Purdue Big Man Matt Haarms on His NBA Draft Potential, Draft Stock

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Purdue center Matt Haarms will no doubt take on a much bigger role this season for the #23 ranked Boilermakers. He’s going to be more front and center, literally and figuratively, this season and that means you’re going to hear that shopworn pun that is always made off his name even more.

We won’t dare say it, but just be wary it’s coming this campaign. Haarms is on the Kareem Abdul-Jabbar preseason watch list, an award given to the nation’s top center. Obviously, we’re not huge on the concept of preseason watch lists, but it is just 20 names long and Haarms is one of three Big Ten players on the list.

Haarms is a 7-foot, 3-inch presence in the paint with the potential to be a dominant Dutchman (he hails from Amsterdam). He started 24/36 games last season and became the second player in Big Ten history (Ohio State’s Greg Oden in 2007 was the other) to lead the league in field goal percentage and blocked shots in the same season.

Given his height and size, the next logical question is “what about his NBA Draft stock?” If you’re making free NBA predictions against the spread then you might want to look at what team has the more productive and efficient 7-footers. With Haarms, his final averages for the season read as follows: 9.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.1 blocks per game, with 63.2 FG%, the seventh-best single season mark in school history.

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Haarms was asked at Big Ten Media Day about why he did not enter the NBA Draft evaluative process this offseason.

“I’d rather just work out on my own,” he responded.

“I didn’t want to be in a position where I wasn’t being the best that I could be and I felt like I could spend my time better in getting better.”

“Doing NBA workouts is lot about showing yourself and I feel that I could be a lot better just doing my thing, being in the gym.”

These days, it’s easier than ever to “test the waters,” by entering the draft exploratory process, get feedback on your game and then retain your collegiate eligibility.

When it comes to the NBA, Matt Haarms is just saying all the right things right now, and everything a Purdue Boilermakers fan wants to hear.

“If I play in the NBA one day it would be a dream, amazing, but right now I don’t think I habe a reason to be thinking about all that right now,” he said.

“I’m just trying to be the best player I can be at the college level and if I have success with that, then I’m sure that opportunity will come one day if i’m worthy of it.”

Matt Haarms knows what he needs to work on specifically to, in order to help both himself and his team. The big lefty, who possesses great mobility for his size, is a threat in the low post. However, he needs to do a better job crashing the boards.

“I’ve got to be a better rebounder, I have to be a better rebounder for this team to win,” he continued.

“I feel like I left so much on the table last year that I feel if I’m a great individual rebounder, then we’ll be extremely tough to be beat as a team.”

Haarms is most certainly an efficient player, as he ranked third in the Big Ten in box score +/- and win shares per 40 minutes.

Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net, which is partnered with News Now. Banks, the author of “No,  I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry,” regularly appears on WGN CLTV and co-hosts the “Let’s Get Weird, Sports” podcast on SB Nation

You can follow Banks, a former writer for NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com on Twitter here and his cat on Instagram at this link.

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