Can we finally appreciate Jajuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore?
To hear some national college basketball journalists tell it last year, and the year before, the Purdue Boilermakers were lost without Robbie Hummel. No way the Boilers could win in the NCAA tournament without him on the squad. No way they could be competitive without Hummel on the court.
But they were. Purdue basketball was still very good, and it was because of Jajuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore stepping up as standout players. This year, Johnson and Moore are gone, but Hummel is in the lineup. The Boilers are blowing leads in heartbreaking fashion, losing to teams they shouldn't, and now, tonight, losing at home for the first time in 26 games.
What does this mean? Does it mean that, maybe, Johnson and Moore were better than they were given credit for? Does it mean that Hummel is given too much credit? With backbreaking results as they've seen, does this mean that Hummel isn't as great a leader as hoped?
I have my own opinion. Just look at the Minnesota Gophers. Their debilitating injuries were to Al Nolen and Trevor Mbakwe, a guard and a big. Hummel is a small forward. I think Moore and Johnson were excellent players in positions where excellence can be the difference between mediocrity and being elite. IT may not be fair, but small forwards are a dime a dozen. This is why the Gophers struggled with injuries and the Boilermakers didn't struggle without Hummel.
But this is why they ARE struggling without E'Twaun Moore and Jajuan Johnson.