However, NBA scouts and others with NBA backgrounds share their belief that there is a place in the NBA for Hammons. “I always reference that game vs. Maryland,” said one NBA scout, who like others spoke on the condition of anonymity because teams cannot publicly comment on players. “He made two 3s in that game. He showed the full arsenal. He’s able to do a lot of different things. He’s able to shoot the ball, able to pick-and-pop. For a 7-footer, that’s a major difference in why he’s getting all this consideration.”
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Working against Hammons? Some teams have character concerns after Hammons was suspended for the first three games of his sophomore season and benched for three games to begin his senior year. It’s not necessarily a red flag, but it does give teams pause. However, one scout said Hammons’ maturation could be a sign of his ability to overcome adversity and work through tough situations.
On Saturday afternoon, Purdue center AJ Hammons opted to forego the 2015 NBA Draft and return to Purdue for his senior season. Hammons has played in three seasons for Purdue and earned All-Big Ten 2nd Team honors last season as he was a key contributor in Purdue’s NCAA Tournament appearance.
Purdue sophomore center A.J. Hammons has announced that he will return to the program for the upcoming 2014-15 season, ending speculation that he will enter the NBA Draft. “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,” Hammons said.
A.J. Hammons attended Purdue basketball’s season-ending banquet with a bandaged cut above his right eye. The abrasion resulted from a practice headbutt — inadvertent, Hammons clarified — from Boilermakers assistant Brandon Brantley. But that hasn’t been the only recent headache for Hammons, who continues to gather information about his professional stock while mulling whether or not to enter the NBA draft. “It’s something I think about a lot, but I’ve still got school to worry about,” said Hammons, a 7-foot sophomore center. “It’s a big decision, with family and everything else involved. You can never come back and play the college game, so that would be kind of hard. It’s something I’ve got to make — it’s a life decision.”
A.J. Hammons insists school, not the NBA, is his focus right now. But Purdue’s 7-foot sophomore center admits there’s a big decision in his future, and he’s in the process of gathering the prudent information. Hammons says he’s turning to everything from coaches to Internet sources to decide if the time is right to pursue the NBA draft. “I know I can play in the NBA, but it’s just, am I ready to? That’s the only problem,” Hammons said. “I’ve heard it before. I know I can do it, it’s just putting in a lot of hard work, and that’s something I’ve been trying to do.”