Purdue's starting center A.J. Hammons has been suspended for the first three games of the season.Two of those games, though, will be Purdue's upcoming exhibition games versus Indianapolis and Wayne State. Hammons will miss the season opener versus Northern Kentucky, but should be ready to return for the Central Connecticut game.
Painter had the following statement on the issue:
A.J. has been suspended for the first three games of this season for conduct not representative of this program or university. We expect the young men in our program to meet certain standards, and they must be held accountable when those standards are not met.
A couple of things here. First off, Painter said the suspension is based on conduct. This means that the reason for his suspension isn't related to academics or legal issues. So while that's a bit of a positive spin for the Purdue faithful, it's still not a positive sign considering Hammons has earned a reputation for not taking his basketball career seriously. For a fan base and team hoping for Hammons to show more interest and mature, the suspension can't sit well. On the other hand, it could be Painter trying to nip any potential issues in the bud in hopes that Hammons gets the message and doesn't slip up again. Painter hasn't shied away from disciplining his star players in the past so it's pretty clear he won't put up with Hammons if he doesn't step up.
The suspension of Hammons means that Purdue will likely use Jay Simpson and Travis Carroll at the five for their season opener. Purdue basically knows what they have with Hammons, so it could be a way to see how much Simpson has improved from last year's injury shortened season.