Carl Landry

  • Purdue basketball
  • He has a classic rags-to-riches story. He was cut from his freshman team in high school, averaged about six points a game as a senior and was lucky to be recruited to a junior college. He kept improving, though, and wound up landing a Big Ten scholarship and becoming an early second-round draft pick in the NBA.

    Simple as that, right?

    Landry played for Gene Keady and Matt Painter at Purdue, turning down Kelvin Sampson at Oklahoma to do so. A leg injury forced him to sit out a season after Painter took over, but it turned out to be the best thing that could have happened to him. He had more time to improve, and the team he would have played on that season wasn’t going to win anyway.

    He flourished his senior season under Painter, but it didn’t come easily. Painter offered one of the greatest lines I’ve ever heard from a coach in recalling what he used to tell Landry in practice while driving him to become better: “I don’t want you to like me when you’re 22. I want you to like me when you’re 32.” Meaning, he hoped Landry would appreciate the benefits of all the hard work in later years, even if he didn’t like it now.

    Landry turned 32 in September of 2015. Hopefully he’ll have good feelings about his time with Painter by then, if not already. He’s still in the NBA, now with Philadelphia.

    I drove to West Lafayette to conduct this conversation with Landry, who was running a basketball camp there at the time. We met up in his hotel room. Not the most glamorous setting, but it was appropriate, because he came from a humble background.

    First aired 2010

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