Are you having fun out here at USA Basketball?
This is fun being back with the guys form u17 and u18 and laughing and joking and being competitive at the same time. Now that we are vets the young guys look at us and some of them are pretty good. It just feels different because they are looking at us and want to learn and grow from us because they want to be where we are at.
What are you trying to work on before your senior season?
Two things. The jump shot and that comes with the confidence and reps because I know I can hit them. When my feet are set it’s a guaranteed knock down and just making more plays with my off hand and that’s also confidence. Just getting to the rim, taking the bump and finishing with the right and the left the same way.
There’s some really good 2017 kids here and many of the top point guards in the class, how competitive are you all with each other?
We laugh and joke about it, but at the same time get real serious. I know with Quade and Trae, they go at it all the time. That’s from the MoKan and PSA and camps and stuff. We laugh and joke, but when we get on the court we get serious and it’s competitive. But the crazy thing is when we know someone isn’t playing up to par they be like ‘yo matt step it up.’ We know what each other are capable of and we motivate each other.
It seems like a lot of the point guards are being recruited by some of the same schools, is that something you all talk about with each other?
Somewhat, but I know I talk to Quade and Trae a little bit. But they told me that some schools are falling off and some are focusing on me. Like Syracuse called me and said ‘Matt, we aren’t knocking your game. We love you, but we are going to focus on Quade because that’s our guy.’ I respected them for telling me that. With Trae, I don’t know what’s up with him. We still communicate with it and pick each others minds.
Are you enjoying the process?
I am, but right now I wouldn’t say it’s stressful, but there’s a lot of thought into it. I try not to bury myself with it and focus on practice, school and then at the end of the day I’ll look at my phone and take some texts and calls. At the end of the day, I want to see which coach is going to trust in me and I can trust them.
You went to Stanford last weekend, how was that?
Stanford was nice. They put together a nice visit. Beautiful campus. It’s big. They have a lot of connections out there with social media and Apple and all that. I played pick up with the guys and it’s very obvious that they need a point guard. They are going to have a pretty good team and they have some good pieces. They are going to be able to compete, but it’s obvious that they need a point guard.
What did you learn about them that maybe you didn’t know?
I would say the diversity of the school and the connections. I know Duke and Texas have connections, but being in California and everybody there, the coaches always text me that ‘we had this GM in the gym today and we had this guy from Apple in the gym today and talking to the guys.” That really opened my eyes about beyond basketball because the ball is going to stop bouncing and you have to be ready with your next step in your life.
What has been your full visit schedule?
I’ve been to Duke and just went to Stanford. I go to Texas October 28th. I was supposed to go to Kansas next weekend, but we had a scrimmage that interfered so I’ll catch them in November.
How was that visit to Duke?
It went real well. I liked coach K’s message. He said ‘Matt we really like you. I hope you can see that we need a point guard.’ He said they could potentially have five or six guys leaving. When coach K first offered me Coach K said, “Matt I want to apologize for being such an idiot and not recruiting me from the jump.’ I said, “it’s OK coach we all make mistakes.’
Does that impact anything with them?
A little bit, because it’s so late. But at the same time, it’s Duke. Then knowing that they are coming in means something. It means they must really need you or they want to see you be great at their school.
Texas has been on you for quite some time, what’s the draw with them?
Shaka shows so much love and he’s so genuine. Shaka said, “Matt I just want you to know that I really love you.’ He came to the house when I went home last week. He came to the school this week. Just keeping it in my head that the keys are mine and could take them to the next level. He sends me a text everyday, “Matt we just finished practice, we are just missing that one thing, a point guard and that’s you.’
Are you excited about that visit?
Yeah I’m looking forward to it. I know Jarred [Vanderbilt] is going up there with me and Mohamed Bamba too.
I know you said you’re still going to visit Kansas, is there anyone else still involved or is it those four?
Just those four.
Are you thinking early decision?
That’s up in the air. I’ve talked to my mom and my dad about it. Some days I say early. Some days I stay late. I do want to get it out of the way, but I don’t want to rush it and make the wrong decision. But you can’t really make a wrong decision with the schools that I have. It’s really all up in the air right now.