A.J. Hammons

Purdue center A.J. Hammons will return for junior season

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The 2013-14 season was a disappointing one for Purdue, with Matt Painter’s Boilermakers finishing 15-17 overall and 5-13 in Big Ten play. Among the players expected to lead the way next season for a group that hopes to turn things around is center A.J. Hammons, who on Wednesday announced that he’ll be returning to West Lafayette for his junior season.

As a sophomore Hammons averaged 10.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game, earning Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors while also being named to the league’s All-Defensive Team.

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“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 in the release. “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.”

The Boilermakers will have to account for the loss of their top two scorers from a year ago, with Terone Johnson having graduated and younger brother Ronnie deciding to transfer. However five of their top seven scorers return, led by Hammons and guard Kendall Stephens.

Purdue also adds a five-member recruiting class, with the recent signing of point guard P.J. Thompson giving the program some needed depth on the perimeter after the loss of both Johnson brothers.

Henry Ellenson wins Marquette Madness dunk contest

Steve Wojciechowski
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Marquette freshman forward Henry Ellenson won the Marquette Madness slam dunk contest on Friday night with a between the legs dunk.

The 6-foot-10 Ellenson, the top recruit in Steve Wojciechowski’s freshmen class, defeated sophomore Sandy Cohen, fellow freshman Sacar Anim and Wally Ellenson, his older brother.

Ellenson joins the Golden Eagles as the No. 11 overall recruit in the Class of 2015.

Bill Self signs $10,000 check for KU student


Late Night in the Phog is typically a night to remember for Kansas fans. For Kansas student Jerrod Martin Castro, Friday night’s event is one he won’t forget.

Castro, a sophomore, was selected as a contestant for a $10,000 giveaway. The only thing standing in the way of a big payday was a half-court shot. Brennan Bechard, the Kansas director of basketball operations, attempted the long-distance shot and hit nothing but net.

Kansas head coach Bill Self signed a $10,000 check on the spot.