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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 4

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 4 18 he liked trains. Figuring A.J. Hammons might leave early for the NBA, he saw opportu- nity, too. The family reached out. Under a lot of circumstances it might have been a short conversation. Painter, who'd already taken a commitment from another big man (Jacquil Taylor), told Haas he should stand by his commitment to Wake Forest. Haas: "He told me to stick to my decisions, that that's what a man does, that if you say you're going to do some- thing, you should do it. I was a little discouraged by that, but I knew he was just trying to help with my character. "I told him, though, that I thought it was a rushed de- cision, a bad one for me, and that I knew I wouldn't be the best I could be there. He said, 'Well, then we'd be happy to have you.'" Soon after, Painter jumped a plane to Ala- bama to meet with Haas, while another school's coaches — UAB — waited outside for their turn. Painter: "They already had a visit lined up (to UAB) so you think it's over for you, that he's going to that school. Then you get down there and you're able to meet with him for an hour, and you still think it's over. You still think you have no chance." Nope. Haas: "I sat down one night, made a list of all the pros and cons, then sat there and looked at it all night. I thought about it and prayed about it and woke up one morning and just said, 'I think I'm just going to go to Purdue.' I thought it would be the best place to further my abilities, further my character and academics." He called Painter, who was stunned. Painter: "To be able to get a quality player under those circumstances is rare." P.J. THOMPSON When Purdue recruit- ed its landmark 2007 class, it did so at a time when the program had, well, issues. It was coming off a last-place Big Ten season, the aftermath of a difficult hand-off from Gene Keady to Painter, plus major injuries. When Purdue recruited its 2014 class it again had is- sues, something close to chaos actually. From that chaos came P.J. Thompson. Painter: "A lot of what P.J. does well is what we didn't do well. He was a product of our inability to function. Our inability to function as a team, we felt while we watched him that he was such a functional player and into winning and a lot of times when you get down to it, you oversell and Paul Sadler / Purdue Athletics Haas' last-minute decision to attend Purdue stunned Painter who had to overcome Wake Forest and UAB to get the 7-foot- 2 center to West Lafayette. Brian Neubert

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