Purdue’s basketball program took some surprising hits this offseason. Rising seniors Matt Haarms and Nojel Eastern, both who had been staples for the Boilermakers the last three seasons, hit the transfer portal and have decided to leave West Lafayette.
Haarms is headed to BYU to finish his career. Eastern has yet to make a decision on his future.
On Wednesday, head coach Matt Painter joined the Dan Dakich Show on 107.7 The Fan in Indianapolis to talk about their recent departures. The longtime head coach of the Boilers was pretty candid with his words.
“I love those guys, and I mean that about both of those guys. But when it’s obviously not better for you academically or basketball-wise, I feel for them. Matt was going to do that, but he also got his degree from Purdue. Jelly is walking out of here without his degree. That’s not smart, but I’m really biased.
“Still, you might have gotten your degree from Purdue, but you’re not a Boilermaker if you walk out the door in the end.”
Painter insisted that both Haarms and Eastern are “great guys” and that he appreciates their contributions to the program. But he doesn’t feel that in either case, transferring is what will help them get to the next level.
Work ethic, Painter says, is what the two needed to work on to get to the NBA.
“They’ve seen [Caleb] Biggie Swanigan and Carsen Edwards. They worked. And these guys, they see what it looks like. Do you work harder than them, and they know they don’t.
“You’ve got to dominate college basketball or bring something that really translates to that next level. Let’s work toward that instead of talking toward that. Think big picture and think development and think getting better. That’s how it works.”
Both Haarms and Eastern had been consistent starters for the Boilermakers over the last two seasons. Haarms was a high-level energy player who typically provided a spark on the floor. Eastern was a lock-down defender, earning B1G All-Defensive Team honors each of the last two seasons.