"It got better towards the end but it was kind of too late," Painter admitted. "When we played against the Ed Davis' and the Derrick Favors' I didn't do so well. I went through a lot of adversity."
Through standout play with Boo Williams and at various camps last summer, Painter's star rose. Scout.com tabbed him No. 8 in the Class of 2009. Expectations were through the roof. All of the sudden, when things were slow from the start of the season, Painter lost his passion. Maybe it wasn't so much his love for the game, but his fire was doused a little.
Faced with the prospects of listening to the doubters, Painter tuned out the negative talk. According to the 6-foot-8 forward, his fire for the game has been re-ignited.
"I got my confidence back," Painter said." I got my swagger. With all the accolades I had to go through the adversity. I'm good now and I'm excited to play AAU. I know why I really love it.
"I'm going to still keep that smile. I'm going for my dreams. I want it bad. I want to be the first person in my family to go to college. When I first started playing it was something to do. Now I really love to play this game."
Some programs came and watched him this year and didn't like what they saw. Others stayed true to him and haven't wavered. "The schools that are coming the hardest are Virginia, Virginia Tech, Florida and Louisville. Out of all the schools that are recruiting me, those never gave up. They see the potential. They see I'm going to want it."
Painter took good notes as a junior. He'll be loyal to the guys who hung in there with him. Now, through AAU ball, he's ready to repay those programs with his play.
"I don't want to do too much talking. I just want to go out and do it."