Isaac Haas not yet cleared, but confident his skill set will earn him an NBA job

Isaac Haas, Purdue Basketball

CHICAGO, Ill. — As a late addition to the NBA Draft Combine, Isaac Haas has not met with any teams yet during his time in Chicago. When he does, he has just one question.

“Where do you need me? What I’m ready to do is just be there in any aspect possible and help any team that needs me.”

Hass was in his apartment, packing up with the intentions of soon heading north east to Fort Wayne — home of his agent, Roosevelt Barnes, Jr. of Independent Sports & Entertainment (ISE) — when he received a last-minute invite. Although he couldn’t play, he could take a physical and go through most of the measurables.

Haas is a big man — 7 foot, 2.75 inches, to be exact — the tallest of 70 players at the combine. His standing reach (9’3.5″) ranks third among centers and his wingspan is tied for fourth (7’5″).

See Also: Carsen Edwards grateful for NBA pre-draft process

But Haas, who turns 23 in October, has been limited since a nasty fall on March 16th. He suffered a fractured right elbow in their opening game of the NCAA Tournament against Cal State Fullerton. And while he flirted with returning in the tournament, it never happened. He then underwent surgery once their season ended.

“I feel great, honestly,” he said Friday afternoon inside the Quest Multisport Complex. “I was working out, shooting, running, and all of that stuff. I just haven’t been officially cleared for contact. I’m excited for that, it just depends on what the doctor says.”

It wasn’t possible to get a look at Haas’ elbow as he was dressed sharply in a patterned-gray tailored suit, blue button-down shirt, and black bowtie. Dressed to impress, and one of only two players I recall in a suit rather than sportswear. (The other was Texas’ 7-foot-1 center Mo Bamba, who had the most impressive interview.)

Haas described his rehab as painful.

“Painful and long,” he said, relieved to have it behind him. “Elbow rehab is not fun, I’ll tell you that. I’m to a point where, honestly, it’s just relaxing to sit back and look at all the work I’ve done and feel pretty much normal now.”

Haas expects to meet with his doctor “somewhat soon,” and then he’s got to sell himself during pre-draft workouts. He plans on playing professional basketball, and in the NBA, next season. He just doesn’t know where yet.

“I think I can, it just really depends on what the teams want and where I can end up that will actually use me,” said Haas.

One of the challenges for Haas and other traditional big men is the game evolving away from low post threats and favoring versatility. Remember Pacers center Roy Hibbert? He’s just 31 and without a job.

“Every team can use a big men, especially later in the playoffs you see big men touching the ball a little bit more,” he said. “Throughout the regular season, I feel like big men are often used … and they’re always useful, and I know that I can be useful.

“I’m able to score off pick-and-rolls, I can score off pick-and-pops. I can can keep a guy in front of me for a few seconds, which is all they need me to do really. And then just block and rebound the ball.”

Isaac Haas, NBA Draft Combine, 2018 NBA Draft

Isaac Haas is ready to be cleared for basketball activities.

Haas, a native of Hokes Bluff, Alabama, averaged 14.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game during his fourth and final year at Purdue. They went 104-37 during his time in West Lafayette, including a 30-7 senior season that ended in a loss in the regional semifinals to Texas Tech.

Haas praised Purdue for their use of bigs in the offense. He and freshman backup Matt Haarms were fed the ball often, and the offense showcased his post-up game, court vision, and playing inside out.

His favorite player growing up? None other than arguably the best power forward of all time, Tim Duncan. The Big Fundamental. It’s the only NBA jersey he’s ever owned.

Haas confidently spoke about his abilities and his future, hoping to be a dominant big man as Shaq once was.

“I could go back and say Shaquille O’Neal,” he said. “Obviously it’s a little bit different, he was just such a dominant force and hopefully I can be that. I just have a really strong low-post games, I can pick-and-pop from 15 feet, I believe I can shoot 3s. I just haven’t been able to shoot it in college obviously with the system that we ran.

“I don’t think anybody can pretty much do what I can do (in the low post), being able to dominate that aspect. I think I’m unique is my own way and that’s hopefully what teams will look at.”

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