Player: Matt Haarms
Class: Freshman (RS)
Grade: WIP (Work in Progress)
Stats: Redshirt year, 100% on bench celebrations.
We really don’t know much about Matt Haarms.
We know a few small things though. He enrolled early in January instead of this summer due to a small technicality. He is originally from the Netherlands, he came to the United States and had been playing at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas. In regards to his eligibility, eif he didn’t enroll in January, come this summer he would have been deemed a sophomore.
But, that all is in the past, he came early and took the redshirt, making him a freshman with this incoming class. It has been beneficial for his development I can assure you.
Coming in early he got to practice against arguably two of the best big men in the nation. Caleb Swanigan and Isaac Haas probably beat his kid up everyday, just from a thickness point of view, but as the season progressed, Isaac said he was getting better in post defense. His offense is there already, defense is where he needs to get better. Another year of getting beat up by Isaac Haas and Jacquil Taylor will help greatly, but by getting here 6 months early, he is already ahead of the curve.
He is a big man, standing 7’2, but he is unlike many big men we recruited in the past. Actually, his Rivals page actually classifies him as a power forward, that is right a 7’2” power forward. He came in rail thin, around 215 pounds, for perspective, Dakota Mathias is around 205 and is 8 inches shorter. So he had to get thicker, he did that, as he is up to 230 pounds already. I doubt he ever gets in that 260 range, but 240 isn’t out of the realm of possibility, and once there he can maintain his quickness.
You can tell he is a European big man. He won’t kill anyone down low, but his stretch 4/5 game is nice. It will give us a different option as a big man in the coming years. Offensively, it will give other teams fits for how to guard him as a stretch 5, as he can move pretty well too.
If you have watched Purdue Basketball, we have struggled on the pick and roll defense for years. While Haarms won’t completely fix that issue, he will help. He has great lateral quickness, so, he will be able to show and get back to his man or switch pretty effectively. This will be different after watching Biggie and Isaac struggle this year in that aspect. Expect more of an AJ Hammons type show and go where he may trail his man, he will probably get some blocks with his length. The kids arms are like to his knees.
Matt Haarms is a different type of big, that we haven’t had since JaJuan Johnson, in terms of length, ability to stretch the defense and being solid on the pick and roll defense. The question is how long will it take to develop his strength? If he can get there from a strength standpoint, then he will have a solid next 4 years.
Best of luck, Matt. Boiler up!