December 13, 2017 06:42 PM
(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester John Marshall Rockets are undefeated in the young 2017-2018 boys basketball season—and to no surprise, it’s their star junior forward, Matthew Hurt, leading the way.
“He’s got great concentration, extremely focused,” Rockets head coach Jim Daly said. “He’s put so much time in, he’s kind of fallen in love with the process, and the process is starting to love him back as well.”
Hurt’s concentration and focus on the floor this season has led to an incredible start to his junior season.
“It’s all about confidence for me,” Hurt said. “If I’m making my threes, I feel like I’m pretty hard to guard. I can go inside-out. Finishing with contact, without contact, I feel pretty confident right now.”
Through the Rockets’ first three games, Hurt has become a nightmare for opponents to defend—through Wednesday, he has scored 132 points and grabbed 39 rebounds, good for an average of 44 points and 13 rebounds per game.
“I don’t know if there’s one (defender who can guard him), but I think there’s three or four as a team, they send three or four players that can maybe do it,” Daly said. “But to be honest with you, I don’t know. I think I like our chances with him one-on-one in the post or out on the perimeter.”
Hurt, who was a 1st-team All-State basketball player as a sophomore, said the biggest difference this year compared to a season ago has been his mentality and his ability to develop a better basketball IQ.
“Just playing, getting a lot of reps in, and then just watching it too (makes a difference),” Hurt said. “Any basketball will help. It doesn’t matter if it’s G-league or low college basketball, division-two basketball, anything will help you."
"I think I've grown as a person. I had a really good summer and offseason, and I think that helped me a lot."
“He wants to be special,” Daly added. “Any nugget of information he embraces and wants to get better.”
The national attention has also increased for Hurt—Kentucky and North Carolina head men’s basketball coaches John Calipari and Roy Williams, respectively, were both in attendance on Tuesday night to watch Hurt score a single-game school record 48 points in the Rockets’ 83-61 win over Red Wing (it was the second time Williams watched Hurt play in person in the last year).
“Well, it’s pretty impressive,” Daly said.
Hurt, who officially received an offer from Calipari on Wednesday, has more than 20 offers from nearly every top collegiate basketball program across the country, appreciates the attention—but right now, he’s a John Marshall Rocket.
“I’m on John Marshall,” Hurt said. “I’m going to put 110% effort and mental-game into JM, so I’m just focused on my team, my coaches, school, all that right now. I’m not even focused on college right now.”
Moving forward, Hurt said he'd like to focus on improving his ball-handling, strength, and lateral quickness--and in order to improve, it’s all about confidence.
“I’m just trying to go at my opponent and make their defensive presence non-existable for me. I just try to make shots, do my thing on the court. I just need that confidence.”
“I think he’s a great kid,” Daly, who’s in his first season as the John Marshall head coach, added. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know him a little more. He’s got a pretty good sense of humor, so just getting to know him has been a treat.”
Hurt and the Rockets will look to go 4-0 on Friday at Albert Lea.
Updated: December 13, 2017 06:42 PM
Created: December 13, 2017 05:19 PM
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