Will Purdue come unglued? 

Now that the glue that binds third-ranked Purdue has been declared a no-go for the remainder of the college basketball season, some Boilermakers fans have been shopping for a mountain off which to leap. Consequently, here in pancake-flat Indiana, the number of suicide attempts should be low.

With one tumble to the floor inside a drafty old building, a squad that looked like no worse than an Elite Eight shoo-in has been lessened to one that must play over its head simply to qualify for the Sweet 16.

In spite of that, the gold/black glass remains half-full in one area of concern: you can stop worrying about Robbie Hummel forgoing his senior season to enter the NBA Draft. Not only will Hummel be back for the 2010-11 season, he'll be driven like never before to lead the Boilermakers to their first Final Four since 1980.

While you're at it, you can probably stop asking yourself whether Etwaun Moore and JuJuan Johnson are leaving early. These three came in together and something tells me they're going out that way with the oft-used phrase "Unfinished Business" silk-screened on the jerseys of their practice gear.

The ultra-poised Moore is the most ready to take his game to the next level, but even if that happens Purdue is loaded with potential guard successors. Along with Kelsey Barlow, D.J. Byrd, Ryne Smith and John Hart, coach Matt Painter welcomes four-star recruits Terone Johnson and Anthony Johnson, both of whom bring tremendous offensive skills to the program.

A muscular 6-2 guard for Indianapolis North Central, TJohn can score in a variety of ways - outside jumper, mid-range game, putbacks at the rim. He's the best high school player in the state not named Deshaun Thomas (Fort Wayne Luers). Johnson's coach, Doug Mitchell, told me a couple months back that Johnson is just a classic scoring guard, someone with an instinctive ability to get the ball into the basket.

AJohn, meanwhile, is a 6-3 player for one of Illinois' premier ballclubs, Chicago Whitney Young. A deadly perimeter shooter, AJohn will help Purdue next winter whether Moore returns or not.

So there it is, Boiler backers, a ray of sunlight peeking through the dark cloud cover of disappointment.

With Hummel out, playing at Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Final Four, seems far-fetched. Don't get down, get on Mapquest and see how many miles it is to Houston's Reliant Stadium, home of the 2011 semifinals and championship game.

Something tells me Purdue is going to be there.


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