Demetri Goodson's decision to leave Gonzaga and play football at Baylor, which he announced early in May, was, it is safe to say, a surprise. Goodson started 68 of 69 games in his sophomore and junior seasons, had another year of hoops eligibility remaining and, with much of his team returning in 2011-12, might have spent that year chasing a Final Four appearance. Instead, Goodson decided to hit the reset button and play a sport he gave up as a sophomore in high school.
Whether it's higher or lower on the surprise scale, the news of Purdue forward Patrick Bade's decision to leave the Boilermakers basketball team and for the Boilermakers football team is similarly unforeseen. It's not uncommon to see basketball players enjoy a fifth year of football eligibility after their basketball careers are over. But Bade, like Goodson, is leaving time on the table, making the switch after his sophomore season and before he has time to become a major contributor in the post-JaJuan Johnson era at Purdue.
Like Goodson, Bade hasn't played football since high school. In his case, Bade played until his junior year before dropping the sport and focusing on basketball. But as ESPN Big Ten football blogger Brian Bennett writes, Bade is 6-foot-8, and that size has convinced Purdue football coach Danny Hope that he can compete for a spot at tight end in the coming seasons:
"I’ve seen his junior film, and he looks like a pretty good prospect for us," Purdue coach Danny Hope said. "He’s a big-body guy who plays a position where we have a quite a bit of youth and not a lot experience, so he’ll be able to compete right away. We’re happy to have him aboard.”
Bade was recruited to play football out of high school, and he will have three years of eligibility remaining under NCAA rules, so if there's any time to make this decision it's now. Besides, Bade never really found his stride in the Boilermakers' lineup; it's possible he believes he's reached his hoops ceiling.
The problem? This makes an already-thin Purdue frontcourt even more so. Coach Matt Painter will now have only little-used returners (Sandi Marcius, Travis Carroll) and relatively unheralded three-star freshmen (Jacob Lawson, Donnie Hale) to surround star forward Robbie Hummel, who will return from successive ACL injuries for his senior season this fall. It's likely Bade would have -- or at least could have -- been a consistent starter in that rotation. Instead, Painter will have to adjust. It's hardly a death blow, but it will present another challenge for Painter and his crew, one few could have seem coming weeks ago.