Purdue center A.J. Hammons to return for senior season

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With graduate student Jon Octeus being the biggest personnel loss for Purdue at the end of the 2014-15 season, one major question remained unanswered: what would 6-foot-11 center A.J. Hammons do? A second team All-Big Ten selection in 2014-15, the junior was faced with the NBA question for a second consecutive spring.

And just as he did last year, Hammons has decided to return to West Lafayette for another season. Hammons announced the news at halftime of the football team’s spring game.

“Earning my degree is one of the most important goals that I have for myself and returning to Purdue next year will enable me to reach that,” Hammons said in a release sent out by the school. “In addition, I feel that our team has a lot of unfinished business to reach next season and I want to be a part of something special.

“Purdue is an outstanding school with great people and the chance to compete for a Big Ten Championship and more is something I want to experience again with my teammates.”

Hammons and rising sophomore Isaac Haas give Purdue a substantial amount of size in the middle, with the latter developing into a quality option as the 2014-15 season progressed. And they have a host of options on the perimeter as well, with rising sophomores Vince Edwards and Dakota Mathias being joined by veterans such as Rapheal Davis, Kendall Stephens and Basil Smotherman.

If they’re one question for Purdue heading into the summer it’s the point guard spot, and with Octeus out of eligibility the Boilermakers will be young there. P.J. Thompson will be a sophomore, and Grant Weatherford is one of two freshmen joining the program with a talented shooting guard in Ryan Cline being the other.

Purdue may not be placed on the level of Maryland and Michigan State when it comes to assessing the contenders in the Big Ten, but they aren’t to be overlooked either. Hammons’ decision to return for his senior season ensures that Matt Painter’s team will be a factor in the conference race.