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November 20, 2013

Purdue 'fortunate' to land Haas

With Purdue in the heat of preparing for Rider last week, Matt Painter did something he'd never done: He skipped practice during a game week.

But Painter knew there was little choice. Big man Isaac Haas had just re-opened his recruitment, a day after signing day and blowing off Wake Forest, and Painter knew he had to go.

"I just felt it was that important for our program," Painter said.

So on Friday last week, Purdue's veteran coach hopped on a flight to Alabama and spent about 20 to 30 minutes chatting with Haas.

Days later, it produced fruit when Haas signed with the Boilermakers, giving them a player at a position they coveted.

"It was a real surprise to us. When somebody commits, you think you're done recruiting him," Painter said of the saga. "We recruited a couple guys at that position - it's hard to sign bigs - (and) we missed out on both of them. When we found out there was going to be some interest and he was going to open it back up to the schools that were recruiting him before, (we were) just fortunate to land him. To get a guy 7-2, 280 pounds that can move and score with his back to the basket and block shots and rebound, I think he's got a chance to be a really good player."

Painter's short visit with Haas happened while Alabama-Birmingham coaches waited outside, Haas said earlier in the week. But Painter used the time to simply reiterate what the Boilermakers had been selling the big man during their lengthy recruiting process.

Painter said he was intent to make a return trip if it was needed. It wasn't.

"It was a very unique situation for us," Painter said. "We put a lot of time into recruiting him, but for him to recruit somewhere else and all a sudden six weeks later, he more or less landed in our lap, we feel very fortunate."

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