Fletcher Loyer comes to Purdue as a much-needed perimeter-scoring threat. With questions surrounding the guard play, there is a likely chance that Loyer gets significant minutes from the jump.
Fletcher Loyer, the 93rd-ranked recruit per 247Sports, comes in with the ability to flat-out score. He averaged 25.7 points per game after moving to Fort Wayne to attend Homestead High School for his junior and senior seasons. This was highlighted by a 50-point performance in his junior season in which he went 20-of-28 from the field, and 6-of-10 from three. Needless to say, the incoming freshman is nothing short of a bucket-getter on offense.
As highlighted by some of my player articles (and Purdue Twitter and really anyone with any sort of fandom towards Purdue this offseason), there have been some questions surrounding upcoming guard play in West Lafayette. I mentioned here how I think Braden Smith will ultimately fill the point guard role for the upcoming seasons. That still leaves off-ball guard duties to be determined.
Ultimately for this season, I think those off-ball guard possessions will be distributed between Brandon Newman, David Jenkins Jr, and Fletcher Loyer. There has been some hype surrounding him going into the early practices, and there is a lot of belief that Loyer is going to be that next Purdue bucket-getter.
Shooting and shot making
There are so many things to talk about when looking at Loyer’s offensive game. The first thing that stands out though is the pure shooting. I mean, he did win the high school 3-point challenge this past year.
In his junior season, he shot 45% from downtown, 90% from the free throw line, and 53% overall. It is not often to find a high school player part of the 50/45/90 club.
His efficiency decreased slightly during his senior year, although his volume went way up as he was tasked with much more to do. He shot 47% overall, 37% from deep, and 86% from the charity stripe. Still very good numbers.
What stands out is how comfortable he is getting into his shot. In the video above it was a transition pull-up three. He took one dribble and was right into the shot. There was no hesitation, fidgeting, or questioning. He knew exactly where his feet needed to go to get up an on-balance shot. When that is coupled with a fluid release like his, it becomes tough to close out.
Even when there is no dribble, it is basically the same exact shot for Loyer. This is going to be super important at Purdue as I think his most utilized shot will be a spot-updeep. In this play above, he recognized the defense was not coming out on him, so he passed the ball with the sole purpose of relocating to get an in-rhythm jumper. This was well beyond the college line, so distance is not going to be an issue for him. The shot was once again super fluid and repeatable. The form itself should have no issue against college teams.
When he gets wide open looks like the two above, he is going to knock down a lot of them. He is one of the better shooters Purdue has ever gotten (at least coming out of high school). He’s going to be a deep-range threat from day one. He has good off-ball movement that should feature him in a lot of sets like Purdue ran for Sasha the past few seasons.
What makes Loyer even more special is his off-the-dribble pull-up. He struggled some getting to the rim (which I’ll talk about below), but his pull-up game was silky smooth.
In this play, the defense tried to get into him more. He turned the corner on his defender instead, and got him on his back. Once Loyer got comfortable and to his spot, boom. Easy pull-up with once again the same form as when he was shooting a 3-pointer.
Loyer’s shooting was very consistent, and he won’t have to take as many shots as he did in high school. He took (and made) some very tough ones like this one below against Braden Smith that won’t be needed at Purdue.
Smith played great defense and it just did not matter. Loyer was able to use his length to rise up and over, which minimized the effect Smith had.
Loyer’s shot is pure, and a lot of it is due to the next thing I’m talking about, his footwork.
IQ and footwork may be two separate things, but they both revolve around feel for the game to me. You could tell when watching Loyer play that he knew where everyone should be, and where the ball should go.
He is not the most athletic, but he was able to use more of his IQ to read the play and get to where he needed to be. His dad is a former NBA coach and is currently on an NBA staff, so it makes sense that Loyer understands the game at a higher level. This is going to be big at Purdue as they run some complex sets on offense, and he will need to be able to pick up on the defense right away.
His footwork stood out though. Whether it be off the dribble, off a screen, or coming off of an off-ball screen, Loyer was always in position to shoot.
In this clip, Loyer does not get a shot up, but just look at his feet. He comes off of a pin-down and is more than ready to shoot as his feet hit the floor. If he had wanted to put it up, there would have been no time wasted. Even in some of the prior clips above, Loyer showcased really good footwork that put him in a scoring position immediately.
Things to Improve
This is going to be the swing skill for Loyer. If he can improve this, then he becomes multi-dimensional as a playmaker, and it would be reasonable for him to run point at times for Purdue. If it doesn’t improve, he will still have a chance to be a tremendous player, but it will be more in the shooter role. He does not have a bad handle, it is just very loose which allows defenders to get into him and rip at the ball.
He goes for the cross over here, but it is out away from his body. The defender recognizes it and swipes which forces the loose ball. Loyer is not going to out athleticize everyone, so he is going to have to have just a little more control when looking to get inside of the arc or making a dribble move.
This backtap in the video is something I saw a few times. Look at where the ball is right when Loyer crosses the 3-point line (about 4 seconds into the video). It was a crossover from left to right, and he let the ball float out too far from his body. The defense recognized and tapped it away. If that ball stays just a little closer to his body, it becomes much more difficult for defenders to poke at it.
At Purdue, he is going to go up against physical defenders that will be looking for steals. It is going to be really important for him to get the handle a little bit tighter. I think the ball handling is close to being good, but there’s enough there that opposing defenses will want him to force him to put the ball on the ground rather than shoot.
As amazing of a scorer as Fletcher Loyer was, most of his shots coming in the half-court were jumpers or floaters (which makes the efficiency and scoring output even more impressive). What he did not do was get to the rim often. Granted, he is such a good shooter that he never really needed to. If he is able to add some sort of rim pressure at Purdue though, it at least makes the defense have to think about not selling out on the 3.
Part of this is due to him not being the quickest or strongest, but he is also a college freshman. Purdue is no doubt going to work with him on those things and physically make him the best he can. The other part relates back to the ball handling. It is tougher to get downhill when there is not complete control of the ball.
This Purdue team is a team that has no proven perimeter threat (although many players show potential), but there REALLY is no one with a proven rim presence aside from Edey. If Loyer is able to take some defenders off the dribble and into the paint, the offense opens up a lot more.
I think once he does get into the lane, he has pretty good touch.
Here was a little floater from about six feet out. He puts good arc and touch on it, and I think it translates to at the rim as well.
Fletcher Loyer’s passing is the definition of intriguing to me. What I have settled on (for now because thoughts about a player should always be open to being changed) is that he is really smart and makes the right reads a lot of time, but the passes themselves are not always on target. He never seems to quite have enough zip on them to make them extremely effective.
Loyer here rips and goes baseline which draws two defenders. His teammate rotated to the top of the key and was wide open. Loyer 100% makes the correct read here, but the pass is low and causes the shooter to not be in rhythm. This was a difficult pass in general, but adding that to his skills only helps. Loyer will need to be able to attack closeouts at some point in his career, and with that comes the responsibility of making the right read.
This was a great pass by Loyer. Driving baseline, he wrapped the pass around two defenders, putting it on the side of his teammate away from the rotating defense. If he put it on the left side of his teammate, there is a good chance the ball gets poked at. The skills are more than there, I am just hoping it becomes more consistent at Purdue.
Similar to the passing, I have no real clue if I would call Fletcher Loyer a good defender or not. My thinking now is that I trust him off of the ball but still needs to be proven for his on-ball defense. He appears to be pretty lanky, and I trust his IQ. This leads to a good off-ball defender, just as shown in the clip below.
Here Loyer kind of baits the offense into throwing the pass, which he was anticipating. He understands rotations fairly well, and I think will be able to get in passing lanes at times. He did average 2.2 steals per game his senior year.
Loyer is pretty fast going north/south, and he has really good change of pace. However, he is not the quickest laterally, and I think that could become an issue on defense. He will most likely start on opposing teams’ shooters at Purdue, which should suit his strengths on that end of the floor.
There is a lot to be excited about for Purdue guards. I think the backcourt of Fletcher Loyer and Braden Smith will be difficult to deal with, especially in a year or two. They complement each other really well. Add in 2023 recruit Myles Colvin and you get what has the potential (if everyone hits close to their ceilings) to be one of the best backcourts at Purdue of the last 30 years. I’m very much sold on all of these guys.
That is down the road though. Right now, Loyer will look to come in and torch the nets right away. Expect a lot of off-ball actions such as floppy, pindowns, and Chicago ran for him, very similar to those that were ran for Sasha.
Fletcher Loyer’s role will be up in the air at first. He has the potential to start, but he could also be one of the first guys off of the bench. I think a system like Purdue’s will be perfect for Loyer, allowing him to fly off of screens while not maintaining too much responsibility on the ball. He can flat-out shoot, and I expect the 3s to be falling early from him.
For my Braden Smith article, click here.
For my Zach Edey breakdown, click here.
For my Brandon Newman breakdown, click here.
For my Trey Kaufman-Renn breakdown, click here.
To follow me on Twitter for more film threads like that in the article and below, click here.