There is one player that is discussed as an NBA first round draft pick on Purdue's team this year, and he needs to play like a first round pick in order to have a great season.
A.J. Hammons - Jr.
Gary, IN (Oak Hill Academy)
7'0", 261 pounds
2014-15 Projection: Starter at Center
It is time for potential to become reality for A.J. Hammons. Last season he averaged 10.8 points and 7.4 rebounds, but one of the biggest problems in his Purdue career is that he hasn't done more. He can tear off a stretch like his freshman year where he averaged 22 and 10 over a three-game stretch against Indiana, Northwestern, and Penn State in 2012-13. He can also be a virtual ghost, like in his 7 point 1 rebound performance at Minnesota last year in a game Purdue lost by three or his 2 point, 2 rebound game against Wisconsin at Mackey.
Hammons is physically capable of laying waste to the entire Big Ten. Hopefully his biggest motivating factor this season is 7'2" Isaac Haas. Haas is a highly regarded and driven freshman and I have no doubt that coach Painter will play him more, Hammons' NBA dreams be damned, if Haas is playing better. Haas needs to be a 7'2" boot up Hammons' rear end all season long.
Word is that Hammons is working on his three-point shot and he did have five attempts last year, but I don't want him shooting threes. I want him dominating the post and generally kicking ass at both end of the floor, so much so that it opens things up on the perimeter. The better Purdue is on the perimeter, the more Hammons can do down low.