The recruiting class in now up to two following Vince Edwards' commitment on Saturday but Purdue still has more room left on board. Ronnie Harrell visited this weekend too and Matt Painter is hoping to make him number three sooner rather than later.
The versatile wing from Denver (CO) East made the flight this weekend to West Lafayette to take his official visit with Purdue. It was his first of three planned trips but after this weekend, Harrell says that Purdue “set the bar high.”
“It was pretty fun,” Ronnie said about being able to play in open gym. “You can tell just by playing with them that they are a pretty competitive team. When I came in, they treated me like I was already on the team. They are a great group of guys.”
This was his first time coming out to Purdue and the first chance for Harrell to really get a sense of what the school was all about. Ronnie walked away impressed with the community and West Lafayette.
“West Lafayette, it seems like everybody there supports Purdue and that’s good. I really like that about the school. Purdue had a crazy fan base, I mean, they came up to me and talked to me. I don’t even know how they knew me but it’s always good to know that. The community is just great.”
During the visit, Purdue had their opportunity to sell the program to Harrell. He’s a guy that they have made a target high on their list and want to let him know everything about being a Boilermaker.
“I like how the basketball team, it’s obviously very talented but, I like how academics come before sports. That was a plus for me because they were telling me that obviously you can’t play your whole life and that with a degree you can always have something.”
One of the bigger selling points though, was Matt Painter.
“Coach Painter is a great guy. When we go out to eat he is always talking to people, introducing himself, and that is contagious because players see him do that and then they will do that and that is good for the team.”
Painter’s demeanor and his actions have rubbed off on the players and he has the type of guys in his program that Harrell can appreciate.
“Just like Coach Painter, when (the team) goes out they don’t act like they are above everybody. They are taking pictures and introducing themselves. A lot of times, people believe that basketball players are stuck up guys but this weekend told me that it wasn’t the case.”
Another aspect of the team that really stuck out to Harrell was just the overall attitude of everybody within the program. From the coaches to the players, they were down-to-earth and we asked Ronnie if that was something that he liked.
“Yeah, definitely,” Harrell said. “That is how I am. I’m not a show-off or flamboyant, that kind of stuff.”
Purdue talked with the 6-7 Harrell about how he would fit in the program and what they envision for him at the next level.
“Coach Painter really said that he didn’t want to categorize me with a position. My versatility would allow me to play different positions. I can get the rebound and start the break, he can teach me how to post guys up. I think that is one of the things to work on with my size. Also, running the motion offense that Coach Painter was talking about, I think I would be pretty effective with that with ball screens.”
Harrell’s versatility is similar to that of other players that Matt Painter has recruited recently. Prospects that can play multiple positions and have skill sets that can help create advantages and mismatches for opposing teams.
For Ronnie, he brings a different element than most. Where recently committed Vince Edwards can play in the post and rebound more, Harrell brings his guard skills and that is where he feels most comfortable.
“I definitely would say guard,” Harrell said when asked what position he feels most comfortable in. “That is what I grew up playing. I have always played point guard up until these last two years. So, I think that is what is most natural for me is being on the wing and handling the ball and passing.”
And it is no surprise after Harrell grew as much as he did as fast as he did. Ronnie said that he was about 5-9 as a freshman in high school and now stands about 6-7.
Pair Harrell with new commit Edwards and Painter could have a potent set of wings for the class of 2014. Those two players actually were able to talk this weekend and go over their thoughts about Purdue and going to school there.
“They got a commit (Edwards) while I was out there. I talked with him and he felt the same way that I did that Coach Painter is a great coach. He knows how to take kids that are under-the-radar or under-rated and make them big time basketball players. That is one of the big things really.”
I asked Harrell if with everything that happened this weekend and seeing Vince commit, if it had any impact on him thinking about making a commitment too.
“Yeah, there was,” Ronnie said when asked if he thought about committing on Saturday. “I just wanted to see the process out. Seeing Vince commit, that was the big one knowing he felt the same way I do.”
However, Harrell made it home and he still has two more visits set up. He is going to Kansas State on October 12th and Creighton on October 28th. He also said he may plan a trip to LMU but it hasn’t been set.