College basketball: Meet Purdue's Matt Haarms in this week's newcomer spotlight
No, you're not seeing double when you watch Purdue this season. The Boilermakers do, in fact, have two 7-foot centers, both with double "A" names – Isaac Haas and Matt Haarms.
|MARCH MADNESS LIVE|
After enrolling at the semester mark last season and redshirting, Haarms battled Haas and 2017 Big Ten Player of the Year Caleb Swanigan in practice last spring, setting up his productive redshirt freshman season as Haas' backup for No. 6 Purdue. The Amsterdam native has averaged 5.5 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 blocks in 17.3 minutes per game, with a team-best 68 blocks on the season. His 14.8 block percentage on defense ranks sixth nationally and he has had four games with at least five blocks.
RELATED: The latest AP Top 25 rankings
On the offensive end, he has made 60 of his 90 two-point attempts this season, which gives him one of the 40 best field goal percentages inside the arc in the country.
Haas and Purdue's bevy of lethal 3-point shooters might get more attention – from the media and opposing defenses – but Haarms provides elite rim protection, an efficient low post scoring option and a quality insurance option if Haas faces foul trouble or needs a quick breather. He gives the Boilermakers a two-headed monster inside with more than 14 combined feet of size that makes Purdue a real Final Four contender.