More coverage of Isaac Haas' recruitment HERE
Special thanks to BSD's Robert Reinhard for his contributions throughout this developing story.
If Isaac Haas sent shockwaves through the recruiting world last Wednesday by not signing his National Letter of Intent with Wake Forest, then Monday morning's announcement by the 7'2 senior (Hokes Bluff, AL) was a full-on nuclear meltdown.
At least for fans of the Wake Forest Demon Deacons, that is.
Haas, a four-star consensus top-75 recruit and onetime Wake Forest verbal commit, announced Monday that he would sign with the Purdue Boilermakers. The decision came after a whirlwind weekend of courting that included Haas' official visit to UAB and a visit Sunday from what was surely a concerned Wake Forest staff.
Rumors about Haas' likely destination raged for days, where speculation ranged from, "Wake Forest pulled their offer" to "He's definitely going to UAB."
Seemingly lost in the shuffle (and news cycle) was the full-court press being put on by Boilermaker head coach Matt Painter, who attended Haas' practice in Hokes Bluff on Friday. In the end, Painter and the Boilers got their big man, leaving Deacon fans to speculate on what exactly went wrong.
"I told him when we talked it's not a four-year decision, it's a 30 or 40 year decision," Hokes Bluff head coach Greg Watkins said in an interview with BSD. "It was important for him to get it right. He did his homework, and it led to his decision early this morning. We can get back to coaching and playing some basketball now."
Some Wake Forest fans wondered if Haas' decision was affected by the rampant negativity about the program on social media and message boards. Watkins didn't deny that it was a factor.
"I think there's so much out there for a kid now," he said. "I know the social media part of it is huge with them. I don't know how much of a role it played in this, to be quite honest, but I do know that it played a role- I don't know how much. Most kids now, they're a lot more savvy when it comes to social media than we are. It is what it is."
Watkins, whose phone has been ringing non-stop for almost a week, sympathized with the schools and coaches involved in the recruiting process.
"The recruiting process is a grind for the coaches, for the players, for the college coaches especially," he said. "I was kidding with one of the college coaches during this whole process- as much time as they put into it, those guys don't get paid enough.The college coaches- I've really been impressed. Every one of them are high-class, high-integrity people. They were very good during the whole process."
In the end, Watkins believes that Haas' decision came down to what school best fit his needs.
"All three schools, he was fond of all three," Watkins said. "But I just think at the end of the day it wasn't anything negative about any other school, it was just what he felt like Purdue could do for him."