By: Eric Gardner
Late last night, Purdue got a commitment for Oak Hill Academy’s A.J. Hammons. A.J. is originally from Gary, IN and moved to Carmel, IN before heading out to Virginia. He was down to Minnesota, Cincinnati, Dayton, and Purdue before last night. Hammons, at least for the past few months, has been a Purdue lean with the outside chance of going to Minnesota. Purdue has actually been on him since his freshman year at Carmel High School. His family is still in the Carmel area and he plays on Spiece’s AAU team out of Fort Wayne. We have heard reports that he really would like to come closer to home and I think in the end that gave Purdue the overwhelming advantage.
This now puts Purdue at 13 scholarships for the 2012 class with Hammons joining Raphael Davis, Ronnie Johnson, and Jay Simpson. Purdue really need another big in this class and that is exactly what they got. A.J. Hammons stands at 7’0” and 260 pounds as reported through Rivals.com. Some have disputed that he may only be 6’10” but one thing is for sure, he is much larger than any Purdue player on their roster. He will be a project because of his aggressiveness and overall skill level. He could contribute as a freshman because he can play defense and rebound at a high level. It really helps Purdue because now they have a legit center and that could allow for larger lineups and allow players like Jay Simpson to play their natural positions. The one really unique thing about this class is that each player is very skilled at passing the ball which will really help with Purdue’s motion offense.
With the commitment of Hammons, Purdue is only looking at one more player for 2012. Gary Harris, who just finished his official visit to Purdue, will be at Indiana for Hoosier Hysteria and an official visit starting Saturday evening. I think Hammons’ commitment can only help Purdue’s standing with Harris, though it probably does not help all that much. IU, as heard through the grapevine that is Twitter, seems to be falling off while Kentucky is gaining momentum. Honestly, I do not see Gary going out of state. He seems like a smart kid and all of his friends are staying in the state of Indiana. He could choose to go to either Purdue or IU and play with them while still competing for championships. If he wants to go to the NBA before his senior year, he can still do that staying in-state. He and his family are taking their time and going through all their options and that is why when they go through the checklist of all of their positives and negatives for each of the schools, Purdue and IU will have to most positives.
<featured image from: GoldandBlack.com>