Busting Brackets

Purdue Basketball: Is this the Boilermakers best senior class ever?


Now that Purdue basketball has played their last home game of the season, let’s look back on what was an incredible senior class of Boilermakers.

It was a bittersweet moment on Sunday afternoon for Purdue basketball fans. The Boilers won big in their regular season finale, an 84-60 drubbing of Minnesota, but the Purdue faithful felt like they were losing something and in part, they were. It was the last time they would ever see Vincent Edwards, Isaac Haas, Dakota Mathias and P.J. Thompson take the floor in Mackey Arena.

In the world of college basketball, where it is believed that the best talent is derived from top recruits who are bound for the NBA after a year on campus, Purdue’s four seniors showed that with heart, experience, and chemistry combined, they could compete with anyone. While they were unable to repeat as regular-season Big Ten conference champs, the senior class has a lot to be proud of according to the Associated Press:

"The Purdue seniors broke the school record for career home wins (62). They also became the fourth graduating class with 100 wins and the third to win 26 regular-season games. The 1987-88 Boilermakers hold the record of 27."

The wins and spots in the record books are nice, but this group resonated with Boilermaker fans in a way that extended beyond the box score. How? Ask any Purdue fan about the days of Ronnie and Terone Johnson.

Not to dwell on the past, but let’s take a brief trip down memory lane shall we?

Before these four stepped foot in West Lafayette, the Boilermakers were a combined 31-35 the previous two years (including an abysmal 5-13 Big Ten record in 2013-14) and missed out on the NCAA Tournament in both of those years. This was a rarity under head coach Matt Painter.

This senior class stepped in right away in the fall of 2014 and immediately made an impact, pulling Purdue basketball out of the doldrums that followed the Baby Boilers era. Sure, there were some hiccups, especially in the postseason: A gut-wrenching overtime loss in the second round of the 2015 tournament to Cincinnati, followed by another demoralizing first-weekend exit in 2016 at the hands of Arkansas-Little Rock (also in OT).

But this same group persevered and brought the Boilers to the Sweet Sixteen last year for the first time since 2010 (with some help from Big Ten POTY Caleb Swanigan). They changed the culture. They were unselfish, they could be coached, they competed, they defended and, most importantly, they won – a lot.

Next: Big Ten Tournament preview

Whatever happens over the next few weeks, Purdue basketball fans can take solace in the fact that the program is in a much better place than it was four years ago. And they have Edwards, Haas, Mathias, and Thompson to thank.