Friday, January 22, 2021

Getting to know BYU Basketball transfer Matt Haarms

It’s hard to miss center Matt Haarms walking around campus this semester. The 7-foot-3 big man made the move from West Lafayette, Indiana to Provo this summer, transferring from Purdue University.

“Going through (the transfer) process, BYU just easily came out on top of everything that I was thinking about and everything that I valued,” Haarms said. “I was just going down the list and every time, I was like ‘well I just got to go to BYU, it just makes sense.’ It ended up making the decision so easy because it just felt like a perfect fit almost. Every time I was thinking about something, I was like, ‘OK, this works, this works, this works’, and in the end, it was like ‘I can’t miss out on playing for Coach Pope.'”

Haarms joins an already loaded Cougar frontcourt, with Gavin Baxter and Kolby Lee at 6-foot-9, Wyatt Lowell at 6-foot-10, and Richard Harward at 6-foot-11. Together they will provide much-needed depth at the forward and center positions this season.

Haarms will be especially valuable for the Cougars on the defensive end.

“I think that rim protection is really important for me. I think that in me making the jump to the next level after this year, it’s going to be extremely important that that is my main thing,” Haarms said. “If that falls off, I don’t think I’m half the player that I should be. I love playing defense and I love playing hard, love getting deflections, steals, blocks. So that’s a big part of my game — it’s where I get my energy from.”

Grateful for his time as a Boilermaker, Haarms credits Purdue in developing his body and game and learning how to play against the best talent in the country and in one of the best conferences in the country, the Big Ten. Last season, Haarms averaged 8.6 points, 4.6 rebounds, two blocks and 0.9 assists per game.

Haarms made the decision to transfer following the 2019-2020 season. “It was time for me to make a change and BYU was my new destination. I look back on that time (at Purdue) with fond memories and I just look at it as the next chapter where I can really take everything out there and combine it with the things I’ve learned and put together the best season possible.”

Haarms said he is looking forward to the upcoming season with BYU, with the NCAA officially setting the start date as Nov. 25.

“I’m just extremely excited to be able to get on the court with them,” Haarms said. “I think they really feel like they have to prove something. And I’m just riding that wave with them because I really feel like we’re putting BYU back on the map. Last year was that first established year. Now this year we need to prove we can be consistent for us.”

Haarms is considered BYU’s marquee transfer of the summer, but the Cougars also landed Gideon George, Brandon Averette, and Caleb Lohner, who originally committed to the University of Utah.

Away from basketball, Haarms’ favorite places to eat in Provo are J Dawgs and SLABpizza, and his favorite Coach Pope saying is “catch first.”

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