Return of Haas to lead to other big news?
Isaac Haas is heading back to West Lafayette for one more year. Who is else is coming with him? (Photo Credit: IconSMI)
It's not exactly a big surprise.
But everything is big that involves Isaac Haas.
The big man is back for one more year in West Lafayette.
Issac Haas and Purdue announced on Wednesday night that after entering the NBA Draft evaluation process, the senior-to-be made a seemingly easy call to return to campus for a final year as Boilermaker.
"We came to the decision that's it's best that I come back to Purdue and help bring Purdue to a better place than last year for my senior year," said Haas in press release from the school. "It's time to focus on next year and to bring another conference championship and a national title to Purdue."
Clearly, the expectations the senior from Alabama has are almost as big as he is.
There's still two other equally large announcements that need to take place for the Boilers: Caleb Swanigan and Vince Edwards have yet to announce their plans. Edwards is expected to follow in the footsteps of Haas, and come back for one final season as a Boiler.
Swanigan has been expected to move on, however, there have been some hints as of this week that he might just come back for one more season. Swanigan would likely be an end of the first round, beginning of the second round selection in this year's draft. Could that stock improve a year from how? Perhaps, simply because the next draft class might not be as highly touted as this year's group.
But could he match the level of play from this past year, where he was a consensus All-American? Match it, yes. Top it, would be hard to from an individual standpoint.
Yet from a team standpoint, there's always more. A Big Ten regular season title was great. A first trip back to the Sweet 16 in seven years was also a great next step.
However, I bring up that possibility only because of what Haas referenced in his quote. A national title. That's a discussion rarely heard in Boilermaker country. Perhaps the only time that seemed legitimate was in Big Dog's final year at Purdue in 1994, where a Final Four berth seemed likely, only to be taken away by a combination of Duke and a back issue for Robinson in the regional final.
Not even during the Baby Boiler era was Purdue talking about a national title. There was talk of them being a really good eam, contending for a Big Ten title, and maybe a Final Four. That opportunity was largely taken away by knee injuries to Robbie Hummel that robbed that group of their ultimate opportunity.
Given that the stumbling block for this program has always been getting to that round, having not made the final weekend since doing so at Market Square Arena in '80, that's usually where the dream ends for most Boilermaker fans.
Trust me, I hadn't had that expectation for Purdue without Swanigan for next year. And in my mind, his departure was such a forgone conclusion that I though the returning team would be solid, a borderline top 25 team, and maybe a contender for a top spot in the Big Ten. Without Swanigan, this is a team with a really solid core group of Dakota Mathias, PJ Thompson, Isaac Haas, Carsen Edwards, and likely Vince Edwards (again, he has until next Wednesday to stay or go in the draft.) There'll be a need for new faces to contibute off the bench, and hopefully provide more depth than this year's Boiler squad had, but you can win a lot of games with that group of six.
You add Swanigan into that mix...and we are having a completely different conversation.
Maybe it's just the confidence and/or exuberance of youth, something to say when you know you've got just one season of college hoops left in your career.
Perhaps it was a throw away line. Or perhaps it was a hint at some other big news yet to come.
Big hopes, big dreams, big...gie? Maybe?
Or maybe not. Either way, it's a good day for both Haas and Purdue.