Gatens Debuts at PTL

Matt Gatens has traveled the country playing basketball this summer. With a few days home, he suited up in the PTL for the first time this season on Monday. HN caught up with the 2008 Iowa recruit to see what's new. We also offer observations of Matt's play and a few other Hawkeyes in this report free to all visitors of the site.


How has your summer been going?

Busy, really busy. I haven't had much time to be home. But it's fun traveling around and playing.

Where have you been?

First, we went to the Bronx. We left like June 12th. From there, I went to Virginia for the NBA camp. The Bronx was a Rumble in the Bronx with Martin Brothers. From there I went to the NBA camp with LA Pomlee. From there, I was home for about 15 hours and then flew out to LA for about three or four days for the Kobe thing. Now, I'm here for a while then I go the LeBron (camp), Tulsa and Florida.

What have been some of the highlights? What has stood out from your stops?

Definitely playing with my team in New York. We took second place and we played a bunch of really good squads from the East Coast. It was a lot of fun. Also, getting to ask Kobe a couple of Questions while we were out there and just getting to be around him a little bit was just really exciting.

Did you find him pretty down to earth?

Yeah, we had a little question and answer session with him as a group. He did a good job with it. I think all of us expected him to be there more and do drills with us, but he's busy with all of the stuff he's got going on.

Did you ask him anything?

I asked two. I asked what kind of mental approach he takes to the game and where his work ethic comes from.

What were his answers?

His mental approach is that it's time to go out and have fun and strap it on and go out and do what he's practiced. And as far as work ethic, he said it's not work to him. It's just fun. They say he has the best work ethic in the league, so I thought that was interesting.

How do you feel like you've performed at each of the stops?

I think pretty well. I've gotten a lot of feedback from a lot of people that have said that I've done a pretty good job. I always an real critical of myself thinking I could have done better, but it's been a lot of fun and I'm definitely learning a lot of things.

Is it kind of cool to go to these places and sort of represent the Hawkeyes now that you've committed?

Yeah, it is. You see a lot of people like scouts and other coaches and try to talk to them about being a Hawkeye. It's fun to represent Iowa, and hopefully in a good way.

Do any of the other schools try to recruit you any more?

Nah, they've backed off. They know I'm solid.

What are your plans for the rest of the summer?

Friday, I go to Akron, Ohio for the LeBron camp. I come back for a day, then I go to Tulsa with Martin Brothers. We come back for two days and then we go to Florida for like two weeks.

How many more PTL games will you be in?

Hopefully two more games.

Do you like playing in this league?

Yeah, I love it. You play with a lot of good guys; guys you haven't seen for a while and guys you're going to be playing with at Iowa. It's a lot of fun.

How stoked up are you about the upcoming high school season with the Derbys coming to City?

I'm real stoked. We had our first summer tournament with us all there this weekend. It was a lot of fun. I felt like we meshed really well. We passed the ball real well. Also, (John) Lickliter played with us this weekend. Hopefully he's going to be (at City), too. He's a real good player. He's fun to play with.

OBSERVATIONS: My headed to the PTL tonight to watch the progress of future Hawkeye Matt Gatens as he made his debut in the league. I was pleased.

Gatens makes the game look easy and does everything very well. He possesses strong basketball instincts and a keen understanding of the game.

As Matt warmed up for the second half, I watched him drop in about 5-7 threes in a row. During the action, he rebounded, played excellent defense, passed it well, posted up, stepped out, drove to the basket and ran the floor.

Gatens stole the ball out top on trip, dribbled down and delivered a pretty fierce slam. I remember Matt playing as a prep freshman in this league, and he never seemed intimidated. He's always had confidence, but not allowed it to make him play outside of himself.

Gatens looks ready to play Big Ten ball now from a physical standpoint. He has solid legs and a thick upper body. I also think he's become more athletic with age.

I'm not really sure to whom to compare Matt. He's got a little Horner and Haluska in him. I just wish he was in the current incoming class.

Gatens team played against Jarryd Cole's squad on Monday. I thought Jarryd looked a lot more assertive than he did in the first few games I saw him in.

Cole has some polish around the basket and uses the rim well to shield off bigger defenders. Again, he came up with another impressive put-back dunk.

Tony Freeman ran with Gatens. They played well together.

Tony was in shooting mode tonight, launching instead of looking, but he shot it well. I do wish he would dribble a little less at times.

Well, that's what I got for tonight. There aren't any games on Wednesday because of the holiday. Next week will be the last regular-season action.

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