Matthew Hurt, a 6-8, 190-pound combo forward playing with D1 Minnesota, torched the nets at the spring evaluation period's opening weekend in Dallas. His efforts there landed him national attention, both from the media and college coaches.
His opening night performance in the Atlanta suburbs underscored why. He's a highly polished scorer who knocks down threes, makes clever passes off the dribble, finishes with two hands above the rim on the break and is a game competitor.
A 2019 prospect playing up two years on the 17-under circuit, he showcased big-time ability with three more years of high school basketball to complete his game.
"Last week in Dallas, I think I played really well," Hurt said. "The offers have come in and I'm thankful. But there's always room for improvement."
Confidence is among the attributes Hurt possesses in abundance for a young player, yet his success last weekend caught even him off guard.
"I was really surprised, I didn't know those teams would offer this week," Hurt said. "Monday was Nebraska and Wisconsin, Tuesday was Florida and Xavier, and Minnesota was yesterday. Iowa State and Iowa were last year."
He won't sign a letter of intent until November, 2018, at the earliest, but Hurt's recruitment already has taken on a intriguing subplot. His brother, Michael, will play hoops for the Golden Gophers this fall. Richard Pitino sat front and center for the younger Hurt's game tonight, and obviously they loom as a serious factor for him as well.
Still, Hurt doesn't view himself committing to any moves early, and certainly there's precedent for brothers from the same Midwestern family — including the Zellers — attending different schools.
"My brother is saying to trust the process," Hurt said. "Just that I don't need to think about the (college) coaches and always play for the team and try to get the win.
"I'm considering following in his footsteps, but I'm my own person and I can create my own footsteps, too."
Though they haven't offered, North Carolina's Roy Williams was among the coaches to take a liking to Hurt last weekend. The Tar Heels have expressed interest through back channels, and assistant Hubert Davis watched him compete in his opener tonight.
"I know they're interested," Hurt said. "That's a great program. Always will be. They're just very well coached."
Rankings are inconsequential at this stage for rising sophomores, but an early consensus has emerged that Hurt is tracking as a five star prospect. Let the games begin.
photo courtesy prephoops.com