Matt Haarms shocked college basketball by entering the transfer portal on Monday. While he had been supplanted in Purdue's starting lineup by Trevion Williams, the center was still a huge part of the team.
The massive Haarms (7-foot-3, 250 pounds) has immediately become the best big man on the transfer market. A defensive specialist, he averaged 8.6 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.0 blocks in 20.5 minutes per game during the 2019-20 season. When he was on the floor, Purdue's opponents shot 49.1 percent at the rim, versus 58.1 percent when he was off the floor. He was one of the better rim protectors in college basketball.
Haarms will be a senior and is immediately eligible as a graduate transfer. He should have plenty of suitors. Here's a look at four potential transfer fits.
Matt Haarms Landing Spots
Kentucky should have a wildly-talented roster as always next season, but with Nick Richards likely testing the NBA draft waters, the Wildcats don't have a great rim protector on the roster. Even if Richards returns to school, he can get lazy defensively, creating a void Haarms could fill.
Kentucky's top-ranked recruiting class also doesn't boast a pure center. That means Haarms could step in right away and improve the team's defense around the rim while the program's perpetually young roster gels around him. It would provide a big boost.
Kansas finished the season as the top team in the nation which should make the Jayhawks attractive to any high-level transfer. With senior Udoka Azubuike moving on there's a big gap in the middle of the floor for Bill Self's team. No returning player averaged more than 4.5 rebounds a game for the Jayhawks.
While the incoming recruiting class features four-star center Gethro Muscadin (who has a fantastic name), he doesn't look like a ready-made star. Haarms would give Self another top-level defender to pair with returning guard Marcus Garrett. He would provide rim protection instantly and would allow time for Muscadin and others to develop. It's worth noting that Haarms spent a year at Sunrise Christian Academy in Kansas before entering college.
Jay Wright has had success with transfers in the past and Haarms would give him the kind of low-post defender his Wildcats will be missing next season. Jeremiah Robinson-Earl is more of a combo-forward than a pure post player, and adding Haarms would ease the defensive burden on him.
Villanova should be competing for a national title next season. Adding a dominant defender in the paint could be the piece that puts the team over the top.
Nebraska is on here because that seems to be where a lot of transfers are landing. Fred Hoiberg has done a great job convincing players to come to Lincoln. And Hoiberg is desperate for any kind of defense he can get in the post. Nebraska's recruiting class doesn't feature a center, while JuCo transfer Lat Mayen is more of a power forward, and none of the returning post guys play any sort of defense.
Nebraska ranked 152nd in adjusted defensive efficiency this season. The team needs any help it can get. Haarms could be the focus of their defense, while providing a new wrinkle on the inside offensively. He'd get to showcase himself for the next level, while the team would benefit from what he brings to the table.