Purdue Men’s Basketball Inks Frontcourt Duo

By: Contributor Last Updated: November 10, 2010

purdue-logo.jpgHead coach Matt Painter and the Purdue men’s basketball staff have received signed National Letters of Intent from Donnie Hale and Jacob Lawson. The duo of long, athletic forwards will begin competing for the Boilermakers in the 2011-12 season.

“With this recruiting class, we’ve been able to help our athleticism and speed, as well as our ability to rebound and block shots on the front line,” Painter said. “Donnie Hale and Jacob Lawson are both high-energy players who can help us in a lot of areas.

“It’s rare that you sign two guys who have a lot of the same qualities, but they both rebound, block shots and run the court. Both guys have a high ceiling to develop in terms of skill level and have the ability to be very good players in the Big Ten before it’s all said and done.”

Purdue’s 2010 Signing Class

NamePos.Ht.Wt.Hometown(High School/Previous School)
Donnie HaleF6-8 210New Albany, Ind.(New Albany/Bridgton Prep)
Jacob LawsonF6-8220Reidsville, N.C.(Oak Ridge Military Academy)

Donnie Hale
Hale averaged 18.0 points, 7.8 rebounds and 3.3 blocks per contest as a senior to lead New Albany to its fourth-straight Hoosier Hills Conference championship and a No. 2 ranking in the final Class 4A poll.

“Donnie Hale has been very loyal to Purdue and stayed the course in his recruiting, and that just shows the type of character he has,” Painter said. “Getting a guy who wants to be at Purdue is very important to us. We’ve developed a special relationship with him, and he’s continued to show that this is the place he wants to be.

“We’re excited about his developing skill and his overall upside. He’s getting the experience of playing prep school basketball on the east coast in a very good league, and that’s really going to help him. Donnie has a chance to be a great player at this level.”

Graded a 91 and ranked as the No. 37 power forward in his class by ESPN Given a three-star rating, ranked as the No. 144 overall recruit and the No. 25 power forward in his class by Rivals.com Given a three-star rating and ranked as the No. 33 power forward by Scout.com A 2010 McDonald’s All-America nominee A first-team AP all-state selection in 2010 after earning third-team honors in 2009 A 2010 Indiana All-Star Named an IBCA Junior All-Star in 2009 Named to the IBCA All-State Underclassmen Team in 2009 Tabbed first-team all-area by the Louisville Courier-Journal following his junior and senior seasons Collected New Albany Tribune Player of Year honors in 2009 Propelled New Albany to sectional and regional titles as a sophomore, and a sectional championship as a freshman Coached by Jim Shannon at New Albany High School, Cory Downs on the Spiece Downs AAU team and Whit Lesure at Bridgton Prep

“Donnie is building on his conditioning, toughness and leadership this year at Bridgton,” Lesure said. “He was well-coached in high school, and he’s certainly a Purdue-type guy. I’ve been impressed with his work ethic and desire to improve as a player.”

“Donnie is a competitor, and he plays to win,” Shannon said when Hale originally signed in 2009. “He likes to go out and give you everything he’s got. He’s also applied himself in the classroom, and that was a big part of him being accepted to Purdue. He’s such a hard worker that he’ll continue to grow on and off the court, and Purdue is getting a quality player and person.”

“Donnie is a great kid who comes from a great family,” Todd Hensley, director of Spiece Basketball, said at the time of Hale’s original signing. “I’ve gotten to know Donnie and his family over the years, and I’m very proud of what he’s been able to accomplish. He’s a hard worker who will run the floor and do a lot of the little things to help Purdue win.”

“The sky is the limit for Donnie,” Downs said when Hale signed with Purdue in 2009. “He doesn’t realize how much potential he has, and he couples that with a great work ethic. Boilermaker fans will be able to get excited about the effort that Donnie Hale will put forth on a nightly basis.”

Jacob Lawson
Lawson averaged 14.5 points, 12.5 rebounds and 5.5 blocks per game as a junior at Oak Ridge Military Academy.

“After watching Jacob play a few times, I think he’s one of the best players in the country at his position,” Painter said. “His Oak Ridge Military Academy team plays one of the toughest schedules in the nation, and they compete hard. I was thrilled that we were able to get involved in the recruiting process and develop a relationship with him and his family.

“The sky is the limit for Jacob if he comes to Purdue and puts time into his individual game, puts time into the weight room and learns our system. He knows he’s got some things to improve from a skill standpoint, but that’s something we’ve proven is possible with the development of our players over the last five years.”

Graded a 91, ranked as the No. 159 overall prospect and ranked as the No. 28 power forward in his class by ESPN Given a three-star rating by Rivals.com Given a three-star rating and ranked as the No. 29 power forward by Scout.com Blocked more than 500 shots in the first three years of his prep career An All-Triad Conference selection in 2009 Led Northern Guilford High School to the North Carolina 3A state title in 2009 Also considered Georgetown, Mississippi, Seton Hall, Virginia Tech and Wake Forest Coached by Stan Kowalewski at Oak Ridge Military Academy and Tony Edwards on the AAU circuit

“Purdue is getting an outstanding student-athlete who brings passion and intensity to the gym on a daily basis,” Kowalewski said. “Jacob is fun to watch on both the offensive and defensive ends due to his athleticism. He’s grown into a leadership role as a captain of our team and an officer in the corps at our school, which is a great sign of his maturity and responsibility.”

“The immediate impact Jacob will make on the Purdue program will be with his athleticism and help-side defense,” Edwards said. “He’ll be one of the top athletes in the gym from day one, and he’s an eraser on the help side. Off the court, Jacob is just a great kid. He’s helpful, positive and upbeat at all times.”

Purdue will open the 113th season of Boilermaker basketball on Sunday, when it plays host to Howard at 5 p.m. ET. The game will be televised on Big Ten Network, and heard on the radio waves over the Purdue Sports Network.