Top 10 Photos From This Past Season
I saw the first and last game of the Purdue Basketball season this year, but not as many in between as in years past. This year it seemed like other jobs kept getting in the way of attending the games. I worked for a couple of the opponents as well, but sometimes you still make a good photo of your alma mater even when you are contracted out to the other team. Ten seasons ago I picked up my first season ticket for the Boilers. It was the start of the Matt Painter era, and I did not know what to expect. The tough play of that team had me hooked. This year’s team reminded me of that tough team that laid the foundation for some good things the next couple of seasons. This is a great core group of players that could really do some big things. They will be fun to watch as they mature over the next couple of years. So here is my list of my ten favorite shots from the season. As with most of my lists this one lists my ten favorite shots, not the ten most technically pleasing.
10. This is the moment when I knew just how big Isaac Haas really was. I had seen the photo made by Paul Sadler of Isaac holding the basketball. He made it look like a mini-ball. Some of that could have been the distance of the ball to the camera in comparison to Isaac. When I saw him block a shot without leaving his feet like this I realized that I was in for something special. He did not disappoint during his freshman year either. I was shooting the game for Samford, but this was a shot that I threw in my Purdue folder.
9. I love these scene setter photos. They are a great way to start a photo story. During the Purdue game against Ohio State I knew that I would not have a spot on the baseline during the first half. I spent some of that time walking around in the crowd making photos. It was not too long ago that all of my photos came from up here so I decided to play around a bit. I never know when I will be back in the crowd making photos so I always get some practice in up here.
8. During the first exhibition game of the season you could see that the late acquisition of Jon Octeus was a great one for Purdue. He was just the player that the team needed at just the right time. He would be a big difference maker during the season. During the exhibition game he was playing the hard nosed basketball that we have come to expect at Purdue. He only played one season here, but he left a mark for sure.
7. Early in my first Purdue NCAA Tournament game Rapheal Davis gave me a great photo. He had great form headed to the basket, and all I had to do was press the shutter button. During the course of the season Rapheal became one of my favorite players to shoot. I could usually count on him for a couple of great photos during a game. This is not the last time he will show up on this countdown.
6. After A.J. Hammons slammed a couple home in the first half of Purdue’s NCAA Tournament game against Cincinnati he committed his first foul sending him to the bench. True freshman Isaac Haas came into the game, and delivered one of his own. After a season of dunks facing the wrong way I was pleased with what I captured during the final game of the season.
5. The Purdue game against Indiana was a rough one where Purdue imposed their will on their instate rivals. As you know if you read this blog I love the shots at the free throw line. These battles can be very good. I made one of my favorites of the season here. The anticipation makes the photo.
4. This season I did not do very good as far as the dunks were concerned. It seemed like I was on the wrong end of the court when they happened, or on the wrong side of the baseline. I have a lot of photos of players dunking with their back to me. Those are not the best as far as I am concerned. When A.J. Hammons sent his first dunk home in the NCAA Tournament he was facing the wrong way. I was sitting on the opposite side of the baseline than I do at Purdue, but I still had the same result. I probably mumbled “figures” under my breath as I looked into my viewfinder. That seemed like the last play where the players faced the wrong way during the half. I love shooting on this side of the baseline because the play faces you most of the time. I had to make the most of my opportunity when I had it, and this dunk that occurred a couple of minutes after the first one I thought I captured well.
3. Rapheal Davis was named the defensive player of the year in the Big Ten this year. He was a force all year long, and I think that this photo shows a lot of that in one frame. You see the block on Iowa Hawkeyes star Aaron White. The defense sign in the upper left hand corner could be viewed as a distraction, but I think that it adds to this photo.
2. Earlier in the week I posted this as my favorite photo of the NCAA Tournament that I covered in Louisville, Kentucky. It was a very candid moment, and the only real thing that we might have seen at the podium that day. A.J. Hammons had one of those moments that we all have had. He was trying not to laugh, but it just was not working. After a couple of laughs came out he lost it. I was happy to capture that moment.
1. Number one on the countdown is this photo of Rapheal Davis celebrating the win over Indiana with the Paint Crew. I think that it was the third straight home win over a top 25 team for Purdue. After a rocky December it was the time when the fans started thinking about the NCAA Tournament. Ray is an emotional guy that makes great images just by pointing the camera on him. This is just another example of that.