INDIANAPOLIS — Isaiah Thompson is following a legacy as an incoming freshman point guard at Purdue next season.
Shooting guard Brandon Newman is hoping to make one of his own for the Boilermakers
The two guards are eager to get on campus in West Lafayette after finishing their high school careers on a high note with the Indiana Senior All-Stars last week. Newman and Thompson combined to score 35 points in Indiana's 97-64 win over the Kentucky All-Stars on Friday night in Louisville.
Thompson is the younger brother of former Purdue point guard P.J. Thompson, who scored 805 points and dished 294 assists in his four-year career with the Boilermakers. Like his older brother, Isaiah Thompson is a heady point guard with deep shooting range, having shot 38 percent from 3-point range his senior year at Zionsville.
"I've been putting in work all of my life to be able to shoot the basketball," Thompson said.
But Thompson knows he's not going to be able to get on the floor at Purdue under Matt Painter unless he plays hard on both ends of the floor. He'll also have his older brother looking over him, as P.J. Thompson has joined Painter's staff as a graduate assistant after playing a year overseas in Denmark.
"I like how Coach Painter and his staff use the guards," Thompson said. "I feel like how they use their guards with the pin downs and the downscreens, handoffs, pick-and-rolls, I feel like that's my game. So I feel like I can go in offensively and just show what I'm capable of doing. But I know I'm not going to get on the floor unless I play some defense."
The 6-foot Thompson barely played man defense in high school but is eager to show Purdue's coaching staff he's a capable defender.
"I feel like I have a high basketball IQ," Thompson said. "Just using that to my advantage. I've got to get under people with my size, I'm only 6-foot so I just want to be a pest on defense next year and show that I'm capable of playing defense because a lot of people don't think I can."
Newman, a 6-4, four-star prospect from Valparaiso, is another long-range shooter who chose Purdue over fellow Big Ten schools Indiana and Ohio State. Newman, a career 43 percent 3-point shooter in high school, went 3-of-4 from 3-point range in scoring 18 points in 18 minutes on Friday night in Louisville.
Newman will have freedom to launch on a Purdue team that took the ninth-most 3-pointers in Division I last season. To develop his shot, Newman would sometimes stay alone in the gym as late as 1 or 2 a.m.
"Shooting is a big part of my game," Newman said. "The playing style there, they obviously shoot a lot of 3s. So I think I'll fit in well."
Like Thompson, Newman said his goal this summer is to develop into a better player on both ends of the floor.
"I'm going to a school where defense is going to play a lot into how many minutes I play," Newman said. "So I take pride in it, and you know, I want to do well with it every time I step on the floor."
Thompson and Newman started together for the Indiana All-Stars last week, the first time the duo played together since they were 16-year-olds on the same AAU team. Both are looking forward to more playing time together at Purdue.
"He's a great player," Thompson said of Newman. "He can score the ball. He's athletic. He plays hard, and I feel like me and him can show a lot of people what we're capable of doing next year and in the next two years. So I'm definitely looking forward to playing with him."
With Newman, Thompson and another Indiana All-Star, New Castle 6-7 forward Mason Gillis, joining Purdue's squad next season, the Boilermakers will have some depth in the backcourt and wing positions to replace departed standout guards Carsen Edwards and Ryan Cline.
"The thing that all three guys have in common is their competitiveness and their skill level," Painter said when the 2019 class was announced last month. "As you continue to grow your program, you want to get the guys that fit at Purdue."