Purdue’s matt haarms embracing ‘most disliked’ identity west la college student login

WEST LAFAYETTE — when martine van hoorn sent her teenage son off to spain to play club basketball, matt haarms was essentially the same quiet, bookish kid he’d always been.

Several months later, when she traveled to catalan to watch him play in the district championships, she witnessed a new identity. A stadium full of people booed and yelled and otherwise projected their hate onto the court toward her son.

"If I had a whole stadium screaming toward me, I would take it very personal," van hoorn said. "He had this almost — pardon my language — (expletive) you, I can show you. You can boo, do whatever you want, but I will show you."

Purdue senior point guard P.J. Thompson said redshirt freshman center haarms is, outside the program, "probably the most disliked person on our team." the 7-3, 250-pound center earned that status not for dirty play or underhanded tactics.Blocking shots

he simply plays with an emotion-fueled motor that gets under people’s skin.

The boilermaker redshirt freshman discusses the fat lip he received from isaac haas in practice and anticipating his first NCAA tournament action.

"I liked it when people hated me, because if they were worried about me, they weren’t thinking about the other four guys," said brian cardinal, who earned the nicknames "citizen pain" and "the custodian" as a blue-collar mainstay for gene keady from 1996-2000.

"I know the crowd feeds off of (haarms), and I know his teammates feed off of him. The other team looks at him like, ‘who is this guy?’ so they start thinking about him, worrying about him. I think he’s a tremendous talent and I’m excited to see him in the tourney and for him to kind of experience that and understand it’s a win-or-go-home mentality."

Blocking shots

While haarms’ exuberance might understandably irk opponents and fans, he generally channels it in a positive direction. He celebrates his or his teammates’ accomplishments without taunting. He tries to pump up the home crowd — or at the battle 4 atlantis in the bahamas earlier this season, the purdue section — but has avoided any spats with opposing fans.

In a feb. 18 game at mackey arena, penn state’s mike watkins (6-9, 254 pounds) lingered over purdue’s grady eifert (6-6, 220) after a hard foul. Haarms took exception.

Journal & courier purdue insiders nathan baird and mike carmin and host clayton duffy discuss the boilermaker men’s draw in the NCAA tournament. Also, a look at the purdue women’s program after it opts to hit the road for WNIT competition.

"When you’re coaching, I’m sure those kind of techs — especially in the course of a game where it was — I don’t think coach painter cares at all," thompson said. "I think he was excited and proud of matt.Haarms said we were too. We were hyped that someone has your back like that."

Haarms’ second infraction also came against penn state, two weeks later in the big ten tournament. Once again, an official teed him up for something he allegedly said during a stoppage in play immediately following a heated moment.

Painter later called it "one of the worst calls in the history of college basketball." he said the official couldn’t tell him what haarms supposedly said.

"I wanted them to hear what I was saying, so I spoke english, of course," haarms said. He also regretted "letting my emotions get the best of me."

"He’s got to be on the right side of being in a stance and getting untangled from people and making plays," painter said. "Sometimes he has a fight within the fight and the fight is called production.Most disliked

"It’s called getting rebounds, blocking shots, running the court, dunking. It’s not getting tangled up and not being in help-side defense and not blocking shots. You’ve got to get untangled, be physical without fouling and be able to make plays."

Which is why haarms probably has not yet approached the ceiling of his villain quotient. The most disliked players in recent purdue history — cardinal, chris kramer — were also considered among the best players in the big ten conference.

According to ken pomeroy’s metrics, haarms ranked sixth nationally in block percentage, just behind big ten defensive player of the year jaren jackson jr. Of michigan state.

Haarms’ length and agility should allow for continued versatility with experience. His offensive game — particularly his perimeter game — contains considerable upside.Most disliked

"The only way you’re going to get fans mad at you, the only way you’re going to stay on the court, is if you’re impacting the game, and I think he does that very well," cardinal said.

"… Ultimately he gets under people’s skin because he’s playing well and he’s helping purdue. He gets under the fans’ skin because he’s out there high-energy, making plays. Us purdue fans love it because we love energy. We love people playing with heart and soul and he does all of that."

Haarms said he received his biggest boos this season at indiana, but what purdue player can’t say that? It was nothing compared to that division championship game in catalan, spain. With a smile, he called them "the most insane boos of all time."

Haarms is keeping the hair. ("I’m trying to look good when I’m going to school, too.") yet he understands the impact his personality can have, and why toeing the line may be more important than ever.Haarms said

"I’ve got to keep my emotions in check a little more," haarms said. "I’ve got to keep it positive like I’ve been doing basically all year. I can’t let it get the best of me and let it become negative and affect the focus of my team or our objective."