Purdue basketball coach Matt Painter was mostly philosophical about two players transferring from his program during a radio show on Wednesday.

Painter appeared for a half hour on the Dan Dakich radio show based in Indianapolis and talked about center Matt Haarms and guard Nojel Eastern leaving the program.

“If you are putting your name in the draft to get attention, if you are transferring just to be transferring – I don’t mean to be hurting anybody’s feelings because I like the guys who have left my program; I like both of them – but transfers don’t get drafted very much,” Painter said.

“Everybody is in this microwave society about ‘I want to be a pro,’ and that’s the one thing that’s not changing. There’s some things changing in high school basketball. There are some major changes coming in college basketball. And there going to be a lot of differences. There’s one thing that’s not changing about how good you have to be to play in the NBA. That’s not changing. It’s never going to change.

“These guys are like ‘I want to be a pro.’ Well how about we be all-conference in college first?” he said. “Why don’t we try that out? And you will get guys that average four points, or six points, or nine points or 10 points and say, ‘Coach, I want you to develop me into a pro.' And, well, why don’t you work like a pro?”

Painter said he was surprised Eastern decided to transfer, but he was not once he got a text from the 6-7 junior guard.

“He didn’t say one word to me,” Painter said. “I talked to him three or four times on the phone (since the end of the season), just checking in with him academically.”

Then boom, the dreaded text from a player who wants to talk.

“It’s like a kiss of death,” he said. “You get the text, ‘Hey coach, you got a minute tomorrow?’ Oh, he’s leaving (I thought immediately). I’ve watched enough Barnaby Jones shows to get it figured out. I can tell you how this is going to end.”

He liked Eastern, but his play did not progress as much as others this past season, according to the veteran coach.

“Nojel made a really good jump from his freshman to his sophomore year, then he took a step back this year,” he said. “And when you do that and you have a lack of production and you don’t play well and now it’s your turn, well, I don’t know what to say there. Now, you become the outlier. The other guys got better. The other guys improved.”

Those guys Painter referred to were sophomores Sasha Stefanovic and Eric Hunter Jr.

“But, the other guys stayed and fought through adversity, now you walk out the door after you put your name in the draft twice when you average four points. I love him, but he’s got to check his hold card. At the end of the day those other guys were productive.”

The situation was much the same with Haarms. Simply put, Painter said somebody else played better than Haarms, which limited Haarms’ playing time.

“When you look at the center position where Matt Haarms was – we tried to play Trevion Williams and him together and it didn’t work,” Painter said. “To his defense, he got hurt. He got two concussions. And for him leaving, I don’t know how things changed for him. I try to take a step back and look at it from their perspective. OK, how did you better yourself? Are you going to play against better competition in the league you went to? No.”

Since announcing that he was leaving Purdue, Haarms committed to BYU, which plays in the West Coast Conference.

“When I look at the (center/power forward) position and say, OK, it worked for Caleb Swanigan in that position, it worked for AJ Hammons in that position, it worked for Carl Landry in that position, it worked for JuJuan Johnson, you want me to keep going?” Painter said. “It worked for Isaac Haas. It’s hard to reel off that many names in one position, but in reality, Trevion Williams beat him out.”

While Painter liked those two players, if they leave, so be it.

“Trevion Williams beat him out,” he said. “If he wants to leave that’s his choice. He got his degree from here.”

Painter says he’s not going to dwell on what he doesn’t have at his disposal any longer.

“Your attention has to go to those who stay,” he said. “I think we have enough proof with the success that we’ve had and the guys that have graduated for us and improved. We haven’t had two guys go into the draft every single year when we had three years or four years in a row that we had a draft pick. We’ve had eight guys drafted in 15 years, but we haven’t sold our soul and we’ve worked really hard. Guys have developed and I think we got better.”

Painter blames himself in the process, too. But he said it’s time to move on.

“I feel bad. I always feel like I’ve failed in some way, because at the end of the day, we move on.”

Other comments Painter made on his radio show on Wednesday:

On the culture of every player thinking he’s an NBA-caliber player:

"I’ve watched in a short time here at Purdue Caleb Swanigan and Carsen Edwards – who I think can someday fight into a rotation, kinda like E’Twaan Moore has done – it took him a while and he got in, now he has stayed in the rotation for a handful of years. I think those two guys can do it, but they are not there yet. But I watched how those two guys worked ... I told our team this year, ‘Does anybody think that they have put more time into their jump shot more than Carsen Edwards?' … if you do speak up ... and no, nobody thinks that. Does anybody put more time in working on their body, getting on the treadmill in the morning, staying after practice, putting in more time than Caleb Swanigan did when he was here? It went quiet again. There’s your answer. The answer is your work.”

On players being patient in Painter’s system:

“We have taken some guards that not all of them were highly decorated guys coming out of high school (who) have been pretty productive players for us – Dakota Mathias, Ryan Cline, P.J. Thompson, Carsen Edwards. When you look at the people that have been here since Nojel Eastern has been here and you take a step back, Sasha Stefanovic and Eric Hunter have made really good jumps from their freshmea to sophomore years this year. Well, if you look at them, all those guys improved and you didn’t improve.”

On players being able to transfer easily:

“We’ve given them too many avenues to move and in life you can’t do that, but they have grown up in that culture. They play for different high schools, they play at a different prep school, they go to different AAU teams. Now they get into college and we’re making rules that are even more flexible. There’s going to be a point in life where you just can’t move.”

On Eastern’s decision to transfer:

“It’s his loss. Purdue is a special place. Purdue is not done with you when you are 22 years old. They weren’t done with me when I averaged four points. Bruce Weber, Gene Keady, Tom Reiter, Morgan Burke, all those guys helped me in some capacity before I got back to Purdue to be the head coach. They don’t get that. But when you walk out the door and you turn you back and go, ‘Eh,’ boy, you are not thinking clearly in terms of the big picture, your life and what Purdue can do for you. It has done so much for me.”

More on Haarms:

“You might have gotten you degree at Purdue, but you are not a Boilermaker if you walk out the door in the end and you say, ‘Hey, I want to make the league.’ Well, guys who make the league work like Carsen Edwards and Caleb Swanigan. I didn’t see that from him. Did he work hard in practice? Sure. Did he work hard in games? Sure. Was he a good player for us? Yes. But if you take him and rank against the guys I just mentioned, where would you rank him?”

Purdue Coach Matt Painter discussed the transfers of Matt Haarms and Nojel Eastern on a radio show on Wednesday.

It’s hard enough to be successful the way it is. People don’t realize that.

Regarding social media…

Everybody is in this microwave society about ‘I want to be a pro’ … and that’s the one thing that’s not changing. There’s some things changing in high school basketball. There are some major changes coming in college basketball. And there going to be a lot of differences. There’s one thing that’s not changing about how good you have to be to play in the NBA. That’s not changing. It’s never going to change. These guys are like ‘I want to be a pro,’ well how about we be all-conference in college first? Why don’t we try that out? And you will get guys that average four points, or six points, or nine points or 10 points and say, ‘Coach I want you to develop me into a pro?’ And, well, why don’t you work like a pro?

I’ve watched in a short time here at Purdue Caleb Swanigan and Carsen Edwards – who I think can someday fight into a rotation, kinda like E’Twaan Moore has done – it took him a while and he got in, now he has stayed in the rotation for a handful of years. I think those two guys can do it, but they are not there yet. But I watched how those two guys worked ... I told our team this year, ‘does anybody think that they have put more time into their jump shot more than Carsen Edwards’ … if you do speak up ... and no, nobody thinks that. Does anybody put more time in working on their body, getting on the treadmill in the morning, staying after practice, putting in more time than Caleb Swanigan did when he was here? It went quiet again.  There’s your answer, the answer is your work.

If you are putting your name in the draft to get attention. If you are transferring just to be transferring – I don’t mean to be hurting anybody’s feelings because I like the guys who have left my program; I like both of them – but transfers don’t get drafted very much.

When you look at the center position where Matt Haarms was – we tried to play Trevion Williams and him together and it didn’t work. To his defense, he got hurt. He got two concussions. And for him leaving, I don’t know how things changed for him. I try to take a step back and look at it from their perspective, OK how did you better yourself? Are you going to play against better competition in the league you went to? No.

When I look at the positon and say OK, it worked for Caleb Swanigan in that position, it worked for AJ Hammons in that position, it worked for Carl Landry in that position, it worked for JuJuan Johnson, you want me to keep going? It worked for Isaac Haas. It’s hard to reel off that many names in one position, but in reality Trevion Williams beat him out.

You might have gotten you degree at Purdue, but you are not a Boilermaker if you walk out the door in the end and you say, ‘Hey, I want to make the league.’ Well, guys who make the league work like Carsen Edwards and Caleb Swanigan. I didn’t see that from him. Did he work hard in practice? Sure. Did he work hard in games? Sure. Was he a good player for us? Yes. But if you take him and rank against the guys I just mentioned, where would you rank him?

Trevion Williams beat him out. If he wants to leave that’s his choice. He got his degree from here.

We have taken some guards that not all of them were highly decorated guys coming out of high school have been pretty productive players for us – Dakota Mathias, Ryan Cline, PJ Thompson, Carsen Edwards – When you look at the people that have been here since Nojel Eastern has been here and you take a step back – Sasha Stefanovic and Eric Hunter have made really good jumps from their freshmen to sophomore years this year. Well, if you look at them, all those guys improved and you didn’t improve.

Nojel made a really good jump from his freshman to his sophomore year, the he took a step back this year. And when you do that and you have a lack of production and you don’t play well and now it’s your turn, well, I don’t know what to say there. Now, you become the outlier. The other guys got better. The other guys improved. But, the other guys stayed and fought through adversity, now you walk out the door after you put your name in the draft twice when you average four points. I love him, but he’s got to check his hold card. At the end of the day those other guys were productive.

Your attention has to go to those who stay. I think we have enough proof with the success that we’ve had and the guys that have graduated for us and improved. We haven’t had two guys go into the draft every single year when we had three years or four years in a row that we had a draft pick. We’ve had eight guys drafted in 15 years, but we haven’t sold our soul and we’ve worked really hard. Guys have developed and I think we got better.

We’ve got some young guys coming in, we had two guys sitting out, I think we are getting better.

We’ve given them too many avenues to move and in life you can’t do that, but they have grown up in that culture. They play for different high schools, they play at a different prep school, they go to different AAU teams. Now they get into college and we’re making rules that are even more flexible. There’s going to be a point in life where you just can’t move.

He didn’t say one word to me. I talked to him three or four times on the phone, just checking in with him academically. Each one of our guys has an academic coach. They have a mentor and they also have our academic coordinator Todd Foster.

It’s like a kiss of death. You get the text, ‘hey coach you got a minute tomorrow?’ Oh, he’s leaving. I’ve watched enough Baraby Jones shows to get it figured out. I can tell you how this is going to end. His phone didn’t work so he could only text. He dropped it or something

I feel bad. I always feel like I’ve failed in some way because at the end of the day we move on.

It’s his loss. Purdue is a special place. Purdue is not done with you when you are 22 years old. They weren’t done with me when I averaged four points. (former Purdue coaches) Bruce Weber, Gene Keady, Tom Reiter, (former athletic director) Morgan Burke, like all those guys helped me in some capacity before I got back to Purdue to be the head coach. They don’t get that. But when you walk out the door and you turn you back and go, ‘eh,’ boy, you are not thinking clearly in terms of the big picture, your life and what Purdue can do for you. It has done so much for me."

On coaches being the villain:

To me in the simplest terms of what just happened, is competition. I have two guys sitting out, one was injured the year before and the other we just felt like in the end that he needed to redshirt. He just needed to. Mason Gillis and Brandon Neman I really like. Ethan Morton a kid from Pennsylvania is coming in – the best passer that I’ve recruited is just going to be a really good player here. Jaden Ivey is a very, very talented, hard working kid. He gives us some athleticism, some skillset that we don’t have. I really like those four guys and what they are doing. We signed a 7-3 kid Zach Eddy from IMG that just started playing basketball. I think he’s got a chance to be really good. He just needs a chance to get going and get his body right, just get against competition and people of his size. I like where we are. I like some of the guys and what they’ve been doing as I mentioned Eric Hunter and Sasha and Trevion. So, when you get into that mix like Matt in the simplest term, through competition – we tried to play those two guys together (Haarms and Williams) and that didn’t work. It made more sense that Trevion played more. So, that’s part of competition. With Nojel coming back with some of those guys coming in, somebody is not playing. I don’t know who is not; they decide that. I don’t sit around and decide that, but somebody is not playing. Through all that, boy you have a chance to play. He (Eastern) struggled last year, but he kept playing. He played a lot of minutes. So that’s the way I look at it … when you sit back and digest it, we probably got better. If you don’t want to be here and you don’t want to embrace competition, then the door swings both ways. That loyalty has to be a two-way street.

Matt Haarms was a good guy. Nojel Eastern was a good guy. They want something out there – and it’s not magical – what they want lies in their work. And what they want lies in their own production. Sometimes it’s effort and results because kids will come down and talk to you and just say ‘well, I did X, Y and Z.” I’m not doubting your effort, man. Your effort is good, but you’ve got to get results. You’ve got to be better than (Michigan State’s) Denzel Valentine, you got to be better than (Ohio State’s) Evan Turner, you’ve got to be better than (Indiana’s) Yogi Ferrell. You just do. You have to better than those guys because those guys are the best guards in our league. If you can’t, I feel you because I wasn’t better than those guys when I played here. But I wasn’t running around blaming Gene Keady because I wasn’t any good. I know that. I know that. I wasn’t walking around Muncie, Indiana telling people that ‘Hey, I’m getting the short end of the stick here at Purdue. I’m walking around there saying ‘I’m having a real tough time guarding (Indiana’s) Calbert Cheaney and (Ohio State’s) Jim Jackson. That’s what I was thinking. I was like, “goddamn they are good.’ I averaged eight points, I wasn’t putting my name in the draft. What are you doing? I don’t get some of the things that happen and I love those guys, but it’s like ‘Hey, I want to be a pro.’ Great. Way to go. So, you are going knock somebody out of the Pacers’ rotation, like who? What’s their name? They don’t get the big picture of just how good you got to be and how much work you’ve got to put in. They just don’t. And your education is just so important because that’s what you are going to fall back on – even the guys who are going to make the NBA.

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