PROVO, Utah – BYU basketball landed one of the top graduate transfers in the country when they received a letter of intent from 7-foot-3 Purdue transfer Matt Haarms.
Haarms picking BYU over the likes of Kentucky and Texas Tech was a surprise to many in college hoops. But it was also a surprise that Haarms a player who entered the Transfer Portal, to begin with.
Haarms’ former head coach at Purdue in Matt Painter joined The Dan Dakich Show on Indianapolis’s The Fan 107.5 FM. Painter’s conversation centered around Purdue’s recent transfers in Haarms and Nojoel Eastern who entered the Transfer Portal yesterday.
You can listen to the full interview here.
Dakich opened up the interview saying, “My experience has been this, and this goes back ways when mommies and daddies are on message board and on social media fighting with fans and doing all this stuff among your son. It doesn’t work out for the kid normally. Do you agree, disagree, or don’t want to comment?”
Painter responded by saying, “What I will comment on just in general, it’s hard enough to be successful the way it is. People don’t realize that. Like, you get guys who’ve had successful careers and they get to a high major level and they realize, ‘Oh my, man!’ … It’s just hard to be good and it’s hard to be good immediately. It really is.”
Painter on Matt Haarms transfer to BYU
Dakich asked Painter if he was concerned about the two players transferring out of his program. Painter responded, “No, not at all.” Then he went into his thoughts on Haarms’ transfer.
“When you look at the center position where Matt Haarms was, we tried to play Trevion Williams and him together. It didn’t work,” said Painter. “To his defense, he got hurt and he had two concussions. I don’t know how things changed for him and that’s what I kind of look at it. I try to take a step back and look at it from their perspective. I’m like, okay, how did you better yourself? Are you gonna go play against better competition in the league that you went to? No.”
Painter then followed up that comment saying the center spot worked for Caleb Swanigan, AJ Hammons, Carl Landry, Jajuan Johnson, and Isaac Haas. All of those players came out of Purdue under Painter and have played in the NBA.
“But in reality, Trevion Williams beat him (Haarms) out. That’s it,” he said. “Matt was starting at the beginning of the year, he had some injuries, but I was really looking forward to him coming back and embracing [competition]. You know, hey, I had two concussions, I was hurt, let’s fight here. Because that’s what you do.
You might have got your degree from Purdue but you’re not a Boilermaker if you walk out the door at the end and say, hey, I wanna make the league. Guys that wanna make the league work like Carson Edwards and Caleb Swanigan. Like I didn’t see that from him. 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 he wants to move on, that’s his choice. He got his degree from here.”
After those comments, Painter then got into the transfer of Eastern out of his program.
NBA Draft and Transfers
During the interview with Dakich, Painter went into stats about transfers ending up getting selected in the NBA Draft.
“I don’t mean to hurt anybody’s feelings because I like the guys that have left my program. I like both of them. But transfers don’t get drafted very much. It’s a very small percentage,” Painter said.”In the last seven drafts, we’ve got four guys that have been drafted in the first round that have transferred. There are 19 guys total in the first and second rounds. In seven drafts, people have to understand that’s 420 picks, 19 guys out of 420. It’s a low percentage.
But what I look at more than anything is embrace problems and embrace adversity and fight it and don’t run from it. And when you run from it and your work ethic isn’t at a high, high level like a Carson Edwards or a Caleb Swanigan, that’s the one thing that’s not going to change. Everybody can have these dreams, we all have dreams, but things have to be realistic.”
Haarms potential impact at BYU
Strong commentary from Matt Painter for a guy that was “beat out.” For the BYU perspective, coach Mark Pope believes Haarms could be one of the best big men in college basketball this year and they won over the former Boilermaker big man on analytics and what BYU has to offer.
Haarms has one year of eligibility remaining and will fulfill that season this year. He’s the second tallest player in BYU basketball history, only behind former NBA veteran Shawn Bradley.
Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12-3 pm) on KSL Newsradio. Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper.