Boys basketball practice tips–off today around the state...and that means it's back to work for Washington's Matt Roth.
We've seen him grow up as a varsity player, wowing us since he was a freshman. Today marks the official start of Matt's senior season.
Defenders cling to Matt Roth like the sweat that soaks his jersey. Roth has grown used to the defensive attention during his three–year varsity career and to learning how to avoid it.
"It’s the same old thing," said Washington coach Kevin Brown.
"They’re going to get physical with him. I think the biggest thing is he can rip through and get to the bucket now, so that’s going to take some of that away. They’re gonna do the same thing that we’d do to any shooter. They’re going to get up in him and not let him catch and not let him catch in their comfort level. Our job is to find a way that he can catch in that comfort level."
"With this team, we’re gonna have a fun style of play," Roth said. "We’re going to get up and down and I think it’s going to open up a lot of new things for me as well as for my teammates."
Brown says his senior guard has been maturing like a Roth I–R–A...his talent and knowledge growing with interest.
"He’s a different player than he was in March," Brown said. " I mean, he puts the ball on the floor. I think the biggest difference is his defense has really improved. He got a lot stronger in the off-season. He’s ready to go for his senior year, and we’ve got some good people to go with him."
The last time we saw Matt Roth, he was committing verbally to play basketball at the Indiana University. Since then, Kelvin Sampson's program has gone through a scandal that cost an assistant coach his job. Roth says that phone call scandal didn't affect his recruiting or his commitment to the Hoosiers.
"I mean it has no effect, because that’s where I want to go to school and that’s where I want to play basketball in college, " Roth said. "It’s a tough spot for them to be in. I think they did a great job handling it as a school and as a program. I feel like they took the right strides and hopefully everything works out for them. "
"Matt was recruited by the book and there wasn’t anything there that went wrong," Brown said. " I think that makes it easy for him to feel like, you know, that it will work out."
But before he crosses the state line, Roth would like to take care of some other state business this season.
"This is a group of guys that don’t almost want to get there," Roth said.
"This is a group of guys who have that dream in their heart to get there and I think that’s going to push us over the edge, hopefully."