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Matt Haarms - BYU Basketball
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Matt Haarms After BYU’s Loss To UCLA: ‘That Was My College Career’

INDIANAPOLIS, INDIANA - MARCH 20: Matt Haarms #3 of the Brigham Young Cougars looks to pass against the UCLA Bruins in the first round game of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Hinkle Fieldhouse on March 20, 2021 in Indianapolis, Indiana. (Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

INDIANAPOLIS, Indiana – BYU basketball big man Matt Haarms had only experienced the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament until Saturday night’s loss to UCLA. Haarms, a former transfer from Purdue, had played in a Sweet 16 and Elite 8 before playing his grad transfer season with the Cougars.

Despite being a senior, Haarms has the opportunity to return to BYU for one more season due to the NCAA’s blanket waiver for eligibility amidst the novel Coronavirus pandemic. Haarms, who is always a great interview, made his intentions clear.

“This is it for me. So, it’s tough to go out like that. Credit to them [UCLA]. They have a great team. They outplayed us. They deserve to win this game. It’s just tough. It’s a lot of feelings going through my mind right now. That was my college career,” said Haarms.

Haarms finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds in the first-round exit.

Matt Haarms grateful for his BYU experience

“Just grateful for the opportunity I got here at BYU. Grateful for the season we’ve had,” Haarms said. “But this really sucks, the feeling I have right now, going out like that in the first round.”

Haarms has always remained consistent that this would be his final season at BYU. The day that the NCAA approved the blanket waiver for eligibility in October, Haarms was asked if he would utilize the free year. Back in October, Haarms said this would be his final year in college basketball.

On BYU’s senior night at the Marriott Center after a win to Saint Mary’s on February 27th, head coach Mark Pope took to the mic. He had some fun saying he wanted Cougar Nation to recruit all three seniors (Haarms, Brandon Averette, and Alex Barcello) back for one more season. In his postgame radio interview on KSL NewsRadio that night, Haarms emphasized that he wasn’t returning for another year.

A native of Amsterdam, the 7-foot-3, 250-pound Haarms averaged 11.3 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 1.8 blocks in 25 games played in his one season with BYU. When he entered the Transfer Portal after three years at Purdue, Haarms stated he wanted to sign with a school that would showcase an “NBA-ready skill set.

Seniors that declare for the NBA Draft this year will have to submit their name on the NBA’s early entry list this season due to the free year of eligibility in college basketball.

Mitch Harper is a BYU Insider for KSLsports.com and host of the Cougar Tracks Podcast (SUBSCRIBE) and Cougar Sports Saturday (Saturday from 12–3 p.m., KSL Newsradio). Follow him on Twitter: @Mitch_Harper and the KSL Sports app.

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