There is across the board praise for Gene Keady's group of signees following the early signing period for the incoming class of 2004-05.
The class started strong with the verbal commitment from nationally ranked top 50 guard Xavier Price, following the separation of Purdue and the academically challenged Robert Vaden.
Then -- silence.
As the fans became restless and the fall approached, Keady's staff pulled in three highly regarded junior college players to fill the remaining scholarships. They were not just fillers, as the staff went out and got all their top targets in the junior college ranks.
First came Bryant Dillon, a 6'6 combo guard from Southwestern Illinois College. Next came the commitment from 6'9 post Gary Ware of Dodge City Community College. And finally came 6'7 forward Carl Landry from Vincennes University, a player many recruiting analysts think is Keady's prize recruit of the class.
Analyst Clark Francis of Hoop Scoop rates Purdue's class as the nation's 11th best and second in the Big Ten Conference, while ESPN has the class at No. 16. More impressive has been the praise from top junior college scout Rick Ball. Ball rates Landry as the 2nd best power forward, Dillon as the 4th best shooting guard, and Ware as the 7th best center.
Below are comments from Gene Keady on each of his newest additions...
On Bryant Dillon..."Bryant's probably the tallest point guard we've signed here, so he will give us another dimension we've not had before. I like his versatility. He can play a one, two or three and then, hopefully play more of the point guard spot once Brandon McKnight graduates."
On Carl Landry..."I can see Carl being a lot like Todd Mitchell. He scores around the basket more and really finishes well underneath. That's something we've lacked the last couple of seasons. Carl is the ýmore versatile of the two post guys, because he can jump out and knock down the jumper."
On Xavier Price..."Xavier is probably the toughest kid we've signed since Todd Foster. He loves to play defense and is very hard-nosed. He worked on his shooting a lot, and that had been his weakness. By the end of last summer, he had really improved that a great deal, so his offense is underrated."
On Gary Ware..."Gary is one of the most explosive players we've signed the last few years. He mostly plays around the basket, but he can occasionally go outside and make some things happen."