A.J. Hammons bypasses NBA chances, will return to Purdue

By Matt Norlander | College Basketball Writer

Latest in hoops: NBA Early Entries | Latest News | Coaching Changes

Do Purdue's 2015 NCAA Tournament hopes rest on the decision made by A.J. Hammons on Wednesday?

If so, great news for Boilermakers fans. The school announced its sophomore center will be back next season.

"I've decided to stay and continue my education here at Purdue, and there are a lot of goals I still want to accomplish with my teammates on the court,” Hammons said in a statement. “First and foremost, we want to get back to the postseason and compete for a Big Ten title. I feel like we owe our fans some better basketball. Purdue is a special place with a lot of great people and I'm excited to continue my education here and be a part of a great community."

Hammons averaged 10.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks last season, making the Big Ten All-Defensive team in the process. He led the conference in swats and had six double-doubles in league play. At 7 feet and 250 pounds, Hammons might well have a future in the NBA, but it will wait at least one more season.

"He is fully dedicated to helping us improve and he will be an instrumental piece for our program during the 2014-15 season," Purdue coach Matt Painter said. "We look for continued development from A.J. and expect him to take on a significant leadership role next season."

Purdue went 15-17 last season and hasn't been in the NCAA Tournament since 2012.

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