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October 11, 2018

Matt Painter

Madison Square Garden - New York, New York

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined at the podium by Purdue head coach Matt Painter. Matt is entering his 14th season with the Boilermakers, leading them to 10 NCAA Tournament appearances. This season's Purdue team includes the pre-season Big Ten Player of the Year Carson Edwards. Coach, if you'd like to start with an opening statement.

MATT PAINTER: Thank you. Obviously every coach that gets up here, we say the same things in our opening statements. Everybody has a good summer, so we had a good summer, too. Everybody is excited about it. We're excited about the season. After listening to Matt Painter talk, it is different for me this year than last year. We started four seniors last year, went on a trip to Taiwan, we got a lot of basketball in. Played 10, 11 real games in the summer. It was different.

Now we have a very more inexperienced team. Carsen Edwards obviously as a Second Team All-American last year comes back. Any time you can start a game and you feel like you have the best player on the floor, it's a good start.

We have some guys that came off the bench for us last year in Ryan Cline, who I've always considered like a starter for us, but we've been pretty deep in our backcourt. Matt Haarms and Nojel Eastern, they're going to have to have bigger roles for this team. We have a lot of new guys to sprinkle in there, a fifth-year transfer, two redshirt freshmen, three true freshmen that I feel really good about. I think they're all going to be good players. When they're going to be good players is obviously the question anytime you have inexperience, how they gel with those guys I previously mentioned that played for us last year.

Really looking forward to it. Looking forward to getting started.

THE MODERATOR: We'll open the floor for questions.

Q. Can you talk about the difference in how you might be coaching Carsen Edwards, being that the responsibility is a little different? Talk about the difference in how you approach coaching him with the new team.
MATT PAINTER: He's a very dynamic player. He's unique from a physical standpoint. He's kind of got the body and the explosiveness like a Saquon Barkley. He plays through his offense. I think for guys like that, as you get older, you get more experience, more responsibility, but you don't change who you are.

A lot of what he did last year, when he got it going, we couldn't get it to him enough. But when somebody else got it going, that's kind of the piece that's tough, when you have that scoring mentality. When Isaac Haas is burying people by the concession stand, you got to get him the basketball. Dakota Mathias was a very efficient player. Vince Edwards was a really efficient player.

Sometimes you go without some touches for two, three minutes. I don't think that will be the case this year. I think he'll play off the ball, but I think he'll also play with the ball more. He's kind of been our point guard in transition, now he'll have more responsibilities there. But I never want to take away from his ability to score, because I think that's a threat we can have 40 minutes every single night.

Q. Sasha has been in your program for over a year now. Finally see him on the court. What has he shown you, what kind of role do you anticipate him having?
MATT PAINTER: Sasha is one of those guys that I mentioned, I didn't mention by name, but he's one of our two redshirt freshmen. We want to keep our skill level at a very high point. We've had the third best three-point field goal percentage in the country the past two years. His ability to shoot the basketball and stretch the defense is probably his best quality. But he's a competitive kid, knows how to play. I think he's going to be a really good player for us.

I think he's excited about playing games. I think he's tired of being in our practices. I think any redshirt would say that. But, no, I'm really looking forward to coaching him. He was a guy that about four, five years ago, we had some struggles. We really went to being able to sign guys that understand the game, that can make threes, make their free throws, not turn the ball over. I know that's profound, but a lot of times those guys don't get ranked as high as somebody that can jump over the moon. He'll never be confused with that. He has good size, he's competitive, and we think he's going to be a good player for us.

Q. Carsen Edwards, his NBA feedback, what were some of the specific things he was told to improve on? Going ahead this season, how do you balance his role on the team to helping the team versus how he can help himself also grow as an individual?
MATT PAINTER: I think more than anything, I think this gets lost time sometimes when you put your name in the draft. We've had a lot of guys in the last eight, nine years, put their name in and come back.

Swanigan is one that did it and stayed. Everybody else has come back and taken your feedback. We all get judged on winning. Sometimes those guys come back, I got to do X, Y and Z to be successful. But the NBA, they want winners, and they want role players. None of the guys that we've had in, quite frankly, nobody has really had guys that just leave major college basketball and go be a starter in the NBA. You've got to be able to adjust to an organization, you have to be able to play a role. I think with that winning, doing little things and winning.

His first year, he was a 1:1 assist-to-turnover ratio guy, last year he was 1.6, 1.7:1. Being a 2:1 guy is huge. He has shot some really good numbers last year in terms of his field goal percentage. I think those can improve. If you look at them, they're pretty sticky numbers, but I really do. He's that good of a shooter.

I think you're going to be yourself in terms of when people evaluate you. They like to see something a little bit different. I think you grow into that as you push past college I think more than anything, just improving his assist-turnover ratio, continue to do what he's doing, but now lead us to victory instead of just being that guy who scored the basketball to help us, as we've had four seniors. I think that piece of it will really help him as he grows into a pro.

Q. You described Ryan Cline as like a starter for you. Now he really is going to be a full-time starter. What does he need to do now in an expanded role?
MATT PAINTER: I think he needs to do the same thing he's been doing. He's going to have more opportunities, more cracks at it, the ball is going to be in his hands. We put the ball in Dakota Mathias' hands a lot because he was such a great facilitator. When he didn't have shots, the ball got to where it needed to be. I think he's going to be that type of player for us.

He can hit difficult shots. He can hit shots off the dribble. He can hit threes with people on him. So I just think just being a little bit better in the same role he's played, but he's going to have more opportunity because he's going to play more minutes. I don't think anything really changes there.

I think it's really hard, I've talked to you about this a lot, is it's really hard for someone to be confident when they play 18 minutes. I don't think people that have never played the game really understand that. You get taken out of the game when you do nothing wrong. People always look at that, Why did you take him out of the game? I was putting Dakota Mathias or Carsen Edwards back in. It's just that. Sometimes when you get to a little bit of a crowded backcourt, it's hard for that next guy to really get a feel.

He has a handful of games here the past two years where he ends up winning the game for us. But he would have won a lot more games for us with a lot more opportunity. As a coach, you have to make decisions tooing with certain guys.

I think he's going to be great. I think he's somebody that a lot of people aren't talking about, but he just plays a great role, and he has a lot of basketball character. He knows how to play. He comes from a winning program. He does a lot of little things that helps your team.

Q. Last year Grady played a small but significant role for you guys. Where do you expect him to improve this year and what kind of role do you envision for him?
MATT PAINTER: I think for somebody like him that starts in your program and doesn't play, is a walk-on, a lot of times when you have guys that are walk-ons, they physically can't do it. They might be able to shoot the basketball. He physically can do it. His dad started at power forward for Purdue in the '80s, brother is tight end for the Bengals. He has, like, that athletic DNA, 6'6", 225, he can mix it up, he can be physical, he can rebound, he can play the position that he has to play for us. Now he just has to be confident.

He's competing to play at the four for us. He started two games for us last year in the Big Ten when Vince Edwards went down, did some really good things for us. But he still had a little nervousness when he got out there. You're just not sure of yourself. Like I talked about Cline playing 17 minutes. You're really not sure of yourself when you one game play three minutes, next 10, next five. It's all over the map. He was Vince's backup.

We expect him to go out there and compete and help us win. Sometimes less is more, especially when you have a guy who shoots the basketball and is a big-time scorer in Carsen Edwards. Sometimes those guys that play those roles really increase someone like Carsen Edwards' value. He's getting more cracks at it, your team has more chemistry.

THE MODERATOR: Coach, thank you.

MATT PAINTER: Thank you.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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