Monday Powerlinks: Checking In With Purdue

Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Purdue kicked off practice this past weekend but the biggest news was the late transfer of sophomore Donnie Hale

Usually when players transfer the decision is made well ahead of the upcoming season. Taking that into consideration, it was a major surprise to pop online Friday afternoon and see that Purdue forward Donnie Hale announced he was transferring right when basketball practice was kicking off. The speculated reasons for the decision actually seem pretty logical and have little to do with the game of basketball (family reasons), so it's understandable why Hale will be leaving West Lafayette. Nonetheless, the news shouldn't negatively effect the Boilermakers, though it'll be sad to see him go. Anyways, on with the links.

Donnie Hale to transfer from Purdue

Well this was unexpected to say the least, but it was announced on Friday that forward Donnie Hale would be transferring from Purdue. Hale will now be the fourth Boilermaker to transfer since the end of last season. Interestingly enough, even with four transfers the Boilermakers aren't really suffering any major losses from all of the departures. Hale saw considerably playing time in his freshman season thanks to the late redshirt of true freshman Jay Simpson and played inconsistently. At 6'8 and usually playing the four, Hale's inability to consistently pick up rebounds was definitely his biggest flaw, offsetting his relatively solid mid-range game. While Hale's consistency and skill set was a bit all over the place, he usually made up for any deficiencies with hard work and actually putting in the effort. While several players last season started to coast throughout the year, Hale seemed to always be giving it his all and that effort will be missed.

That being said, the team should carry on just fine without Hale. Hale was set to lose considerable minutes with the return of Jay Simpson, who is a better fit at the four. Mix in the return of Simpson with the addition of Basil Smotherman and senior Errick Peck and Hale would likely become a deep rotation player alongside Travis Carroll. This would be even truer when you consider how Painter has gone small quite a bit in the past, which could happen once again with a strong set of guards on the roster

Draft Express rates A.J. Hammons as 11th best NBA prospect from the Big Ten

Draft Express recently posted a list of the top NBA prospects out of the Big Ten and Boilermaker A.J. Hammons was listed as the 11th best prospect. There's been some speculation Hammons could be gone after this season if he plays a bit more consistent. Hammons has the skill set that some team will definitely take a chance on him if he stops lollygagging through games, the biggest question is if Hammons will work himself into the first round or if he'll come back for another season to try to improve his draft stock. Chances are if Purdue and Hammons bounce back to the NCAA and have success then Hammons will be gone. Draft Express had this to say about Hammons:

Hammons' biggest assets as a NBA prospect revolve around his rare physical attributes. He possesses terrific size at 7-0 to go along with a very strong 278 pound frame, which he's reportedly cut down to 251 pounds after a productive summer, and has an excellent 7-3 wingspan to go along with that. He's also very mobile for his size, running the floor relatively well considering his girth and showing the ability to get off the floor nicely inside the paint. All told, Hammons is a gifted prospect from a physical standpoint, particularly if he's in optimal shape, which he reportedly is now...He shows nice potential as a back to the basket scorer, even if his skill-level, while certainly above average relative to his experience level, is still very much a work in progress.

Tidbits: Indy Star takes a look at five issues facing Purdue Basketball in 2013-14...Gold & Black have posted interviews from the first day of practice here. G&B talked to head coach Matt Painter as well Terone Johnson, Jay Simpson and Travis Carroll. They also wrote a piece about bigs A.J. Hammons and Jay Simpson growing up and developing their game heading into their second season in West Lafayette...News-Sentinel takes a look at sophomore Rapheal Davis, who is determined to help the Boilermakers return to the level they were at several years ago with the Baby Boilers:

"We're extremely determined. Look at all the greats that have been honored here and all the tournament banners. We've got to put ours up there. We talk about that every day, about getting back there to the Elite Eight, the Final Four. We talk about winning a Big Ten championship. We have big goals. We want to get it back like it was when we had E'Twaan, Robbie and JaJuan. We're determined to get it back."

Mitch McGary slowed by back injury

Michigan big Mitch McGary has recently been dealing with a lower back injury that has been slowing down the sophomore a bit. McGary is currently considered day-to-day in practice and has been limited. While the injury has been slowing the star, McGary should be ready to go well in advance of the season, though this isn't the first time McGary has had to nurse a nagging injury.

Tidbits: 2015 wing Tyler Williams will be visiting Michigan sometime in the fall. The 2015 recruit is relatively high on the Wolverines and is also showing major interest in Michigan State and Texas A&M. As of now Williams is a bit under the radar as a three star recruit, though that could very likely change heading into the future...Donte Grantham is a four star prospect being recruited by the Wolverines and it is being reported that he will be making a decision in the near future. The Virginia native is currently listed as the 66th best 2014 recruit by Rivals and will decide between Michigan and Clemson.

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