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Time crunch was tough

JaJuan Johnson and E’Twaun Moore would have liked more time to test the NBA waters.

But with the new NCAA rule that required players to withdraw their name by Saturday to return to school, Purdue’s duo didn’t.

So they took the feedback from the NBA’s advisory committee, NBA personnel and coach Matt Painter, who had spoken with NBA general managers, and made decisions.

Both are returning for their senior seasons.

Johnson said he had workouts with Boston and Houston, and Moore worked out for Chicago and Portland this week.

“I think that deadline, I feel, in my opinion, it is a little short,” Johnson said during a teleconference Saturday. “It doesn’t give you a whole lot of time for you to evaluate your situation.”

Moore agreed.

“I wish I could have went to more (workouts),” he said. “That’s all I had to work with. It definitely was hard to get a lot of feedback because you don’t have a lot of teams evaluating you. Every team they see you different. … Some as a point guard, some as a (shooting guard).

“It made it a lot tougher.”

But both players were appreciative of the process.

Johnson said it made him “grow up” by having to make such a life-changing decision. They both liked to participate in the process so they know what to expect next season.

But, for now, the focus is squarely on the Boilermakers and what kind of special season they can produce in 2010-11.

“I’m really excited,” Moore said.

Johnson said he’s ready to lead the team to contend for a national championship.

That certainly would seem to be a legitimate goal.

Not only are Johnson and Moore back – a pair of first-team all-conference players – but so is classmate Rob Hummel. Painter said Saturday that Hummel’s recovery from ACL surgery has been “great.”

Add that superstar trio to point guard Lewis Jackson, who should be set after a full offseason to let his surgerically repaired foot heal, improved sophomores Kelsey Barlow and D.J. Byrd and a highly touted freshmen class and look out.

  • It’s likely one of those freshmen, Donnie Hale, will head to prep school. Painter over-recruited in the class, and with Johnson and Moore staying, Purdue doesn’t have a scholarship for Hale.
  • Painter said he hasn’t had much time to search for a new assistant coach but expects to be “more aggressive with that here in the next week or so.” Rick Ray left Purdue to become Clemson’s associate head coach job.