After losing 7-foot-3 center Matt Haarms – a former UK target – to BYU and multi-year starting wing Nojel Eastern to the NCAA transfer portal this week, Purdue head coach Matt Painter is not a happy camper.
In an appearance this afternoon on The Dan Dakich Show, Painter made it clear that those who leave the Purdue program will not be better off elsewhere.
“I don’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings, because I like the guys who have left my program,” Painter said in the interview, via Robbie Weinstein of 247Sports. “I like both of them. But transfers don’t get drafted pretty much. It’s a very, very small percentage. … What I look at more than anything is embrace problems and embrace adversity and fight it. Don’t run from it. When you run from it and your work ethic isn’t at a high, high level like a Carsen Edwards or a Caleb Swanigan, … that’s the one thing that’s not gonna change.”
In fact, Painter believes that if you leave Purdue, you’re no longer a “Boilermaker,” calling out Haarms specifically for his work ethic compared to past pros to come through the program.
“You might’ve got your degree from Purdue, but you’re not a Boilermaker if you walk out the door at the end and say, ‘Hey, I want to make the league,’” Painter said. “Well, guys who make the league work hard like Carsen Edwards and Caleb Swanigan. I didn’t see that from [Haarms]. Did he work hard in practice? Sure. Did he work hard in games? Sure. Was he a good player for us? Yes. But if you take him and rank him against those guys I just mentioned, where would you rank him? So Trevion Williams beat him out and if he wants to move on, then that’s his choice.”
Will the transfer decisions of Haarms and Eastern hurt Purdue moving forward?
“No, not at all,” Painter said. “I think when you look at the center position where Matt Haarms was, we tried to play Trevion Williams and him together and it did not work. To his defense, he got hurt. He had two concussions. Him leaving — I don’t know how things changed for him. That’s what I kind of look at. I try to take a step back and look at it from their perspective. OK, how could you better yourself? Are you gonna go play against better competition in the league that you went to? No. When I look at the position and say, ‘Okay, it worked for Caleb Swanigan in that position. It worked for A.J, Hammons in that position. It worked for Carl Landry in that position. It worked for JaJuan Johnson.’ You want me to keep going? It worked for Isaac Haas.
“Trevion Williams is gonna be a good player, … but in reality, Trevion Williams beat him out. That’s it.”