The news we have been waiting on for some time has finally broke. A.J. Hammons will be returning to Purdue for his junior season in 2014:
This is most excellent news, as it would have been very difficult for Purdue to succeed without Hammons strictly because of the youth that would have been left on the roster. As it stands, Purdue would have been down to just nine scholarship players, and eight of them would have been sophomores or younger. Now Purdue has at least a fighting chance, and we can see what happens when we have a pass-first point guard looking for A.J. as well as a few outside shooters around him.
If there is going to be improvement and a return to the NCAA Tournament (still a reasonable goal in my eyes) it begins with Hammons, who undoubtedly is returning to improve his draft stock. Not to be overlooked, but Isaac Haas is coming in ready to kick Hammons in the behind. Hammons, for two years, has mostly been The Man in the middle, with only a small challenge from Sandi Marcius (lat 2013). Now a legitimate big man is coming in ready to play if he cannot or does not produce. Haas wants the job, too:
#Purdue coach Matt Painter: Center Isaac Haas is calling 2-3 times a week 'about his workouts and how he can get better.'— GoldandBlack.com (@GoldandBlackcom) April 16, 2014
I don’t care who does it, Haas or Hammons, but it is high time we start winning basketball games again.