Roth Talks About Visit, Zeller

IU-bound guard Matt Roth from Washington, Ill., talked to about his official visit to Bloomington as well as Tyler Zeller, who was also in town this weekend for his visit...

How was your visit, and what kind of impression did it make on you?
It made a great impression. The thing that surprised me the most wasn't even basketball related, it was talking to the business department. I got to meet with the dean, and they have a great enthusiasm for a student-athlete who wants to be successful in the business world when he's done. To be able to sit down and talk to them, I got a really good feel for what it's going to be like to be a student in that business school as well as playing basketball.

In terms of basketball, I knew some of the main guys from the basketball team, but I got to know everyone. It wasn't like I was just with one or two guys the whole time. I got to be with the whole team, I got to hang out with them. It was good to get that feel. Those are going to be my future teammates, just to be able to be around them, to play with them, to watch them work out, it was a great feel and a great experience.

Your coach had said earlier that you told him what a huge impression D.J. White and Eric Gordon had made on you when you were there on your unofficial visit just before you committed. What was it about what they said or did that really stood out to you?
I think it has a lot to do with their leadership. They are both great leaders. It seemed every time there was a question with the team, they stepped up and asked the questions. They went out of their way to make sure I felt welcome there and that I fit in right away, it wasn't like I was the odd one out. They were both great, great leadership and they've got that program going the right direction.

Were there any players in particular you met this time that you enjoyed talking to or spending time with?
I enjoyed spending time with the whole team. You get them all together, they get going, joking around. Being with the team as a whole, it felt like they were a close-knit team, that they all enjoy being around each other. I think it seemed they got along great as a team. That was my favorite part.

Who was your host?
I was with D.J. White quite a bit. Everyone on the team was around, but he was the one I hung out with the most, him and Eric Gordon.

Indiana is bringing in some loaded recruiting classes. How good will that be for you in terms of fitting in with that group as a shooter? I think it will be perfect. I know I'll have to work extremely hard for my playing time because of the level of talent they have recruited. I feel like if I'm able to go and work hard every day, I'll find a way to get on the floor.

With the talent they have, they'll have to respect everyone on the floor. If we get some penetration, if we get some good post ups, they'll be able to find me getting open on the perimeter. Or, if they aren't getting off me, then our big guys will make a killing on the blocks.

You've developed quite a reputation as a shooter, and a lot of people don't talk about some other areas of your game. Does that bother you?
It could bother me a little, but I'm not blind myself. I know I have some weaknesses on the court. Those are the things that I work on every day. I work on those before I work on my strengths.

The timing was such that you took your official visit at the same time as Tyler (Zeller). Was it your decision to do it now?
Yeah, I wanted to do it when he was coming because through AAU, we've become such good friends and enjoyed being around each other. We're so alike basketball-wise and off the court, I just wanted to get together with him.

I wish the best for him with whatever he decides to do. But at the same time, I told him it would be fun playing together. I didn't lie to him or anything, and I respect the fact he has some other great schools looking at him. To be able to spend at least one more weekend with him was great. Hopefully he'll be around for more. But only the future will tell that.

During your visit, how much time are you spending with Tyler, or are each of you doing your own separate thing when you're on your visit?
We broke up a couple of times for different meetings. But as far as going out with the guys are going to watch a workout, we were together pretty much the whole weekend.

How hard have you been working him to get him to play with you?
He's a smart kid and understands the game so well. I'll give him a hard time here or there, just joking with him. But I know he understands what it's like playing with me. He's told me from AAU how much fun it was playing together. I'm going to do what I can because he's a great kid and a great basketball player.

How badly would you like to continue playing with him?
It would be unbelievable from my aspect. As close as my family and his family have gotten during AAU, I think it would be a lot of fun, not just for us two but for our families. It would be unbelievable.

How long had it been since you'd seen Tyler?
I'd say probably since when we came back from Los Angeles after our last AAU tournament. But I stay in touch with him and talk to him quite a bit.

For you, now that you've made your official visit, do you have more plans for future trips to Bloomington?
I think I'm planning on coming over a couple more times, just to hang out with the guys a little more, watch them play a little more. I'll try to make it over to a couple of games.

Look ahead to your upcoming season. What are some of your goals for the team and individually?
It's team first. That's the way I've played basketball my whole life. We have one goal, and that's to win that state championship this year. That's what I've dreamed about my whole life – to go out with a state championship before I go away. That's a dream I'm holding onto, and it's a dream my teammates share with me. That's the No. 1 goal.

Individually, I'm going to try more than ever to do whatever I have to do to get us a win, whether it's scoring or playing defense or getting my teammates going. I've been playing varsity ball for three years, and I know what it's like. I'm willing to do whatever to get my team that state championship. That's my main focus – to do whatever I have to.

As someone who has already committed to IU, you probably didn't get the same sort of recruiting pitch from the coaches that an uncommitted player would. What are some of the things they were talking to you about?
The thing is they already know I'm committed, and they're as excited as I am about it. It was really kind of a building block was how I saw it, building a relationship with the coaching staff as well as the players. That way, when I come in, I'll feel like I've already got a building block going and I can build off that instead of trying to establish one once I get there in June or whenever. Top Stories