It probably will not surprise Purdue fans to know that one of their favorite former players refuses to give up on an NBA career.
The Paint Crew watched Chris Kramer, who graduated from Purdue in 2010, never give up on a loose ball while wearing black and gold, and he won't quit trying for his dream job of playing in the NBA, either.
"Every day I try to push myself as hard as I can to achieve that goal," he said. "It has definitely humbled me a lot to show me what I need to do to get at the level I need to be at."
He came as close as the Milwaukee Bucks training camp roster for the 2011 NBA season but was cut on Oct. 19. Since then, he's been playing with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants, an NBA D-League team.
He's been preparing for a four-team summer league in Charlotte, N.C., where he'll play with the Atlanta Hawks this month, and he'll also take part in mini-camp tryouts in San Antonio and Chicago.
"It's all just great opportunities to be seen in front of the NBA personnel and show what you can do offensively and defensively," he said.
Kramer follows Purdue basketball closely and was in contact with an assistant coach during head coach Matt Painter's salary negotiations in the spring. He said he was fairly confident Painter would stay, but there were moments when he thought his former coach would no longer be a Boilermaker.
"I think the best situation happened," he said. "He's just a great coach, an unbelievable person and he really makes the team play hard."
One year out from graduation, Kramer misses his former teammates and tries to stay in touch when he can.
"I miss those guys," he said. "A lot of people love college basketball, and I'm one of those guys. Playing professionally is just not the same."
He said he's especially excited for recently graduated stars E'Twaun Moore and JaJuan Johnson to begin their NBA careers.
"Any time you get a chance to play with somebody of that caliber and get to watch them have a chance to better their situation individually for them and for their family - it's something you definitely like to see," he said.
Purdue Athletics Director Morgan Burke recently compared Kramer to former Purdue player Brian Cardinal, who is playing in the NBA Finals for the Dallas Mavericks. Like Kramer, Cardinal was a fan favorite at Purdue who
sacrificed his body to win loose balls. Kramer said he's been watching the playoffs closely, and he enjoyed watching Cardinal hit a 3-point shot in the Lakers series.
"It was exciting to see him get in there and play," he said. "He's got a good career, and I wish him the best."