Five hot July storylines

The July open evaluation period is officially underway, marking an important period for Purdue. Boiler Sports Report gives a look at five important storylines to follow throughout the month.

Winning over Vince Edwards

From the very beginning, Purdue has been a dog in the hunt for Vince Edwards. Coach Matt Painter has been hot on Edwards' heals throughout his recruitment—including high school and AAU games. This month will be critical. Edwards has long listed Purdue and Michigan as his two favorites, but an offer from Louisville could mix up the game a bit.

The three-star forward is the real deal—there's no disputing that. The Boilermaker coaches know it by now, as they've seen him countless times by now. Their goal this month is to seal the deal. They'll have plenty of competition along the way, but July is all about that. Painter and his crew can hope their top target comes to Purdue.

How good is Dakota Mathias?

Think a recruitment is over once a kid commits? Think again. The Purdue coaching staff will be watching Dakota Mathias closely throughout the month of July. Mathias appears to be a solid fit for the Boilermakers, a sharp shooter and decent defender. The coaching staff has been after him for a while now. This month could give a strong indication as to how good he really is.

July brings out the best in this level. The competition heats up each and possession becomes more important than ever. Mathias will get a good look at Big Ten-type competition as he battles the best on the AAU circuit. The Purdue coaches will be able to decide how he fits into their future.

Can Haas man the middle?

Many months ago, the Purdue coaches decided Isaac Haas could be their center. Now, they're closer than ever to landing him. The Alabama big man has the Boilermakers as one of his five favorites, and they appear to have a strong shot at nabbing his services. As Haas battles some of the AAU circuit's best centers, Purdue will get to see what he can really bring to the table.

Plenty of questions remain for the Boilermakers' frontcourt future. The most prominent concern is whether A.J. Hammons will return for the 2014 season. If he can reach his potential and put together a strong sophomore season, it's likely he leaves. Regardless of whether Hammons is in West Lafayette of the NBA, Purdue needs to figure out its future at the center position—whether it's a role player or new full-time starter. This month will help determine this issue.

What's next at point guard?

This season will determine what Purdue has in point guard Ronnie Johnson. This month must decide what backup plan Purdue has in place. It's likely the Boilermakers won't take a point guard for their 2014 class. Their top targets, Tyler Ulis and Marcus Bartley, are likely to land elsewhere. The focus is probably set in the loaded 2015 bunch. Still, there are several names to watch for this current batch of seniors.

Painter and his staff must determine whether it's urgent to add a point guard for the 2014 season. They're likely best suited to burn that scholarship on a more talented target next year, one who they have better odds of landing. However, if Ulis or Bartley were to land in the Boilermakers' lap, they wouldn't complain.

Figuring the future

The state of Indiana remains rich in basketball talent. Looking ahead to the class of 2016, it's no exception. Names like Caleb Swanigan, Eron Gordon, D.J. Wilkins and Joey Brunk are set to dominate to the state circuit. This July, the Boilermakers must decide whether it's worth offering some of these rising names.

The upside with an early offer is that your school gains added recognition throughout the prospect's recruiting process. If Purdue was one of the first to enter the mix, this would surely stand out. However, if the prospect burns out, then the offer must stand. It's an early edge that could be gained now.

Chris Emma has covered recruiting, college athletics and professional baseball for FOX Sports Next since 2009. Emma covered the Nebraska Cornhuskers and Northwestern Wildcats, and currently covers the Purdue Boilermakers. A Chicago native, he resides in West Lafayette.
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