Valparaiso graduate Brandon Newman's Purdue debut will have to wait another year.
Newman did not dress for Purdue's 79-57 season-opening win over Green Bay on Wednesday. Boilermakers coach Matt Painter confirmed after the game that Newman and fellow freshman Mason Gillis will redshirt the 2019-20 season.
“I redshirt guys because I think they're good, and I think those are gonna be really good players for us,” Painter told reporters after the game. “They're both workers, they both care, they're skilled. But you get a lot of things thrown at you when you first come.”
Newman didn't immediately return a text message from The Times. Valparaiso coach Barak Coolman said that while he hasn't spoken to Newman at length about redshirting, the two have texted a little bit.
Coolman said he doesn't speak for Newman and that while sitting out can be difficult, he wishes he had redshirted his freshman season at Bethel College. Coolman did get a chance to talk with Purdue assistant coach Brandon Brantley.
Brantley relayed the same sentiments as Painter: that it will be better for Newman and Purdue to substitute a potential all-conference senior season for a freshman year that wouldn't be as productive.
While star guard Carsen Edwards left for the NBA and Ryan Cline graduated, Newman still would've had to battle for minutes with Crown Point graduate Sasha Stefanovic and graduate transfer Jahaad Proctor, who scored 19.5 points per game for High Point last season. Veteran Nojel Eastern will get heavy minutes on the wing, leaving little left over.
“They lost two good scorers, but they also return a lot,” Coolman said. “The coach that's sending people to the NBA probably knows what he's doing.”
Painter isn't afraid to redshirt players, as Stefanovic and starting center Matt Haarms both sat out their freshman seasons. He said basketball's truncated offseason compared to football — some freshmen enroll in January, which doesn't happen in basketball — makes it harder for freshmen to contribute.
Thus, Painter wants freshmen to embrace smaller roles. While he said Newman can do the dirty work, it's more valuable to have a potential 15-point-per-game scorer four years from now.
“What happens to you if you're not one of the primary guys — you're not a starter, you're not a 20-, 25-, 30-minute guy — you're gonna be able to slide into a role that has to help that team,” Painter said. “And sometimes you're not ready for that yet, to be solid or just set screens, play defense, rebound.”