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20 Days to Purdue Basketball: A.J. Hammons

When you have one of the best big men in the country it is a good place to start the year.

David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The sky is the limit for today's player, the last of five straight days of individual previews.

A.J. Hammons - Sr.

Gary, IN (Oak Hill Academy)

7', 250 pounds


2015-16 Projection: Starting Center

So what is off the table for A.J.? Big Ten Player of the Year? First Team All-American? NBA Lottery Pick? The more accolades he individually racks up the better Purdue will be. With Isaac Haas backing him up and a wealth of power forwards to make sure he can't be double-teamed on the low block A.J. can have a dominant season. Averaging a double-double would be really nice, but a 12-8-3 every night in points, rebounds, and blocks is a very realistic expectation for a player that can be dominant on both ends of the floor within five feet of the basket.

A.J. is also in line for some nice career marks at Purdue:

  • He needs 401 points for 1,500 in his career (and he had 405 last year). That would put him 21st all-time in scoring.
  • With 340 more rebounds he would reach 1,000 career rebounds and be just the second Purdue player ever to reach that mark. He is currently 12th in school history with 660.
  • He has 259 career blocked shots and with 91 more he becomes Purdue's all-time leader.
  • He has also already led the Big Ten three times in blocks, and he can become the only player ever to lead the Big Ten four times in that category (JaJuan Johnson and Calvin Booth both did it three times).

Much like when E'Twaun Moore was here and you knew you were getting 15-20 points a night from him, it is nice to know that going into every game you're going to get 12-8-3 from A.J. from the start. He is going to defend the rim better than anyone else in the conference and he is going to be an effective scorer on the block. In Hammons, Purdue has a weapon few other teams in America have.