Thanks to class of 2013 small forward Basil Smotherman (Purdue) for doing the interview with us. Smotherman is a 6’6, 216 pound wing who runs with the Eric Gordon All-Stars in the summer circuit. He’s a part of a three-piece junior recruiting class for Boilermaker head coach Matt Painter that also consists of point guard Bryson Scott and shooting guard Kendall Stephens.
Why did you commit to Purdue?
I just feel like it was the best place for my style of play and that’s where I fit in. I’ve been there for a lot of practices and [head] coach [Matt] Painter told me I could play the two and the three and that I’m long and that he just likes my style of play.
Why do you think you’ll fit in so well?
I think I’ll fit in because I’m long and I can use my body to make plays happen and that’s what Coach Painter wants. It’s a motion offense down there and I can attack the basket whenever I want and I can play every position. I can make plays happen, I can shoot it, I can get to the free throw line, rebound, I can do everything.
Who are you trying to recruit to come with you?
The guy who we’re trying to get to go with us to Purdue is [class of 2013 power forward] Derek Willis. He’s long and he’s everything you want in a big man. Purdue is a defensive school, they recruit players who can play defense. Like [senior forward] Robbie Hummel can both score and play defense. They want guys who go 110% every play.
What are you telling guys like Derek Willis to get them to commit?
First, you gotta get their number and get them to go to a game and just tell them to go to the campus. Just look at it and try to see what you can learn about the school and see what Purdue can offer you.
What opportunities does going to Purdue give you?
I’m just looking to get better when I get to Purdue, I just want to improve everything in my game. They also let you get looked at by NBA scouts, that’s one of my ultimate goals, is to go to the NBA. I always looked at highlights of [Clippers guard] Eric Gordon and I want to be one of those Indiana players who goes to the NBA.
What do you like about Purdue that isn’t basketball related?
The academics are nice, you can get a good education. It’s close to home and I can just come home whenever I want. You can also go catch a good football game every Saturday (laughing).
Were there any college players or graduates that recruited you to go to Purdue?
[Sophomore guard] Terone Johnson and [junior guard] Kelsey Barlow. They just told me to think about it and they’ll be two friends I have at Purdue. They were just persuading me and I listened to them. I’d love to play with them because they’re good players. Also, on my unofficial visit, [Hornets power forward] Carl Landry was just telling me everything about Purdue and how Coach Painter was. Then I kind of just made up my mind and said, ‘this is where I want to go.’”
What are you working on to improve for this upcoming season?
Rebounding, getting better in going to the bucket, free throws… just everything. I’m just trying to make my whole game better.
Are there any particular games you look forward to once you get to Purdue?
Indiana and Ohio State. Over the years it was always IU and it’s still going to be IU but they’re just the big state rival and I know guys who go there. I know them off the court but when you get on the court you have to put everything aside. With Ohio State, I just want to beat Ohio State. They’re known for their history and the players who have been out of there. There’s just a lot of hype and it’s always a big game.
What about Purdue academics do you like? Are there any specific majors you like?
I don’t know what I want to major in right now, it’s still up in the air. They do have a good Engineering program, one of the top in the country. A lot of people who come out of Purdue are successful and that’s what they’re really known for. They have good courses and programs but they set you up for the long run well.
Why did you commit in February?
I just felt like it was right because I told my dad it’s the school I want to be at and I just felt like it was the right time to commit to get some pressure of my shoulders.
What have you been improving on lately and at events over the summer?
I really improved my defense by getting better at anticipating passes and getting in passing lanes. One of my favorite events was playing in the AAU National Championship game even though we came up short.
What do you think of conference realignment?
I think it’s great because you get to play against different colleges. Sometimes you get to see the different styles of play in different conferences. Like in the Big Ten, it’s one of the best conferences in the country, it’s aggressive and physical. But if you play someone from the Big 12, their style of play may be different. They might just slow things down and play differently.
What do you think of the new NCAA rules on recruiting?
I favor it. I feel like it would be a good thing and a bad thing because you can stay in contact with your coaches more you like but sometimes you just want to get a break from it. Sometimes you just want to be a kid and hang out and have fun. But it will be a good thing so you can let them know how you’re doing in school and how everything is going. Like I said though, sometimes you just want to take a break. Also, I feel like it’s better that coaches can see the players more because in high school, college coaches really don’t come out too much because they’re in the middle of the season too but with this you could now see college coaches coming out more and you can see they’re interested in you.
What’s been the coolest thing you’ve gotten to do since you’re a highly rated prospect?
Probably meeting NBA players, going to camps and working out with [Bobcats power forward Dewayne] “D.J.” White and Eric Gordon during my sophomore year. You get to see how NBA players go, they’re always going 110% every time and they’re giving you’re their tips on how to be a man and how to do this and that and how to get better. Plus, if you want to go to the NBA you’re listening to someone already in the NBA.
Are there any particular players you’re looking forward to playing with at Purdue?
I’m looking forward to playing with [class of 2012 commits power forward] Jay Simpson and [shooting guard] Raphael Davis and [class of 2013 commits shooting guard] Kendall Stephens and [point guard] Bryson Scott. They play hard and everything you hear about them is good. They make everyone around them better and they make everyone work harder.
Who was your favorite school growing up?
Growing up I was a Duke fan and I also rooted for IU when Eric Gordon went there but those were the only schools I liked.
What has been your favorite and least favorite part of the recruiting process?
My favorite part was just hitting up schools and my least favorite was when I went to football games and it was cold.
What’s one thing people probably don’t know about you?
I’m just a chill kid and I like hanging out with my friends.