Hammons says he’ll stay at Purdue

Purdue's A.J. Hammons, left, blocks a shot by Minnesota's Andre Hollins during an NCAA college basketball game Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2014, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind. (AP Photo/Journal &Courier, Michael Heinz)

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A.J. Hammons says he’ll return for another season with Purdue.

The 7-foot-tall center averaged 10.8 points and 7.4 rebounds to go with 96 blocked shots during the 2013-2014 season when Purdue finished 15-17, last in the Big Ten with a 5-13 mark.

“I have 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. “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.

Hammons, a junior, will be joined by a recruiting class that includes shooting guard Dakota Mathias, small forward Vince Edwards, power forward Jacquil Taylor and 7-foot-2 center Isaac Haas. Mathias and Edwards are from Ohio, Taylor is from Massachusetts and Haas is from Alabama.

Painter also on Wednesday signed point guard P.J. Thompson, a 5-foot-11 high school senior from Indianapolis Brebeuf who averaged 24 points a game during the 2013-14 season.

“I have been a big fan of P.J. since he was 14 or 15 years old. We think we are getting a really good basketball player. That stems from a long-standing relationship. That is good, but it also is rare. We decided to offer him because we needed more consistent play from that spot. We were very fortunate that he was still available in the spring. We feel like we really got a steal.”

Thompson is expected to challenge sophomore Bryson Scott for the starting point guard position. Scott and Johnson shared those duties this past season.

Boilermakers coach Matt Painter also said that with three available scholarships, he might try to sign a fifth-year transfer who will complete his undergraduate degree in the spring and will have a year of athletic eligibility remaining.


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