There are only a few players left that we haven’t reviewed, so let’s enjoy a Friday afternoon with the biggest of Purdue’s big men.
Isaac Haas – Jr.
12.6 ppg, 5.0 rpg, 58.7% FG, 71.1% FT
Overall it was a decent season for Haas. Despite losing his starting job he scored the second most point on the team with 441, one more than Vince Edwards. Considering matchups and foul trouble limited him to 19.5 minutes per game (6th most on the team) those are pretty efficient numbers. He led Purdue in field goal percentage and was decent at the free throw line.
The problem with Haas is one he really can’t help. He is just too big for some opponents because of the way they can spread the floor. Haas can be a dominant presence during previous eras of the game of basketball, but in this pace and space era where teams try to spread the floor he is an anachronism. He was limited to just 11 minutes against Michigan in Ann Arbor and only six against Indiana in West Lafayette because they were teams with athletic fives that could pull him way from the basket.
It is really unfortunate, too, because Haas is a good kid. The era of the lumbering giant dinosaur of a center is closing and while Haas can still be effective, he lacks the quickness and natural defensive instincts needed to realize his maximum potential. Where Haas will make his hay is on the offensive end. That’s where he is ruthlessly efficient and he can be unstoppable at times. Even in the Kansas game the Jayhawks had terrible trouble against him as Purdue built an early lead. It is hard to say this in a game we lost by 32 points, but Haas was excellent for about a 10 minute stretch of the first half. It helped Purdue build an 8 point lead with 6:25 left in the half as things were growing great.
Unfortunately, once Kansas figured out how to deny entry passes the entire Purdue offense came to a halt. Kansas was too athletic for those passes to work the whole game. They found that the best way to stop both he and Swanigan was to prevent them from getting the ball inside. Since what little dribble penetration Purdue has was also not working the Boilers were doomed.
Isaac had some truly dominant games though. He pillaged Utah State for 26 points on 9 of 10 shooting and 8 of 11 from the line. He had 24 each against Rutgers and Illinois at home. If you could get him the ball one-on-one on the low block he was either scoring or getting fouled. He even improved his passing with a career high 20 assists. He joined the 1,000 point club late in the season and could easily crack 1,500 before all is said and done.
The other weakness of his game is what kept his shooting percentage from being higher. If you get him in traffic he can turn the ball over, and if you swarm him he can miss some easy ones. Sometimes the misses were caused by him getting bludgeoned by 2-3 guys and not getting the call. Other times he just wasn’t quick enough. Overall his efficiency was slightly less this season, as his shooting percentage was 58.7% down from 59.4%.
Haas is going through the draft evaluation process and I think he is almost assuredly coming back to school. He still has stuff to work on. He can only get better defensively. If he can improve his quickly that would help. It would also benefit him to develop at least some form of a midrange game. I can probably count on one hand the number of shots he has made outside five feet in his career.
Still, he is a player that has mostly gotten better every year on campus. With A.J. Hammons gone and Caleb Swanigan likely gone he gets a year to shine. I think somewhere in the neighborhood of 500 points (he had 441 this year), 200 rebounds (he had 174 this year) and 60% shooting are reasonable goals.