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Former Purdue captain challenges President Obama to shooting contest in local political Super Bowl ad (VIDEO)

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Former Purdue basketball captain Curt Clawson is challenging President Obama to a shooting contest in a new commercial that ran locally during the Super Bowl.

Clawson, a member of Purdue’s basketball team under Gene Keady from 1981-84 and a captain on Purdue’s 1984 Big Ten Championship team, is a Republican candidate for the Florida House running in the special election to replace resigned Rep. Trey Radel, also a Republican. Radel resigned last month after federal agents caught the first-term congressman buying cocaine in Washington.

“I’m Curt Clawson. I’m challenging President Obama to a three-point contest. I wanna take on Obama in Congress, so why not start on the court?” Clawson says in the 30-second ad. “Obama’s been missing a lot of shots lately, and not just in basketball.”

According to Fox News, the ad played during the Super Bowl in the district that Clawson is running in before the game — and also at halftime — and cost about $200,000 to run.

The special election for Radal’s seat has not yet been scheduled and no comment has been made from President Obama, according to Fox News.

Clawson was recently selected for the 2014 Distinguished Alumni Award at Purdue, which recognizes College of Liberal Arts alums at the school for their professional achievements, dedication to their communities, and involvement with Purdue.

Purdue forward Donnie Hale transfers to Division II Bellarmine

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Turns out that even with practices beginning today, there’s still some room for player movement to take place.

On Friday Purdue announced that redshirt sophomore forward Donnie Hale has decided to transfer. A native of New Albany, Ind., Hale averaged 3.8 points and 2.8 rebounds per game in 2012-13. Hale started eight of the 32 games in which he played (14.5 minutes per game), shooting 43.5% from the field. He’ll be transferring to Division II Bellarmine, which is located in Louisville. The move allows Hale to be closer to his family while also not having to sit out the 2013-14 season.

Hale said he’s transferring primarily to be closer to home. His girlfriend and nearly 3-year-old daughter live in Charlestown, Ind., and his family is still in New Albany.

“That was one of the main issues,” he said. “I want to be closer to my kid and get to see her more often. I felt like (Bellarmine) could be a better fit for me.”

Hale’s best offensive performance came in the Boilermakers’ season-opening loss to Bucknell, as he scored 15 points on 7-for-12 shooting from the field and grabbed four rebounds.

“Donnie has expressed his intent to transfer to be closer to home and for his desire for more playing time,” head coach Matt Painter said in the release according to the Indianapolis Star. “We thank him for his hard work and wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

While this isn’t the optimal time for any team to lose a player, Purdue has some options inside. Sophomore A.J. Hammons (10.6 ppg, 6.0 rpg), one of the Big Ten’s best newcomers last season, returns as does senior Travis Carroll (8.3 mpg).  Purdue also adds former Cornell forward Errick Peck, and Jay Simpson returns after playing in just ten games last season due to a foot injury.

However even if Hale were to remain in West Lafayette, the majority of Purdue’s depth would still be on the perimeter with Ronnie (10.3 ppg, 4.1 apg) and Terone Johnson (13.5 ppg, 2.7 apg) leading the way.

Addition of 2014 center Steve McElvene gives Dayton needed size

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With just three players taller than 6-6 who have eligibility past the 2013-14 season on the roster, the Dayton Flyers could use some additional size in its 2014 recruiting class. And that’s exactly what head coach Archie Miller has gained, as 6-11 center Steve McElvene announced his decision to verbally commit to the Atlantic 10 school.

McElvene played at New Haven High School in Indiana last year, helping lead his team to an 18-5 record. On a team that featured Notre Dame signee V.J. Beachem, McElvene made a name for himself as the season progressed and accounted for 39 points, 33 rebounds and ten blocked shots in two Indiana Class 4A regional games.

McElvene played with highly-touted prospects JaQuan Lyle (verbally committed to attend Louisville) and Trey Lyles (one of the top uncommitted players in the 2014 class) this summer with the Spiece Indy Heat program, averaging 9.3 points and 3.5 rebounds per game on the Nike EYBL circuit.

As McElvene enjoyed more success on the court, programs such as Kansas State, Pittsburgh and Purdue became even more interested in his services. But in the end the big man chose to commit to Dayton after taking an official visit to the school last weekend.

McElvene joins a front court that in 2014 will include Alex Gavrilovic, Jalen Robinson and Devon Scott, with Robinson (6.1 ppg, 5.1 rpg) being the most productive of the three in 2012-13. With 6-7 forward Devin Oliver (8.9 ppg, 7.8 rpg) entering his senior season the Flyers needed someone who can help them on the glass in 2014, and the addition of McElvene will help in this regard.

Michigan State’s Branden Dawson denies that he punched Purdue’s Travis Carroll

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Branden Dawson a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds in Michigan State’s win over Purdue on Saturday, but his stat line wasn’t the focus of the conversation after the game.

Instead, the conversation has centered around this, video footage that some believe shows Dawson getting in a physical altercation with Purdue’s Travis Carroll and throwing a punch at him late in Michigan State’s blowout victory.

The Big Ten has reviewed the tape and decided there is no conclusive evidence of a punch being thrown and, thus, will not discipline Dawson. On Tuesday, Dawson responded and explained how he saw the situation, via MLive.com.

“Travis Carroll, he came down, and he latched into me and kind of bumped me,” Dawson said. “The ball went in through the net, and he kept going. Our arms got tangled, and I kind of smacked down. We kind of had some words, and our guys were talking toward each other, so it got kind of chippy.

“With Purdue and their fans, it was just crazy because I wouldn’t do anything to hurt anyone. I was just kind of bummed out about it.”

Did Dawson throw a punch? Check out the hyperlink above and make your own judgment. As for Dawson, he and the Spartans go on the road to face Iowa on Thursday.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Deshaun Thomas, No. 15 Ohio State bounce back after loss to Illinois, beat Purdue

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Behind 22 points on 8-of-13 shooting from Deshaun Thomas, Ohio State bounced back from a loss over the weekend to beat Purdue on the road, 74-64, at Mackey Arena in West Lafayette, Ind.

After a 19-point loss at the hands of No. 11 Illinois on Saturday, the Buckeyes came out Tuesday with more energy, outrebounding Purdue 36-27 and shooting 56 percent from the floor. Thomas, having been nearly the only offensive option in the loss to Illinois, got offensive support Tuesday from Aaron Craft, Sam Thompson, and Evan Ravenel.

Ravenel’s 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting is a major improvement over his performance against Illinois, when he took just two shots.

Credit goes to Ohio State for getting a road win, the first of the many Big Ten contenders to get a notable win on the road in conference play. We know the Big Ten is going to likely be the toughest league in the country in 2012-13, so a win over a solid middle-of-the-pack team will add cushion to a tournament resume.

Looking forward, the Buckeyes have a few days off before heading back home to face the high-powered offense of No. 2 Michigan in Columbus. Against National Player of the Year candidate Trey Burke, Aaron Craft will find his toughest one-on-one matchup yet. The battle between Deshaun Thomas and Glenn Robinson III will also be one to keep an eye on.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_

Despite being drafted into NBA, former Purdue forward Robbie Hummel headed to Spain

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Former Purdue forward Robbie Hummel has decided to take his professional career overseas, signing with El Obradoiro of Spain’s top professional league, the Lafayette Courier Journal is reporting.

Hummel had been drafted 58th overall by the Minnesota Timberwolves in the 2012 NBA Draft, but worked out an agreement that allows him to go to Europe.

“It is a done deal,” Hummel told the paper. “I am heading over to Spain. I’m excited. The Timberwolves and myself both agreed that it’s probably best for me to go overseas for a year.

“(The Timberwolves) have a lot of forwards on the team, but I still think the Timberwolves are my future.”

During his career at Purdue, Hummel tore his ACL twice, battling back both times and averaging 16.4 points and 7.2 rebounds per game this past season as a senior.

The Indiana native leaves Purdue ninth on the school’s all-time scoring list, as well as fourth on the all-time rebounding list.

As for his former team, they are currently in Italy for an overseas trip. The team recently visited the Vatican and is preparing for the 2012-13 season after finishing 22-13 this past year.

The Boilermakers welcome four Indiana natives to the team in 2012-13, led by Oak Hill (Va.) center A.J. Hammons.

Daniel Martin is a writer and editor at JohnnyJungle.com, covering St. John’s. You can find him on Twitter:@DanielJMartin_