Purdue duo pursuing NBA draft

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- Purdue fans with big dreams for next season might need to hold their collective breath for a few weeks.

The school announced Wednesday that center JaJuan Johnson and guard E'Twaun Moore will enter the NBA draft. They aren't hiring agents, though, so they have until May 8 to withdraw their names from consideration and return for their senior seasons.

Purdue coach Matt Painter said in a statement that both players had his support in considering their options.

"There are a lot of positives that can come out of the information gathering that takes place this time of year," he said.

Moore, a 6-foot-4 guard, led the team with 16.4 points per game as the Boilermakers went 29-6 and shared the Big Ten regular-season title. Johnson, a 6-10 center, averaged 15.5 points and a team-high 7.1 rebounds this past season.

If drafted, Johnson or Moore would become the first Purdue player since Glenn Robinson went No. 1 overall in 1994 to be selected after declaring early. Willie Deane declared early in 2002, but returned for his senior year.

Moore and Johnson were showcased after Robbie Hummel, the team's most versatile player, tore the ACL in his right knee late in the regular season. They led the Boilermakers to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament after many expected them to lose to Siena in the first round.

Johnson, Purdue's career leader in blocked shots, was a first-team All-Big Ten selection and has been named to the Big Ten All-Defensive Team the past two seasons.

"This has been a dream of mine for a long time, and this is the first step toward making it come true," Johnson said in the release. "Putting my name into the draft as a junior allows me the great options of either returning to Purdue or pursuing my professional dreams."

Moore was a first-team All-Big Ten pick this season after becoming the third player since 1971 to lead Purdue in both scoring and assists. He was the first player since Troy Lewis in the late 1980s to lead the Boilermakers in scoring three consecutive seasons.

"I'm confident that this process will make me stronger as a person and a player," Moore said. "It's important to me to leave open the option of returning to Purdue, but I also want to take the first step toward getting my game ready for the next level."