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Purdue center A.J. Hammons will return for junior season

Apr 16, 2014, 4:40 PM EST

A.J. Hammons AP

The 2013-14 season was a disappointing one for Purdue, with Matt Painter’s Boilermakers finishing 15-17 overall and 5-13 in Big Ten play. Among the players expected to lead the way next season for a group that hopes to turn things around is center A.J. Hammons, who on Wednesday announced that he’ll be returning to West Lafayette for his junior season.

As a sophomore Hammons averaged 10.8 points, 7.4 rebounds and 3.1 blocks per game, earning Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors while also being named to the league’s All-Defensive Team.

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“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 the release. “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.”

The Boilermakers will have to account for the loss of their top two scorers from a year ago, with Terone Johnson having graduated and younger brother Ronnie deciding to transfer. However five of their top seven scorers return, led by Hammons and guard Kendall Stephens.

Purdue also adds a five-member recruiting class, with the recent signing of point guard P.J. Thompson giving the program some needed depth on the perimeter after the loss of both Johnson brothers.