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Gold and Black Illustrated, Vol 28 Digital 3

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GOLD AND BLACK ILLUSTRATED VOLUME 28, ISSUE 3 55 the first half or so of Sunrise's season, then shipped off to West Lafayette in January to redshirt, spending the next few months getting abused in practice by All-Amer- ican Caleb Swanigan, an unreasonably physical player and never one to pull punches upon detection of weak- ness. "My bruises have bruises," Haarms once told Coach Matt Painter last season. He took more from Swanigan than just welts, how- ever. Haarms says his defining memory from last season was this: Happening by the weight room the night of Purdue's overtime loss to Minnesota in Game 2 of the Big Ten season, finding Swanigan on the StairMaster a few hours after scoring 28 points and grabbing 22 re- bounds against the Gophers. "It was about 10 p.m. at night," Haarms said. "That just showed me how much work it takes. You might see him on TV and think it comes naturally, but I have never seen a guy work that hard. It was such an eye-opening experience for me. If I want to be great like him, then I need to put in the work like he does." That lesson might have crystalized in that moment, but the seeds were sewn earlier, during Haarms' stint at Sunrise Christian, near Wichita. The native of the Netherlands came to the U.S. after a spell playing for a club team in Spain — the or- ganization that refused to allow him to play center despite his height, forcing him to cultivate his uncom- mon versatility — in order to pursue American college basketball. That path took him to Sunrise, which has seen numerous interna- tional players thrive in its program, Buddy Hield among them. It was there, Haarms has said, that he began to grasp the work eth- ic that's served him well to this point for Purdue. "I think he's said that he grew a lot with his toughness and how hard he had to play when he was with us and with me, and I knew that's who he was, and that that would follow him," Sunrise Chris- tian coach Luke Barnwell said. "He's a kid who really wants to be a great player, so when he started seeing that growth during his time here, it was, 'All right, let's go.' That really sunk in him with him. I knew that's who he'd be (at Purdue)." At Purdue, Haarms' work ethic during his redshirt season drew comparisons in the same breath to that of Swanigan, he of the obsessive, almost robotic drive. Haarms flashed in practice the effort that has made him successful this season, doing so in impossible situ- ations against Swanigan or Haas, knowing for absolute certain he would not be playing alongside them in the games he was helping them prepare for. "When you love it and you're tall and you're skilled, water's going to find its level." — Assistant coach Brandon Brantley on Matt Haarms

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