound the basketball and go play some defense. If they need me to score, I’ll be more than happy to do that as well.”
              Peck has familiarity with head coach Matt Painter’s program as he played with or against several current Boilermakers growing up in Indianapolis.
              “My house is an hour away, so I know what Purdue basketball is about and has been about,” Peck said.
              Carter gives Painter a third point guard who can provide defensive pressure alongside Ronnie Johnson and Bryson Scott.
              “It gives us the opportunity to put a fresh guy on the ball handler every other possession and not make us tired, but make them tired,” Carter said.
              The Seattle, Wash., native has experience with the full-court press from his time at Seattle, which the Purdue coaching staff emphasized as a major role for him throughout the recruiting process.
              “You can’t learn how to play full-court defense in a year,” Carter said. “You have to have the mind to want to do it and the mind to be able to do it, and I think I have that.”
              Carter could also help Purdue with its perimeter shooting after he made 69 of 190 three-pointers in 2011-12 for Seattle. The Boilermakers made just 145 three-pointers last season, the least in the Big Ten.
              “I feel like all the guys have worked this offseason to improve their shooting and play overall,” Carter said. “I’m a shooter and I feel my teammates will be ready (to shoot) as well.”
              Carter and Peck said they have been impressed with their teammates since they arrived in West Lafayette.
              “This is probably one of the best teams I’ve been on,” Carter said. “This team is so versatile. We have a very good team; it’s going to be up to us where we go.”
              “Just the talent and how hard we worked over the summer, especially when they talk about compared to last year,” Peck said. “I think this team will be a lot better and much improved from last year’s.”

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