Matty calmly adds another to the class of '14
GBI hinted at it before Painter said it in a presser: the three man signing class of 2014 would not stay just three deep for long. I figured Matty would find a JuCo big man in the Spring. I was wrong. Purdue got its man this morning in the form of 7'2" Alabama product, Isaac Haas.
If you haven't seen pictures or video, Haas is a B1G-ready frame that will probably be a lean 300 pounds by the time he leaves Purdue. At 285 (according to his own account) right now, he's no string bean, but like most incoming Freshman, he'll have to work hard to get ready for the pounding he'll take in the Big Ten.
Here's how I assess his skills- Like Hammons, he has very good hands and is a great shot blocker, almost by default. I haven't read anything about his wingspan, but I'd guess it's 7'4" to 7'6"...and his positioning and technique on defense are very solid. He's not quite as athletic as Hammons and will benefit greatly from Brandon Brantley's tutelage. Specifically, notching out position on offense and using his frame to create space for his teammates are places where he's developing.
He's got a touch of a mean streak on the court, which I think Purdue fans will appreciate...but everything I've read says he's a good kid off of it...which we also like.
He had offers from everyone: Kansas, Florida, Bama, UCLA and many, many others...he's a high 4-star prospect that would probably be a 5-star if he had decided to commit to one of the blue bloods. Instead, he took a circuitous route to God's country: He verballed to Wake Forest because he said he felt comfortable with the campus and liked the feel of the program. But about a week before signing day, Haas said he wasn't solid on the Demon Deacons. Wake's coach, Bzdelik, is a guy that many of their fan base wants out- there's a website dedicated to getting him fired and Wake fans had multiple print ads placed in NC papers requesting his dismissal. I'm positive this played in Haas' decision. I've read this morning that a few Wake fans are even understanding of Haas' change of heart.
Since he's from Alabama, many thought he'd land at UAB...and a couple wishful Tide fans thought he was their guy. I tended to believe the UAB stories...and was absolutely STUNNED this morning when I read about Haas impending signing with Purdue. JJ's development and Hammons emergence as an NBA prospect helped Haas with his decision...plus, it sounds like he and his family just really liked Painter. I think that's a big deal. Players seem to like Matty once they play for him, but he doesn't make promises and sugar coat things...which a lot of recruits simply don't like at all in the wake of hearing
con artists coaches promising them the moon (or other things).
According to Haas himself via Twitter, he'll be signed no later than Wednesday.
Purdue's recruiting class went from rock solid and fulfilling imminent needs to making our Boilers flat-out loaded, talented and deep in '14/'15. The roster looks like this:
4/5 Hammons* (Jr) Simpson (So) Haas (Fr) Taylor** (Fr)
3/4 Davis (Jr) Smotherman (So) Edwards (Fr)
2 Stephens (So) Mathias (Fr)
1 Johnson (Jr) Scott (So)
Walk-on Beshears would be the only Senior...and the 10-man rotation would still be relatively young. Perhaps even more noteworthy, is Purdue still has scholarship room for this class of '14...but now, Painter doesn't need to panic, but can take his time and find the right fit- whether that's a JuCo player, Sr. transfer or a true Freshman, we'll have to wait and see.
Regardless of what happens next, Haas is a sizable get (obviously)...and if nothing else, it re-instills confidence within a fanbase that needed a victory like this. Congrats to Painter, Owens, Gary and Brantley for making this happen...and congrats to Haas for making a good decision.