As one probably expects from RMN at this point, we plan on analyzing and over-analyzing every viable (and non-viable) name potentially associated with Missouri's search to replace Mike Anderson as head men's basketball coach. Today, we will look at three names supposedly on Mizzou's initial candidates list.
Matt Painter, Purdue Head Coach
Career Record: 163-69 (138-64 at Purdue), 7-6 in NCAA Tournament (two Sweet 16 appearances)
Accomplishments: Has led Purdue to four consecutive Top 20 finishes and racked up an extremely impressive record in recent seasons. Led Southern Illinois to a 25-5 record in his only season in Carbondale, and after an initial 9-19 campaign at Purdue, his Boilers have taken off. In the last four years, Purdue has gone 107-33 (despite a rather incredible run of bad injury luck), winning at least 25 games and one NCAA tournament game every single year. He is one of the most significantly underrated coaches in the country at this point.
Before He Was a Head Coach: A through-and-through member of the Gene Keady coaching tree, Painter was an honorable-mention All-Big Ten guard at Purdue in 1992-93. He served as an assistant at Washingon & Jefferson College right after his playing career ended, then moved on to Barton College and Eastern Illinois. He was Bruce Weber's right-hand man at SIU for five years, and when Weber moved to Illinois, he was an easy -- and successful -- selection to proceed him. After one year, however, he was brought back to West Lafayette, where he served one season as Keady's associate head coach, then took over the top job.
Ties to the Midwest: He grew up in Indiana, attended Purdue, and coaches at Purdue. That's rather midwestern.
Ties to Missouri: None in particular. His Big Ten ties are significant, and obviously Mizzou borders Big Ten country. So that's something.
Does He See Mizzou As a Destination Job? Honestly, I would think he views Purdue as a destination job.
Can He Recruit? Pretty well, yeah. In the last five years, he has signed 18 players -- two did not receive Rivals.com ratings, nine were 3-star signees, and seven were 4-star signees. Granted, his most highly-touted class (four 4-star guys in 2007) was a while back, and only three of his last nine signees were of the four-star variety, but ... again, he's gone 107-33 in the last four seasons in the Big Ten. He can recruit, develop and coach.
This Year's Recruits (i.e. Players Who Might or Might Not Come With Him): PF Jacob Lawson (6'7, 220, ***, Oak Ridge Academy, NC -- committed, not signed), PF Donnie Hale (6'8, 195, ***, New Albany, IN -- committed, not signed). And for what it's worth, he's also offered and pursued Ben McLemore, but that's probably not going to matter.
Purdue's Ken Pomeroy Stats
PU's Five-Year Average
Ken Pom Rankings
|Off. Reb. %
Statistical Tendencies: Matt Painter's teams play defense. And for a Big Ten team, they play pretty fast too. They are very good in terms of ball-handling, and I think the returning Mizzou players would make a rather easy transition to his style. Purdue's major strengths come in terms of ball-handling and limiting opponents to bad shot attempts. They don't draw a lot of fouls, and they don't grab a ton of offensive rebounds, but they do rebound well on the defensive end, and they are pretty good at limiting 3-point attempts. Opponents can put together solid assist numbers against them, but it appears they're going to miss a lot of shots in the process.
Would He Come Here? Here's where I'm confused. I've heard Painter's name a lot in the last couple of days, and I understand that he has only an average contract with a nice "out". But ... why would he actually come here? He's coaching at his alma mater, he's succeeded to a wonderful degree there despite some cruel injuries, and ... honestly, if he were to emerge as a viable candidate, I'd be assuming he's just doing it for a pay raise at Purdue all the way until he were to sign a contract with Mizzou. I see him using Mizzou for leverage more than I see him actually considering the job, but I'd be happy if I were wrong.
Thoughts: Painter would be a wonderful candidate -- a high-ceiling guy who could probably succeed immediately. But why would he actually consider Mizzou? Somebody talk me into this one. If Purdue low-balls him, then he might be available. If so, he's probably the best candidate on the board.