Purdue grad transfer Matt Haarms has trimmed his list of potential schools to ten and the Texas Tech basketball team is one of those programs.
Since the moment that he entered the transfer portal earlier this week, Texas Tech basketball fans have been intrigued by the prospect of 7-foot-3 center Matt Haarms joining the Red Raiders. The problem was that we didn’t know if the former Purdue star was interested in playing for Chris Beard. Saturday, we got confirmation that he is indeed considering Texas Tech as the Red Raiders are included among a group of 10 teams that he is still evaluating as landing spots for his final season.
That in and of itself is a significant win because Haarms was contacted by over 40 programs in the wake of his announcement. Now, Tech will have to compete with Arizona, Arkansas, Boston College, BYU, Gonzaga, Kentucky, Memphis, Minnesota, and UNC Greensboro according to multiple reports, including one from Jon Rothstein.
Everyone expects the Red Raiders to add at least one grad transfer or JUCO big man to help offset the loss of T.J. Holyfield. Even with the 6-foot-9 grad transfer from Stephen F. Austin on the floor last season, Tech was often outmatched down low where rebounding was one of the team’s biggest struggles.
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Haarms is not necessarily a dominant rebounder. For his career, he’s averaged 4.4 per game including 1.5 offensive boards. But at 7-foot-3, he could potentially keep other big men off the glass while also doing something else that Chris Beard will need someone to do next year…protect the rim.
Holyfield was Tech’s leading shot blocker this season averaging 1.5 per game. That’s an area where Haarms could make an impact given that he’s averaged 2.1 blocks per contest over the last three seasons.
Offensively, Haarms is no stiff. He’s got a very nice touch from outside the paint (though he’s not much of a threat from 3-point range) and he put up 8.6 points per game in 2019-20.
The best game of his junior season was a dominant 26-point, 9-rebound game at home against Big 10 rival Minnesota. That day, he was 10-13 from the floor and even 1-3 from behind the arc.
It was one of 11 double-digit games he put up this season. Included in that group was an impressive 16-point, 8-rebound game against a very good Florida State team and a 15-point, 3-rebound performance against Iowa, which featured one of the nation’s best big men, 6-foot-11 Luka Garza, the Big 10 Player of the Year.
Should he come to Tech, Haarms would give Beard a pair of 7-footers to throw at opposing teams in 2020-21. This year, 7-foot, 255-pound true freshman Russell Tchewa showed some encouraging flashes in limited action and if he takes a step forward in his second year on campus, he could be one of the more improved players on the roster.
Adding Haarms to pair with him would be a nice development and it would prevent the Red Raiders from being outsized in the paint as was so often the case this past season. Ultimately, Beard is going to add another big man. If that proves to be Haarms, it will be another huge splash in the grad transfer pool by a coach who was a pioneer of that trend, which is now all the craze in college hoops.