Originally posted on The Sports Bank  |  Last updated 4/17/14
Yes, as frustrating and inconsistent as A.J. Hammons has been, he’ll probably be drafted. Likely even in the first round in ’15. This year…no chance. Sports Illustrated claims that 17% of the population which is 7 feet or taller play in the NBA. H/T to my Twitter follow/er @coloradojimw So he made the correct decision to stay in school yesterday.  As you watch teams play the “Hack-a- A.J. Hammonds ” defense on Purdue next year, and maybe you don’t find that brand of basketball aesthetically pleasing (you wouldn’t be the only one) remember that A.J. is likely going to handsomely paid one day soon. “Only thing that stopped me from reaching my potential last year was just me, and listening to other people I shouldn’t have been listening to,” A.J. Hammons said at Purdue Media Day. Yes, that’s true. He really does control his down destiny, and the key to his development between the ears. Hammons was suspended for the season opener and the two exhibition games. In terms of the on the court stuff, A.J. Hammons needs to be more than jsut a guy who gets to the foul line. “I’ve decided to stay and continue my education here at Purdue, and there are a lot of goals I still want to accomplish with my teammates on the court,” A.J. Hammons said.   “First and foremost, we want to get back to the postseason and compete for a Big Ten title. I feel like we owe our fans some better basketball. Purdue is a special place with a lot of great people and I’m excited to continue my education here and be a part of a great community.” His 17 free throw attempts at Northwestern were the second most for a Big Ten player this year (20 by Penn State’s Tim Frazier vs. St. John’s on Nov. 29, 2013). That’s the most for a Purdue player since Carl Landry had 18 against Missouri on Dec. 9, 2006 (E’Twaun Moore had 17 vs. Northwestern on March 12, 2010). Over the last three games, A.J. Hammons has scored 21 of his 29 points at the free throw line. “I feel like this loss is on me, I didn’t knock the free throws down when I needed to, and I didn’t score in the paint,” he said after the loss at NU. So he’s saying all the right things. But he’s not doing all the right things. He played just 12 minutes and scored only two points in the loss to #3 Wisconsin. Still someone will draft A.J. Hammons much higher than they should in spite of his less than prolific statistical production. See: Meyers Leonard, Hasheem Thabeet, Shawn Bradley, Steven Adams…..well you get the idea. Just because the idea of a Center is dying out in the NBA doesn’t mean some NBA team won’t take A.J. Hammons in 2015. Wouldn’t have happened in 2014 though. Head coach Matt Painter and A.J. Hammons met multiple times over the last month to discuss his standing with NBA teams and personnel and ultimately decided it was in Hammons’ best interest to return to school. “Coach Painter has been fantastic during this process with me,” Hammons said. “We have gone over every report, and I have a good feel for where I stand and what I need to improve on. I know I have things to work on, and there is no better place for me to develop more as a player and as a person.” A.J. Hammons, a 7-foot, 251-pound center, averaged 10.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game a year ago for the Boilermakers. He was named to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive Team after leading the Big Ten in blocked shots and ranking second in the league in rebounding. He was the only player in the country during 2013-14 to post a game with at least 15 points, 15 rebounds, five blocks and four assists when he had 18 points, 16 rebounds, five blocks and four assists against No. 3-ranked Ohio State in the Big Ten opener. He paced the Big Ten (league games only) with six double-doubles. Paul M. Banks is the owner of The Sports Bank.net, an affiliate of Fox Sports. An MBA and Fulbright scholar in media studies, he’s also an analyst for multiple news talk radio stations across the country; with regular weekly segments on NBC and Fox Sports Radio. President Barack Obama follows him on Twitter (@paulmbanks) Follow paulmbanks The post Purdue C A.J. Hammons makes correct decision about NBA draft appeared first on The Sports Bank.Net.
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