WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - The Purdue basketball team officially began practice Saturday morning on Cardinal Court. Head coach Matt Painter and the Boilermakers will look to bounce back from a disappointing 2012-2013 season which ended with a loss to Santa Clara in the second round of the College Basketball Invitational.
Purdue returns four of five starters in center A.J. Hammons, Rapheal Davis, Terone Johnson, and Ronnie Johnson.
Several alums were back to watch practice, including one of the newest Purdue Athletics Hall of Fame inductees, Willie Merriweather (1957-59), who spoke to the team for about 10 minutes near the conclusion of practice.
“It might have been the best first day of practice that we have had since I have been here,” head coach Matt Painter said, who is entering his ninth year at Purdue. “We obviously have a lot to learn, but the guys really competed today and didn’t just go through the motions.”
The early practice date is part of a new NCAA rule that allows teams 30 practices in the 42 days leading up to the season opener. The Boilermakers could have practiced on Friday, but opted to start Saturday.
After one practice senior guard Terone Johnson has already noticed a big difference from last year to this year.
"Off the bat just way more competitiveness from last year. I feel like we have guys that compete on a daily basis, Instead of having guys that come in and do it every once in a while and I think that's the way to get through the season," said Terone Johnson.
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