Painter Talks Recruiting Class

Matt Painter

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Purdue men's basketball coaching staff officially inked two players for the 2008-09 season. Both National Letters of Intent were received by Purdue on Wednesday. Guards Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith signed NLI's to attend Purdue next season.

"I think Lewis Jackson and Ryne Smith will really help our backcourt," said Painter. "With the departure of Tarrance Crump, Lewis gives us that quintessential point guard. Ryne is a deadly shooter who can score in a variety of ways and help us put points on the board."

Both players are ranked in the top 150 according to most recruiting services.

"It was an interesting year for us because we started with one scholarship," said Painter. "We now are finishing with four scholarships, so you never know what can happen. That's why we always keep recruiting. We had needs in the backcourt and these two guys fill those needs. I give our coaching staff a lot of credit because they did a great job getting them here to Purdue."

Jackson and Smith will join a team that loses only one senior (Crump).

"I think when players are making their college choices, you have to look at the school's needs," said Painter. "With Ryne, we really do not have that combo guard that can stretch the defense. Ryne is different than guys we have now, and he has the special ability to make baskets at 25 feet. Lewis is a perfect fit from a quickness standpoint and decision-making ability. He does not get enough credit for that, but is very good at deciding what to do with the ball."

Roster

Name Pos. Ht. Wt. Hometown (High School) Lewis Jackson G 5-9 165 Decatur, Ill. (Dwight Eisenhower) Ryne Smith G 6-3 175 Toledo, Ohio (Whitmer)

Lewis Jackson

Jackson averaged 14.0 points and 8.0 assists per game during his junior season at Eisenhower High School. A true point guard, Jackson choose Purdue over offers from Clemson, Colorado, Dayton, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Iowa State, Gonzaga and Xavier.

"Lewis gives us a high level of quickness that we lose with the departure of Crump," said Painter. "He's a very good decision maker and knows where guys are on the court at all times. He loves to play the game and that is something you see in him if you watch him play a lot. We're going to expect him to have a lot of energy on the defensive end and put pressure on the ball. Offensively, we expect him to give us an advantage in the open court and run our team in the halfcourt. He is very skilled in transition, but also does a very good job when the tempo is slowed down in terms of knowing where the ball needs to go. Additionally, Lewis has the ability to score in a variety of ways. He gets to the hoop, makes intermediate shots and has really improved his stroke from the arc."

- Ranked as the 79th-best overall player by Hoopscooponline.com - Ranked as the 130th best recruit in the nation by Rivals.com - Rated a three-star recruit by Rivals.com and Scout.com - Ranked as the 30th-best point guard by Rivals.com - Ranked as the 35th-best point guard by Scout.com - Played AAU with Indiana Elite - Averaged 13.4 points, 7.2 assists, 4.5 rebounds and 3.0 steals per game as a sophomore - Coached by Jeremy Moore at Dwight Eisenhower High School

Ryne Smith Smith averaged 17.0 points per game as a junior while playing for his father, Bruce, at Whitmer High School in Toldeo. An under-the-radar prospect, Smith choose Purdue over offers from Bradley, Massachusetts, Mississippi and Utah.

"What stuck out the most with him when we recruited him was that he makes shots." said Painter. "He can score points in a hurry, but he's also a very competitive guy. He doesn't back down from anyone, and those are the type of guys we have to have in our program. We like to have guys that are consumed with the game of basketball. He talks, eats and sleeps basketball and that type of thing is contagious, and what we like to see in our program. After watching him a lot this summer, he really makes an effort to work on the defensive end and that was impressive to see as well. Ryne is a recruit that we are very fortunate to get. He works very hard and has made himself into a big-time prospect."

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