This young wing really exploded this past winter at City High, he had a high game of 39 points and averaged 18 points and 5.5 boards along with 3.3 assists an outing versus 4A competition. Gatens hit 77% from the line and 45% from the field including 38 three-pointers.
But, the Hawkeyes had already offered him after a stellar spring last year, with Martin Brothers Select. So why was this the right time? Matt Gatens and his dad, former Hawkeye Mike Gatens (Class of 1976) explained why.
"Well, my dad and I sat down a couple weeks ago and decided to get serious about my recruiting," Matt Gatens told Hoopmaters.com. "We started to look at which schools I might consider, but I knew that was dumb, because I knew that I wanted to be an Iowa Hawkeye! It's what I've dreamed about most of my life and I felt it was the right decision for me, so why go any further, it was time to commit to Coach Alford."
"When he looked me in the eyes and told me that Iowa was where he wanted to be," Matt's Dad Mike Gatens told Hoopmasters. "I said your awful young and have a lot of time, but Matt insisted it's where I've dreamed of playing at, I can accomplish my goals there and I want to be part of helping the Hawkeyes get to the top. At that point I knew he had made his decision and knew what he wanted. He wanted to be a Hawkeye!"
Did you seriously consider any other schools, or has it been Iowa all along, Hoopmasters asked.
"Well, I looked at Wisconsin, and took an unofficial visit to Madison," Matt Gatens explained. "But, I guess it's always been Iowa. I know a lot of schools have sent questionnaires, but I've always been a Hawkeye."
"I have a great respect for Coach Alford and Coach Neal," Gatens continued. "They were guards just like me and they both have made it to the NBA. I think they will know what its going to take to get to the highest level with my game. I feel that's why they relate so well to me."
"Matt has a tremendous future as a player," his summer coach Hank Huddleson of Martin Brothers told Hoopmasters. "He's taken his time to make sure he was ready to make his decision, since Iowa offered the scholarship last spring. He now feels he can accomplish his goals at Iowa and it was time to make his decision final."
Matt Gatens has come a long way over the past year, developing a consistent jump shot and playing against the best the state of Iowa has to offer. He reminds me a lot of former Hawkeye great Bobby Hansen ( Utah Jazz/Chicago Bulls) at this stage of his development, coming out of his freshman year. He has already proven himself against the top competition in the state of Iowa and has a number of areas that will allow him to continue to grow and improve basketball-wise. He has a solid stroke from beyond the arc and has ability to create dribble drive or pull-up jumper.
Matt Gatens will be attending the Nike Hoops Jamboree later this month and will be playing with Martin Brothers 15 & 16-Under squads this summer at the National AAU's and other events in July.
Matt Gatens is the first of four scholarships that Iowa will offer in the class of 2008.
This story first appeared on Hoopmasters.com and was reproduced on HawkeyeNation.com with permission from Van Coleman.