Hammons shows major improvements

A.J. Hammons is now focused on his recruitment after a big year on the court and in the classroom.

For A.J. Hammons this past year was one of change. He made the switch from Carmel (IN) High School to Mouth of the Wilson (VA) Oak Hill Academy, and with it came a major change in lifestyle and commitment to academics. For Hammons it was a successful transition and that has college coaches showing more and more interest in him.

The main focus for Hammons when he went to Oak Hill was to improve on his grades, and according to AAU coach Jared Quarles that is exactly what happened.

"He's home now, but at Oak Hill he was really focused on his grades and what he had to do," said Quarles. "He made the ‘B honor roll' all four quarters there. He accomplished what he needed to do, and now he is focused on slimming down his list of schools as his recruitment goes to the next level."

Since having Hammons back on the AAU circuit, Quarles has also noticed a definite improvement in his game on the floor as well.

"He is a lot more patient now in the post and has more moves," said Hammons. "Also he has really developed a left hand. He didn't use his left much last year so that is a big thing. His footwork is also much better. Everything last year was natural talent, but now he is polished."

Now with his grades and skills improving, colleges are really coming into the mix. Still some schools have done an excellent job of laying the foundation in his recruitment.

"Ohio State has been with him from the very start," Quarles explained. "They have been there every step of the way, and they have been recruiting him the hardest and the most steady."

He continued, "Cincinnati has come in very hard the past eight months, Marquette has jumped in, Minnesota has always been interested, Texas has been involved a lot more recently, Purdue has been recruiting him hard for the last six months, and Kansas has called as well. A lot of schools are starting to flirt with him, but those schools have been recruiting him for a while."

When it comes to selecting a school, Quarles says that Hammons and his family will look at everything a college has to offer.

"We've seen that he flourishes in a smaller type of environment," said Quarles. "So when he goes to college we want him to go to a place that is controlled. On the court, because he is an old school center, you have to look at a school that will develop big men, and that will get big men the ball."

Currently the plan for Hammons is to play out July and then begin to really evaluate all of his recruiting options. That means likely making some official visits before issuing a commitment.

"We've been talking about official visits, but with him being at Oak Hill it is going to be tough for him to take five," said Quarles. "We are going to get as much information on each school as we can, and he can visit any school he wants, but it will be tough to visit all the schools."

Currently Hammons is the No. 57 ranked prospect in the country and the No. 15 center overall.


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