The announcement of big man Matt Haarms hit us in the face, something no one really expected. Not only did it hit us in the face, it also caught Coach Matt Painter off guard.
Here are some of his quotes from the day after Haarms announced and what I think they mean - But I am probably reading too much into this.
2) Painter said he had spoken to Haarms on several occasions since the end of the season and he didn't hint until yesterday that he might want to leave. Painter said Haarms told him he wasn't happy and he wanted "more." Said he didn't dig deep past that.— Dustin Dopirak (@DustinDopirak) April 7, 2020
To me this shows that Coach Painter was caught off guard by this. Just two weeks ago, Haarms was as happy as all get out on the Purdue Basketball Twitter when he was walking dogs for Natalie’s Second Chance Dog Shelter. Then he gets this. Does “More” mean Playing Time? If so, Coach Painter cannot say that is a for sure thing. Trevion is our best player and Haarms failed to take the starting job two years in a row after the departure of Isaac Haas, it was supposed to be his for 3 seasons.
3) Painter said he will look for a graduate transfer and hopes to take a player who would only be around for one year, because the Boilers are low on scholarships for the 2021 class.— Dustin Dopirak (@DustinDopirak) April 7, 2020
We are late to the game on Grad Transfers now too. With that being said, I am not sure how he would go about it. He cannot sell starter minutes at the center position with Trevion there. Does he look for a Power Forward Grad Transfer to fill a hole that there is no proven starter? Wheeler was bad last year and Gillis RS. Or do you try and find a back up center? It really limits us in the transfer market. I would not be surprised to not see it used at all.
He will not just take someone to fill a schollie. We all know by now Coach Painter wants a guy who fits the Purdue Mentality. Evan Boudreux was a solid example of this, Jon Octeus as well. Maybe we could see some small ball with Nojel at the 5 or even Wheeler, and run up and down the court. There are options. Maybe Dow makes the jump going into his third year.
There will not be a multi year transfer though. We are low on schollies for 2021 and need them to build around the class that already includes Top Tier Power Forward, Caleb Furst.
“He just simply said he wasn’t happy, and he wanted more,” Painter said. “We didn’t elaborate from that. That’s his choice. You have the right if you’re not happy to go somewhere else.
“If you’re not happy, I don’t want people to be in our program who aren’t happy. It doesn’t work that way.” (From the Journal & Courier)
I believe that quote takes any possibility away of a return. I have seen on Twitter that “Oh maybe he will have a change of heart”. If he did, I am not sure Coach Painter would let that happen. He has to look out after his program and cannot set that precedent for the future.
You do that you fall even more behind on the grad transfer market.
“As a coach, you don’t get judged on the people you don’t have. You get judged on the people you do have,” Painter said. “In these type scenarios, be appreciative of the people you do have. We wish him nothing but luck.
“To me, it’s unfortunate because you build, and you spend time with players for them to have their best season at the end of their career. It’s not as much about a feeling toward him in any way shape or form but it’s a feeling toward the other guys that can benefit from him being on the team. That’s what it’s about – it’s about your team doing well.”
This is so true. The coaches have put four years of work into Haarms and it stinks that he is leaving. But, if he thinks this is what is best for him, you don’t want to put a leash on someone that doesn’t want to be here.
Haarms will have plenty of suitors, we wish him nothing but the best, but there are few programs that have produced talent in the post like Purdue in the past decade. He never developed into more than a rim protector, rebounding was underwhelming, and never got the “Go-To” move we saw Hammons, Biggie, Haas and even Trevion have developed.
Best of luck.