Purdue's Painter likes Moore and Johnson's NBA draft chances

2011-06-13T22:00:00Z 2011-06-14T18:45:22Z Purdue's Painter likes Moore and Johnson's NBA draft chancesBy Al Hamnik, (219) 933-4154
June 13, 2011 10:00 pm  • 

If Matt Painter were selling cars, you'd buy two.

Purdue's men's basketball coach is a skilled salesman you can trust, a guy who knows his players better than some of their families regardless of the depth chart.

During a Monday morning teleconference, Painter said he believes his two former Boilermakers stars, 6-foot-4 E'Twaun Moore and 6-10 JaJuan Johnson, will be drafted June 23.

"I've gotten interest from teams I know like me, but no one has definitely narrowed anything down. Hopefully, I'll get in the first round. That would be great," Moore said.

"NBA scouts, directors of player personnel, assistant general managers and general managers have come through here in the past four years and so (Moore and Johnson) are known commodities," Painter said.

"The workouts can help or hurt a little, depending upon how you perform. But really, it's the body of work the past four years and what they've been able to accomplish. I think they both are in very good (draft) positions."

While Indianapolis native Johnson is a can't-miss prospect because of his size and is mentioned in several mock predraft lists, Moore once again wears the "underdog" label regarding his chances.

"E'Twaun has really improved in other areas outside of scoring," Painter noted. "He can score in a variety of ways but I think his decision making is better and his defense is better this year.

"From the feedback I've gotten from his workouts, people have been very impressed with his ability to handle the basketball and his ability to defend."

During Moore's visit to San Antonio, he was surprised to learn the childhood home of Spurs' coach Gregg Popovich was only a block from where he grew up in East Chicago.

The two "region" guys had a nice, long chat.

Moore is telling everyone he can play point or shooting guard, but Painter feels the latter may be his role at the next level.

"He was somebody we did a lot of point-guard-type stuff with while he was here. We needed him to score the ball more so we played him off the ball more," Painter said. "When we recruited him, we told him he was going to have the ball in his hands whether he brought the ball up the court or not.

"As he progressed in his career, he always brought the ball up, especially when he got the rebound and on the break. He's never going to be a pass-first guy. He's a lead guard who'll be looking for his (shot) and looking to create for others at the same time."

As for Moore's size -- 6-2 1/2 in bare feet -- watching the Dallas Mavericks' 5-10 J.J. Barea run circles around the Miami Heat, fans saw there is always a need for quick players who can knock down big shots.

"I think E'Twaun's a good all-around player," Painter said. "He can play either spot. He can guard either spot. He can make big shots.

"I look at a guy like Jason Terry, who probably has more quickness than (E'Twaun) does. He doesn't have great size (6-2), but does have a high release point that just flat-out gets things done, proving he's one of the best players in the world."

Purdue's third all-time leading scorer has that same high release point on his shot.

"E'Twaun's always had some knocks but he's always been a guy who's been able to go out there and produce," Painter said. "Once again, he's on proving grounds going into the NBA.

"No matter what happens, where he gets drafted, who picks him up, whether they keep him or don't keep him, if he's in the rotation, if he's not in the rotation, he's just gonna keep coming.

"I believe in him as a player. We always put the ball in his hands and more times than not, he produced."

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