Already removed from the Purdue official athletics website, Indi Johnson has left the basketball program and withdrawn from Purdue. Johnson was plagued by academic difficulties last season, contributing just 26 total minutes in five games and averaging 1.6 points per game.
Johnson, who likely would have been used to spell Heikes in the low post, leaves Purdue looking at younger talent to help fill the role down low. The player most likely to benefit from Johnson's departure is 6'2 junior post Carol Duncan. Duncan averaged just under 10 minutes per game in 30 of Purdue's 33 games in 2003-04, and is Heikes' most experienced backup.
Also likely to see a larger portion of playing time immediately could be 6'2 freshman forward Lindsay Wisdom-Hylton. Wisdom-Hylton not only possesses one of the most well-rounded sets of skills among the incoming forwards, her vision and passing could carry her into a double-figure minute role during her freshman year.
While fellow freshman classmate Natasha Bogdanova certainly has the size to play in the post at 6'3, comments from Coach Curry on her slashing ability seem to indicate a role facing the basket.
Johnson's departure also changes the recruiting outlook for the staff for the Class of 2005. It had been important to sign at least one low post player from the Class of 2005 to replace the loss of 30 minute per game starter Emily Heikes. Now, that incoming player has to view their opportunity to play early and often at Purdue as much more attractive.
Information gathered at the Nike Camp indicated Purdue was spending a lot of attention on 6'6 center Megan Skouby, 6'0 power forward Marshae Dotson and 6'0 power forward Aisha Jefferson. Purdue also recently received a visit from 6'4 center Stephanie Helgeson of Dominican in Louisiana, and still is mentioned by 6'4 center Danielle Campbell of Chicago.
While Helgeson, Campbell and Skouby are naturally good fits at center, one should not overlook Dotson's versatility to play with her back to the bucket. Dotson is physical and aggressive, proving at the Nike Camp she could bang with players larger than herself. She also understands motion and is a perfect post when it comes to moving without the ball to do dirty work such as setting screens.
If the staff is able to sign Dotson, something we feel is the most likely at this point, plus one of the centers, it would allow the staff to possibly use the scholarship freed up by Johnson on a guard prospect. As an analysis of the scholarship situation indicates, Purdue will only be two deep at both guard positions for the 2006-07 season following the graduation of guards Sharika Webb and Ashley Mays.
Purdue will have twelve players on scholarship for the 2004-05 season, thirteen if former walkon Hannah Anderson is awarded a grant. The staff currently has 12 scholarships taken for the 2005-06 season, and could sign three more players in the Class of 2005 to add to the already committed Jodi Howell.