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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 3

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Page 52 of 81

GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 3 53 BY BRIAN NEUBERT I f there's been any one moment that's summed up Matt Haarms' stunning debut season at Purdue, it occurred in the Bahamas around Thanksgiving, as part of the game that might have changed the Boilermakers' season. Coming off back-to-back unex- pected losses at the Battle 4 At- lantis, Purdue was playing in an even-more-unexpected last-place game against then-No. 2 Arizona, pitting the Boilermaker frontcourt against Wildcat prodigy Deandre Ayton, who's a few months from be- ing the first or second pick in the NBA draft and probably a few years away from earning more than the GDP of some small countries to play basketball. He's one of the most talented players and influential presences in college basketball and will be for a couple more months at least. In this particular instance, Ayton sized up Purdue's skinny-looking young big man who no one had ever heard of at that early juncture of the season, dribbled into a post- up, faked inside, then spun outside to shoot a baseline turnaround over Haarms. Ayton is 7-foot-1, by the way. REVELATION Matt Haarms has changed Purdue's season and had a blast doing it Charles Jischke

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