Dear P.J. Thompson,
Yesterday, you played your last game in Mackey Arena. You have at least two games remaining in a Purdue uniform, and perhaps as many as nine more, but they will all be happen away from the friendly confines of Keady Court.
The regular season didn’t end quite like we all might have hoped. After a 19-game winning streak, three consecutive losses cost you a chance to repeat as Big Ten Champions. It’s not your fault, but it’s no coincidence that those games were ones where you disappeared from the stat sheets.
P.J., you will not make the NBA. You’re 5’10”. You’re not a flashy scorer. You’re not a steal machine. And yet, you’re perhaps the most important player on the team. And you’re surrounded by some really damn good basketball players.
But nobody in basketball is a more solid, reliable player than you are. Even though your assist rate has gone down significantly this year, you still had twice as many assists as turnovers. We all feel safe when the ball is in your hands. And though you don’t take too many three pointers, you make nearly half of them. And you seem to have a knack for hitting a big three at just the right time.
A deep tournament run is still possible. And it’s possible in part because you are a solid-but-not-great player who works hard, helps his teammates, and works hard some more. You’re exactly what a Purdue basketball player should be.
So enjoy the tournament. You’ve earned it. And thanks for four great years representing Purdue University.