Bad day for football? Never fear! The countdown to basketball is here!
Matt Haarms - Jr. (RS)
Amsterdam, Netherlands (Sunrise Christian Academy, Kansas)
7’3”, 250 pounds
2019-20 Projection: Starter at Center
Haarms has had an interesting career so far. In the 2017-18 season it was discovered that in the process of coming to the U.S. from the Netherlands his eligibility clock started, so he enroleld in January of that season and officially redshirted. That allowed him to get beat up in practice by Isaac Haas and Caleb Swanigan in preparation for playing time. He debuted the next year as a redshirt freshman and primary reserve behind Haas.
Although he is technically taller than Haas, he is a different player. While you can likely count on one hand the number of field goals Haas took in his career outside of five feet fromt he basket, Haarms had more touch. His skinnier frame allowed a different lookf or opponents, and in that first year he averaged 4.8 points and 3.2 rebounds in 17 minutes per game. He was then forced into a starter’s role after Haas was lost in the NCAA Tournament.
Last season he took over that role full time and thrived. He averaged 9.4 points, 5.4 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks in 23 minutes per game as a starter. He is one of the best defensive players in the Big Ten with 153 career blocked shots, That already puts him 7th on the career list, 10 behind Brad Miller for 6th and 12 behind John Allison for 5th. His 2.1 per game average is third in Purdue history behind A.J. Hammons and Joe Barry Carroll.
Ahharms has had some great games so far, too. He had 18 points and 9 rebounds in the NCAA Tournament win over Villanova. He had a 21 and 10 with 5 blocks against Illinois.
Haarms has range on his jumper an can even hit the occasional three, making him a solid stretch five. He is 8 of 32 in his career from three, hitting 7 last year. This year expect him to keep swatting everything within 5 feet of the basket and occasionally stepping out for hte big man three.