Gatens Excited to Sign LOI

After verbally committing to Iowa three years ago, Matt Gatens makes it official on Wednesday when he signs his letter of intent. The Iowa City High standout spoke with HN.com about the big day, his comfort level with the new staff, where they've told him he'll play, a chance at a state title and what it's like playing with the son of his future college coach.

Is it somewhat of a relief and exciting that signing day is finally here?

Yeah, it's been a while since I decided where I was going, but I feel like it's gone by really fast. The last four years of high school and the three years since I committed have just gone by like a flash. It's exciting at the same time knowing that I'm going to officially sign on.

What are your plans for that? Are you going to do it at the school?

Yeah, I think the school has something set up Wednesday morning at 7:30. I don't even know exactly what's going on.

What are you impressions now that you've had some time to get to know this staff?

They seem like a great staff. These guys are down to earth. I feel like I'm getting a good handle on their system. I can't wait to get started. The assistants are great. Coach (Todd) Lickliter is easy to talk to. He seems like a great coach during practice and games so far. It's going to be a lot of fun playing for them.

How do you feel like you fit into this system?

They told me that I'm probably going to be a shooting guard or a point guard, those two positions. When I'm at practice or the games, I kind of picture myself with what Justin Johnson might be doing or any of them are doing; what I might have to step in and do as a freshman or down the road. I can see myself doing a lot of things whether it be helping on offense or wherever they need me to do something for the team.

What is your familiarity level with the other guys in this class that's signing on Wednesday?

I met (Anthony Tucker) earlier this year at one of the football games. He seems like a great guy. I shot around a little bit with him one time and he obviously can play. And then, I met (Andrew) Brommer for the first time this weekend. I got to talk to him a little bit and he seems like a lot of fun. He's got some size and he's fun to talk to. And then Jermain (Davis), we were on our official visit together. So, I got to spend a lot of time with him. He's awesome. He's funny and I hear great things about him on the court. I'm going to try to get up there and watch him up there at Kirkwood here real soon. I think the future is looking pretty bright.

Coach Lickliter re-recruited Jeff Peterson, Jake Kelly and Jarryd Cole after they had committed to the previous staff here. You also committed to those coaches originally. But really, you're part of what might be looked at as the first class brought in primarily by this current staff.

It is probably the first class that he fully recruited even though I was already here. I'm sure it will be looked at like that, but we'll all just have to come in there like the rest of the guys and compete and do what we can to help them out in any way possible. I don't think having the extra light shined on us as the first class will do anything for us, but…

I guess I'm almost looking at it like a building block as to where this program is headed.

Yeah, and I think they did a great job with their first class in what they were able to pull off. They got into recruiting so late with our class. It all starts at such a younger age now. They did a great job with the guys that they got. It's going to be a lot of fun. We'll wait to see what we can get in the classes after us, keep it going and see what we can do.

How excited are you for your senior year of high school? You guys look a lot different than you did last year.

We do. We just went through our first day of practices (on Monday). We went twice. Everything went well. Everybody is working hard and understanding everything so far. I can't wait to play with all of them out there. I mean, (John) Lickliter (Coach Lickliter's son), Malcolm Moore (6-foot-7 CR Washington transfer), the Derbys (A.J. and Zach), they're all good guys and great players. So far, it's been great. Everything we've done, defensively, offensively, everybody is giving all that they've got and listening. That's the first step. We just have to put it all together and when the game comes see what we can do.

What would it mean to you to finish your prep career with a state championship?

It's the ultimate goal. It would mean the world to me. My goal right now is for us to go undefeated and win it. Why would we set our goals any lower than that? It's definitely possible and we definitely have a great shot at it. I'll be disappointed with anything less.

What's it like playing with your future college coach's son?

It's a lot of fun. I've gotten to know John real well. We've bonded really well. He's a great point guard. He'll find the open man or shoot it. He can play defense. He can go inside and play the post. He's great to play with and off of the court he's a lot of fun to be with. I don't think we really get into the fact that he's my future coach's son. He's just a normal kid out there and he's fun to be around.


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