is a 203cm forward from Voorhees, New Jersey starting his professional basketball career in Germany with the Uni Baskets Paderborn. He began his basketball career at Eastern High School and then played at Lafayette (NCAA) from 2014-2018 playing a total of 121 NCAA games and as a freshman played 32 games averaging 3.1ppg, 1.8rpg. In his second season at Lafayette (NCAA) he played 29 games averaging 13.3ppg, 4.6rpg, 1.3apg, FGP: 49.7%, 3PT: 50.0%, FT: 77.3%. In his junior season at Lafayette (NCAA) he played 29 games averaging 15.4ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.2apg, FGP: 50.3%, FT: 78.6%. In his senior season at Lafayette (NCAA) he played 31 games averaging 16.5ppg, 5.8rpg, 1.5apg, FGP: 54.3%, 3PT: 42.9%, FT: 81.4%. Currently this season he is averaging 13,6ppg, 3,6rpg and 1,0apg. He spoke to germanhoops.com about basketball earlier in the summer.
Matt thanks for talking to germanhoops.com. Where are you at the moment and how was your summer?
I am currently in Paderborn Germany getting aquainted with the city before practice starts. My summer was very good. I worked out a lot, as well as volunteered at a hospital near my home in New Jersey.
Congrats on signing with the Uni Baskets. Have you already made a mark on the calendar to meet your ex teammate Seth Hinrichs who plays with Vechta that is only 164 kilometers from city to city.
I have talked with Seth and he was happy to hear that I had signed with a German team. Unfortunatly Vechta moved up to the BBL so I do not think we play them? But we have discussed meeting up at some point.
How did you experience your first summer transfer period as an ongoing professional player? You had quite a number of offers from teams. Was there anything that surprised you about the whole process?
The experience of becoming a Professional basketball player over the 1st summer was exciting not knowing what to expect. I trusted my agent and did my job by continuing to perfect my game.
What were the main reasons for signing with the Uni Baskets Paderborn? What kind of impression did you get of head coach Uli Naechster in your talks?
The connection I made with Coach Uli was important for me and they provided me with everything I wanted. Coach Uli knows the game of basketball and wants what is best for you. I am excited to learn from him
After being a main scoring threat at Lafayette (NCAA) you now embark on your professional career where you will have other talented Americans as well as Germans. What kind of goals do you have for your game this season?
I want to continue to get better and to become a dominant player in this league. I want to help my team win games most importantly.
Let’s talk about your game. You have a nice inside/out game, but after taking 119 three’s as a senior compared to only 4 three’s in your first three season’s would you consider yourself a modern forward?
I believe I am a modern forward. My Three point shot demonstrates my will to work on my game and I want to continue to do that. I think the game today has a lot more 3 point shooters and I have adjusted to it. I can’t be as physical as I want to be so I am shooting more 3s.
You have a great midrange shot, an impressive array of moves inside and developed a three as a senior. If you had to compare your game to an NBA player who would best fit your style on the court?
I would compare my game to The Gasol brothers.
You have a diverse array of many moves and are excellent at converting in traffic. What are you aiming to adding to your inside game that will continue to make you successful at the pro level?
I just worked at the shot getting as many reps as possible. Fenerty gave me the confidence in my shot. He told me I had the midrange shot down. It was only 1-2 steps back to shoot the 3.
You’re a guy that can fill the stat sheet at ease, but what do you feel is a hidden strength in your game that doesn’t always get noticed right away on the court?
I think that I am a good weak side defender able to take charges and block shots or cause the offender to change their shot
You played at Lafayette from 2014-2018 and have stated that winning the Patriot League title as a freshman was your biggest feat. What memories do you have of the run?
I remember playing in the championship game and learning a lot from the players in front of me like Seth and Dan Trist. I also remember playing in the NCAA tournament against Villanova
What memories do you have of Seth Hinrichs from your freshman year. When looking back at your last three years, what tips from him do you feel rubbed off on you and helped your game mature?
I learned a lot from Seth. He showed me how to be a good leader and how to create a winning team culture. He also showed me how hard you need to work to be successful at the college level. I definitely tried to compare my game senior year to his game as a stretch player.
You had many great games at Lafayette, but where do you rank your 30 point game in the exciting 74-72 win against St Francis?
I remember that game pretty clearly as it was my 1st break out game of my career. I remember how much of a team win it was for Lafayette.
How did head coach Fran O’Hanlon groom and prepare you best for a professional career at Lafayette (NCAA)
Coach O has helped me greatly. He helped me develop my game and pushed me to be the best player I could be. He also mentored me through my decision this past summer and I owe him a lot of credit for giving me a shot to play Division 1 basketball.
Who won a one on one in practice you or Paulius Zalys?
We both won games. He is a very good player and one that is very unique. I believe he will have a great senior year at Lafayette
You played against so many great players at the NCAA level, but which player was your toughest opponent that is in the NBA now?
The best player I have played against I would say was Jalen Brunson
How did your 2018 summer work out plan look like? On what things will you be working on most so you will be fully prepared for your rookie season?
Getting stronger and being in better condition will be key for me along with being able to handle the ball. I also have been working on my jump shot to extend my range
If you had to construct your very own NBA Rushmore which 4 heads would you pick old or new?
Lebron, MJ, Magic, Bill Russell
What is your personal opinion of the never ending debate about who is better Lebron or Jordan?
Lebron is better. Period
Tracy Mcgrady said that the Boston Celtics will be the Golden State Warriors of the future. Do you see that happening?
No I don’t see that happening.
Deandre Ayton was the #1 NBA draft pick in 2018. Do you feel that from sheer talent and experience that Luca Doncic should have been the real #1 draft pick?
I havent really followed doncic closey enough to tell. I think he will be a great player though.
Lebron James makes amazing passes in every game, but really showcased it in a game this season against the Los Angeles Lakers. He already is like a point guard, but if he played just point guard and concentrated only on playmaking how many assists do you feel would he average per game?
13 a game
What was the last movie that you saw?
The last movie I saw was Uncle Drew.
Thanks Matt for the chat.