Purdue basketball has had some great players in its history. Terry Dischinger, John Wooden, Rick Mount, Glenn Robinson, Joe Barry Carroll, and JaJuan Johnson are just a few of them. No one, however, can top the exploits of Matt ten Dam, the 7'2" 285 pound Dutch import that was both a lover and a fighter on campus. Sure, he only scored 17 points in a career that lasted 62 minutes over 32 games, but that is a career that would make Mark Titus proud.
Few people in Purdue's history have worn the storied #14 jersey. Carl Landry wore it during a career that sent him to the NBA. Dru Anthrop currently wears the jersey as one of the Bastard Sons of Bobby Buckets. Ten Dam didn't just wear the jersey, however, he perfected it.
"Oh yeah, ten Dam was my inspiration for wearing the jersey," said Landry when recently contact by Hammer & Rails. "He set the tone for athletic post players at Purdue that was carried on by John Allison, Kevin Garrity, Adam Wetzel, Dan Vandervieren, and Chris Reid. Those guys knew how to take up space in the paint."
"Who?" said Anthrop when I had the chance to talk with him last year at the Big Ten Tournament and ask him if ten Dam was why he chose to be the third player in Purdue history to wear #14. "This was just the jersey they gave me when I walked on."
The life of ten Dam is like one out of Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery. Born in Aimelo, Holland, ten Dam played high school basketball at Northfield High. Gene Keady brought him in to be a space-eating center on Glenn Robinson's great 1994 team, but he never saw the floor until the 1995 season. His exploits on campus, however, were legendary: Among them, according to former roommate and fellow Kokomoan Matt McHale:
- He was more man-monster than man
- He was wearing nothing but a pair of bikini-brief underwear on move-in day.
- He had the epic pick up line, "Baby, you are the most beautiful woman I've ever seen."
- He was a connoisseur of Heineken
- He disguised his athleticism by bricking dunks in practice.
- His game was once described as "trying to watch an elephant ice skate uphill"
- He is, of course, listed on TallHotGuys.com
Matt ten Dam is simply a legend when it comes to Purdue basketball. Very few players have come in with his promise. You simply cannot teach the skills that he brought to the table, mainly that he was 7'2" as a freshman in college.
Since graduating Purdue, little has been known about him. He has become and excellent muy thai fighter, handing out beatings in the ring with true badass intentions as the following video shows:
I honestly feel like the only words I can say to give ten Dam his due justice for this Profile in Badassery is April Fools.