The Kentucky Wildcats desperately need frontcourt help, and there are two very intriguing options on the transfer market.
Matt Haarms is the name all of the Big Blue Nation knows by now, as the former Purdue center is ranked as the No. 2 grad transfer by both ESPN and WatchStadium.
But the new name to emerge is VCU forward Marcus Santos-Silva, a talented big man who was a beast in the Atlantic-10 and against Power 5 opposition.
Ever since word came down that Santos-Silva was transferring and UK was a potential option, I’ve been watching him, checking all the regular and advanced stats, and just trying to figure out who would genuinely be better for what UK needs next season. You could really go back and forth between these two promising bigs, and I imagine they’ll both be starters for Power 5 NCAA Tournament teams next season.
In a perfect world, UK finds a way to get both, but seeing as how UK already has Keion Brooks Jr., Lance Ware, Isaiah Jackson and possibly Jacob Toppin (if the immediate transfer rule passes), John Calipari may be only willing to take one more big man.
You can’t really go wrong with either guy, but which one fits UK better?
With Haarms, UK would be getting:
- An elite shot-blocker who ranked ninth nationally in block percentage (12.6%) last season.
- A 7-3 lob target for UK’s guards, which should feature a lot of slashing to the rim between Boston and Clarke, leading to a lot of easy dunks for Haarms.
- A 7-footer whose length can bother anyone, which is harder for the 6-7 Santos-Silva to accomplish at center.
- An efficient scorer who ranked 19th nationally in 2018-19 in field-goal percentage (67.9%),
- An improving three-point shooter who shot 31.3% from deep last season.
- Someone who’s played in seven NCAA Tournament games (just 1 for Santos-Silva).
- A respectable free-throw shooter (69.5% and 63.4% over the last two seasons compared to 59.7% and 55.1% for Santos-Silva).
- Someone who’s made an impact in a Power 5 conference for a Final Four contender (his 2018-19 Purdue team was a shot away from the Final Four), an invaluable level of experience for a Kentucky team that doesn’t have a returning player with postseason experience.
With Santos-Silva, UK would be getting:
- A physical bruiser who thoroughly outplayed Haarms in their matchup last season.
- Someone who’s very durable played in every game over the last three seasons (Haarms missed time with a concussion and hip injury last season, while a knee injury limited him in the 2019 offseason).
- A rebounding machine who ranked 78th nationally in offensive rebounding percentage and 36th in defensive rebounding percentage last season.
- Someone used to being the focal point of an offense who averaged 27.2 minutes per game last season (Haarms averaged just 20.5 and 22.8 over his last two seasons).
- Someone who averaged 19.3 points on 69% shooting with 8.0 boards and 2.7 steals in games vs. Tennessee, Purdue and LSU.
- A great screener who frees up teammates better than Haarms.
- Someone who averaged 12 points and 13 boards in two matchups with Obi Toppin.
So, which name sounds more appealing to you?
Should UK want Matt Haarms or Marcus Santos-Silva for next season?
This poll is closed
Tell Cal to get both and make it work.