So this is year two for you right at Oak Hill? What’s different for you this year versus last year as a person and a player?
I would say that last year I was still that leader because I was the point guard, but now I can be more aggressive on offense. I’m a senior now, it’s time to go all out and work towards the goal of making it to McDonald’s All American Game and Jordan Brand Classic.
Is it as crazy as I would imagine it to be with your recruiting process and all the serious options that you have within that?
Yeah it is for sure. My dad and I and my mom, I talk with them for like every other day now it seems like, they always want to see where I’m at, where my head at is and what I’m thinking and I always want to see what they are thinking. We talk about it, they tell me not to rush it and to keep praying about it and everything will fall into place.
So with the recent developments in your recruitment, how would you say your parents feel about those recent developments versus how you are processing it all?
Well, Duke offered. Since Duke offered and Kansas, I put them in my Top 5. My mom was like, “what took them so long” and I told them they should talk with them about that. So that, I wouldn’t say it slowed down my thought process, but it made me think "OK, Duke’s involved now, so I want to see how they are going to prove that they really want me. It was a little late, but it’s Duke, so you are going to entertain them because it means they really need you if they are coming in this late. At first we weren’t sure with Duke, like my dad, they were like wow, what took so long. But then they talked with Coach Capel, Coach K and then we went onto the visit there and they cleared it up a little bit, so now we’re just waiting out to see how they are going to prove themselves in terms of interest in me.
Can you elaborate a little bit about how Duke “cleared things up a bit” for you?
I don’t know who they talked about with my parents, but I know with me, Coach asked me since I had played with all the guys, “Matt, do you see yourself fitting in here?” I told him yes, I see you need somebody that can run the point guard spot and who can run the show and hopefully if all the guys leave, that might make my decision even harder.
How would it make it harder?
I still gotta think about Stanford you know, because I can go there and play right away no matter what. Texas has been there since the beginning, so there’s a lot to think about.
Yeah that seems like an interesting dynamic for you with the long-standing relationship with Texas. How would you say you are processing through those dynamics in light of the newer relationship-building processes you are going through with programs like Duke and others?
You know it’s just knowing I played under Shaka for the U18 team, so I got a good feel for how he does things, how he coaches his guys and just building that relationship—he’s always there. He was there for almost every game this summer, AAU, he came to the house, he came to the school, so the more you see his face, the more you know he really wants you and the more he trusts you.
Have they indicated what their specific reasons are for how hard they have been coming for you?
They just said you are probably one of our biggest recruits that we’ve ever had, that’s what Shaka said, so I took that as wow, he really means that.
You mentioned in June being on a group chat with other point guards in your class…
Yeah, we do that to really pick each other’s minds and we see where things are with each other. Like I know with Syracuse, they weren’t knocking on my game or anything, but they were honest with me that they were going to focus on Quade (Green), so I told them that I respected them for telling me that. I don’t think about too much but I guess you could talk about the domino effect, but none of us I think really have the same schools in mind. I look at what’s happening with that stuff, but really like with Duke, I just want them to prove that they really want me, so at the end of the day, wherever I fit in the best and where I’m most comfortable—that’s where I’m going to go.
Who would you say is really making that effort to prove how much they are interested in you?
Stanford for sure, them and Texas it’s obvious. I got a lot of respect for them and how hard they are pushing for me. Duke is up there too. I hear from them every day. Coach Capel reaches out every day and between him or Nolan Smith and Coach K will text me every 3 days, Nate James will reach out once a week, so I hear from them. That’s been going on since I visited them in September.
Let’s look big picture with Duke, where would you say your thought process was with them leading into the official visit, after the official visit and then since then with all that recent contact?
It’s a lot of thought going into the whole process, I can tell you how I feel about each school, but I really can’t tell you where my head is with this is because we still have so much left with this process. It’s really just say your prayers and let everything play out. I talk with my mom about my decision, we haven’t come to any conclusion yet on whether I’m going to sign early or late, commit in November or December, I’m just going to let the process lay out.
Do you need to see what’s going to happen first with any other guys in your class for information for your decision-making process?
Not really, I’m not worried about any other guys in my class because I know where I stand with my schools.
Aside from where the process has been with Duke, what were your thoughts on the visit itself?
At first I was just like in awe because that was my first time being there and with just being in Cameron and hearing from Coach K, it made me feel really good because I realized, “wow, I’m being recruited by Duke University.” After all that went away, I just got a mindset that I could see myself here, after playing with the guys I felt comfortable. As time goes on, you think about that. They were all telling me that, “Matt if you come here, Coach K is going to let you do what you do, he’s going to let you be who you are.” And the coaches were all like, “Matt, we hope you can see how much we need a point guard” and I see that a little bit. Jayson Tatum is really good man, Grayson Allen is very aggressive. I liked Bolden and Amile, they are going to have a pretty good team this year. I’m looking forward to seeing how they do. I was really sad to see what happened with Harry though.
Did they discuss Frank Jackson at all with you and how you two potentially fit?
Yeah they did and they feel like we could play together which I think so too. We played in pickup and there were a lot of drive and kicks for both of us. He’s more a scorer, that’s what he does.