Sports

Calgary product to add size and strength to Heat

Calgary high school standout Matt Matear will play for the UBC Okanagan Heat men
Calgary high school standout Matt Matear will play for the UBC Okanagan Heat men's basketball squad next season.
— image credit: KramMag.org

After a year of action in the competitive Canada West men’s basketball league, the UBC Okanagan Heat know that players with size and athleticism is a valuable commodity.

With that in mind, Matt Matear will be a welcome addition the team’s front line next season.

As a 6-foot-5 , 210-pound forward on the Alberta 4A boys No. 2-ranked Bishop O’Byrne Bobcats, Matear has been able to use his size and athleticism to punish opponents while helping his team to a perfect 10-0 record in Calgary city league play.

Matear also won numerous all-star and MVP awards along the way.

“I can easily push bodies around at the high school level,” says Matear. “I can get to the rim and rise above guys who are 6-8, 6-9, but who have less weight and less muscle than I do, it (size and athleticism) really helps my game in terms of being able to finish while getting fouled.”

Matear has been on the radar of outgoing Heat basketball head coach Darren Semeniuk for some time.

“I have been watching Matt play since his Grade 11 year, and I’ve always been impressed with his game. He is a physical player that loves competitive situations. I don’t see Matt backing down from anyone, and this trait is going to be extremely valuable to our team as we try to establish ourselves in this league,” said Semeniuk. “That’s why this is such a huge recruit for us, and I couldn’t be happier that he has committed to play at UBC Okanagan.”

Matear will enter the Faculty of Management in the fall as he feels it will be a good fit for him, and he likes the ability to take his education in different directions.

“It’s a broad faculty where I can branch off a lot,” says Matear.

Matear had to choose between UBC and UBC Okanagan, with the Okanagan campus winning out because he “felt like UBC Okanagan was 10 times more comfortable (on his recruitment visit).

"The environment and the atmosphere there was so welcoming so warming, everybody welcomed me in," he continued, "I think as a person as well as a basketball player I’m going to have the best experience at UBC Okanagan.”

For the Heat next season, Matear will have to fight for playing time with two of the first-year forwards from this year’s squad in Ben Hindson  and Julian Asselstine. All three will likely see a spike in playing time with the graduation of Simon Pelland and Steve Morrison.

“What I hope to bring to the Heat next year is speed at the position I’ll be playing, which is most likely a three or four,” guesses Matear. “Being undersized to play a four I think my speed and my broadness will help my game a lot, and with the Heat I think I’ll be a big help down low in terms of adding some size.”

 

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