“A.J. had a great career at Purdue and we are excited for him as he begins his NBA career,” Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. “He has the tools to be a good player at the next level and we feel that his best basketball is yet to come.”
Hammons becomes Purdue’s 47th NBA Draft selection in school history and the first since Robbie Hummel was taken in the second round of the 2012 draft. He is the fifth Boilermaker taken during the Painter era, joining Carl Landry (2007; 31st), JaJuan Johnson (2011; 27th), E’Twaun Moore(2011; 55th) and Hummel (2012; 58th).
Hammons is the first Purdue player drafted by Dallas.
Hammons, who was named Honorable Mention All-America and a two-time first-team All-District honoree by the NABC and USBWA, was the Big Ten’s Defensive Player of the Year and a first-team all-league selection. He was also named one-of-five finalists for the 2016 Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Center of the Year Award, given to the nation’s best center.
Hammons, a 7-foot center from Gary, Indiana, averaged 15.0 points, 8.2 rebounds, 2.5 blocks and 1.1 assists while shooting 59.2 percent from the field. He was the only player in the league to rank in the top 12 of scoring (11th), rebounding (3rd) and field goal percentage (2nd) while finishing second in the league in blocked shots. This year, his 84 blocked shots were the fifth most in a season in school history while his 270 rebounds were the 15th most in school history. Hammons was selected to the Big Ten’s All-Defensive Team for the third straight year was a second-team All-Big Ten selection last year.
He finished his Purdue career ranking 17th in Purdue history in points (1,593), third in rebounds (930) and second in blocked shots (343). The 343 blocked shots are the fifth most in Big Ten history. Hammons is 1-of-2 players in Big Ten history with 1,500 career points, 900 rebounds and 340 blocked shots (Purdue’s Joe Barry Carroll). He is 1-of-4 players nationally this year to rank in the nation’s top 25 in both blocked shots and field goal percentage. He scored in double-figures in each of his last 16 games and finished his career with 25 double-doubles, 23 of which came against high-major opposition or in postseason play.