Purdue's JaJuan Johnson, E'Twaun Moore Withdraw From Draft

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Purdue Blog: With JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore Back, Purdue 2011 Favorites

Before Robbie Hummel went down with a crushing, season-ending injury, Purdue appeared poised to at least make a run to the Final Four. After, they boasted a tenacious defense and an experienced squad that had been together the past three seasons, steadily building to the point where they were a legit contender. But absent their sharp-shooting forward, the Boilermakers struggled -- to say the least -- putting the ball in the hoop, before falling to eventual champions Duke in the Sweet 16.

With only defensive stopper Chris Kramer graduating, Purdue looked to 2011 as the year they would make a deep run in the tourney -- until, that is, juniors JaJuan Johnson and E'Twaun Moore decided to test the NBA Draft waters. However, with the news that the duo will return to Lafayette for their senior season, SB Nation's Hammer and Rails sees no reason why 2011 shouldn't be the Year of the Boilermakers:

This was Purdue first major victory on the way to the 2011 National Title.

And yes, I want to place the bar of expectation that high. This group is deep enough, experienced enough, and talented enough to demand nothing less. Everyone is talking Final Four, but I know we can win the entire things once we get there. I don't know if we will ever have another chance as good as this one. We're already going to come into the season as a top 3 team, if not #1 overall. It is time to think beyond a mere Final Four, which can happen to anyone even as a fluke (George Mason 2006), and start thinking about winning the entire thing.

Of course, Duke and Michigan State might have something to say about being the actual preseason No. 1 team, but Purdue should be firmly in the top five with most of their core returning. And the Spartans and Boilermakers (and Ohio State) should have quite the battle for Big Ten supremacy next season.


Purdue's Johnson and Moore Withdraw From NBA Draft; Will Return For Senior Seasons

With the absurd amount of early entry candidates in this year's NBA Draft, a pair of Purdue standouts have decided to return for their senior seasons.  E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson removed their names from the NBA Draft early this afternoon.  

From the Big Ten Network:

Purdue rising seniors E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson have withdrawn their names from the NBA Draft, and will return to the Boilermakers for their final collegiate seasons. 

"We're obviously happy to have two players of the caliber of E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson returning to our team," Purdue head coach Matt Painter said. "Their dedication, leadership and work ethic are key components of our team, and we're looking forward to helping them develop as both people and basketball players over the next year."

Moore was an honorable mention Associated Press All-American and a first-team All-Big Ten selection in 2010 after leading Purdue in scoring and assists with averages of 16.4 and 2.7 per game, respectively. In February, he was also named to the ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America second team. 


Johnson was a second-team All-Big Ten pick in 2010 after earning first-team honors as a sophomore, and also earned his second-straight nod to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team. He led the Boilermakers in rebounds with an average of 7.1 per contest, and ranked third on the team with a clip of 15.5 points per game. 

The deadline for early entries to remove themselves from the Draft is today at 5 pm ET.  Boilermaker nation will, undoubtedly, be holding their breath hoping that Robbie Hummel doesn't declare for the Draft at the last second.  If he does return next season, and it looks like he will, Purdue will have a shot at finishing what they had started this past season before Hummel's season was cut short when he tore his ACL.

Check in with Hammer & Rails for their reaction to the announcement and for any updates as the deadline approaches.


Pair Of Purdue Players, JaJuan Johnson And E'Twaun Moore, Declare For NBA Draft

Purdue's status as a 2011 contender may already be in doubt. Juniors JaJuan Johnson and E'twaun Moore have both declared for the NBA Draft in recent days, although neither has signed with an agent, according to ESPN's Pat Forde. By not signing with agents, they've left the door open for them to return to school if they aren't comfortable with the feedback they get from NBA front office folks.

Of the two, Johnson is the more likely to land in the first round and stay in the draft. The 6'10'', 215-pound Johnson averaged 15.5 points and 7.1 rebounds per game for the Boilermakers this past season, and his athleticism and speed for a big certainly make him attractive to NBA GMs. His thin frame and raw offensive game, however, likely will push him down to the end of the first round, at best, with the most likely case being him coming off the board somewhere in the second round. ESPN's Chad Ford currently ranks him as the 51st-best prospect in the class, while Draft Express has him 76th.

Moore is even less of a sure thing as an NBA prospect at this point, barely making a dent in mock drafts. The 6'3'' combo guard was a key contributor for the Boilermakers last year, putting up 16.4 points, 3.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game, but he hasn't cracked Chad Ford or Draft Express' list of the top 100 prospects for 2010. In his case, it seems more likely he'll use the pre-draft camps and evaluations to get a better sense from NBA GMs what he needs to work on to make himself a viable pro, before heading back to school.

If Johnson and Moore both return, the Boilermakers should once again be Final Four favorites, with most of their key players coming back (including the injured Robbie Hummel), with the exception of defensive ace Chris Kramer.

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