WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- It may have turned some heads when Matt Painter brought in Brandon Brantley as Purdue’s new assistant.
In hiring Brantley, Painter brings in a decorated alum of the Purdue program, but one with no coaching experience at the college level. But with how Painter detailed the addition, it makes plenty of sense.
“He has done a lot of things himself that we’re trying to get [the current Purdue players] to do,” Painter said of the Boilermakers’ new assistant coach.
Last season, Purdue finished with a record of 16-18, a first-round exit in the Big Ten Tournament, and a second-round departure from the CBI. The Boilermakers weren’t lacking in talent; their issues can be pinned to work ethic—even Painter willingly admitted that. Brantley is a shining example of success through work at Purdue.
The East Chicago native entered the program in 1992 as a scrawny center and became a physically dominant big man, scoring 803 points with 591 rebounds and 114 blocks in his career.
“He came in as a player that was physically weak,” Painter said of Brantley. “He had to improve his strength and make some strides in certain areas to be a productive player at this level. He had to work hard to be that guy for Purdue. He had a very successful overseas career. It came from hard work, staying in shape and doing the right things.”
In the locker room, Brantley can become a mentor for the current Boilermakers. The coaching staff has great leadership and experience with Jack Owens and Greg Gary serving alongside Painter. What Brantley brings is an example of success.
“Now, it’s just about staying with them, building that rapport, and helping them on and off the court,” Painter said.
Purdue returns much of its core from last year. The greatest project Brantley will face in his first year on the bench is helping rising sophomore center A.J. Hammons develop into the NBA-caliber player he is capable of becoming. Hammons is already down more than 25 pounds this offseason and looks like a different player. Yesterday, video surfaced of Hammons throwing down a dunk on the new assistant.
That could just be a little bit of Brantley’s influence rubbing off already.
“For our team, he’s someone who has won the Big Ten three times,” Painter said. “He knows what it takes as a player to win at the highest level, so I think he will bring that type of mentality.”