College Decision Can Wait as Minnesota’s Matthew Hurt Takes the Court for USA at the 22nd Annual Nike Hoop Summit
At 6-foot-9, Matthew Hurt cuts an imposing figure. His numbers have the same effect.
Averaging 37.1 points per game as a high school senior this season, he makes an impact in every game.
Ranked No. 10 in the ESPN Class of 2019 rankings, Hurt helped the United States put a hurt on the other teams en route to winning the gold medal at the 2018 FIBA Americas U18 Championship in St. Catharines, Canada.
The Rochester, Minnesota, native started all six games, averaging 14.0 points and 5.3 rebounds per game, and made 12-of-20 3-point shots in leading the U18s to a clean 6-0 record and the championship gold medal.
“It felt good playing with great players,” said Hurt, who will be reunited with many of those same teammates next month. He was selected to represent the U.S. in the 22nd annual Nike Hoop Summit on Friday, April 12. The U.S. team will face off against other high school-aged stars from around the world at the Moda Center in Portland, Oregon. (Tickets)
“It’s an honor to play in the Nike Hoop Summit,” the 18-year-old said. “Only 12 guys make the roster and being one of those guys is a blessing. We’re just going to try to win the game. That’s our goal.”
Right now, though, Hurt’s goal is all about finding the right fit for his college future. He hasn’t made a commitment yet, but obviously has received plenty of attention. He stretches the floor, creates off the dribble and is a talented shooter despite being a big man.
Hurt, who has been described as a cross between former Duke University stars Mike Dunleavy and Danny Ferry,has taken visits to Duke, the University of Kansas, University of Kentucky, University of North Carolina and, oh yes, the hometown University of Minnesota as well.
Minnesota has put an offer on the table, but Hurt isn’t biting just yet, even though older brother Michael currently is a junior playing for Richard Pitino there.
“He wants me to make the best choice possible for me,” Hurt said of his older brother. “He wants what’s best for me. He gives me a little bit of advice, but it’s mostly, ‘Just take your time. Don’t get too high. Don’t get too low. Take your time and make the right choice for yourself and everything will play out.’”
Growing up playing basketball with and against Michael was something special for him, but his entire family is at home on the hardwood, especially at John Marshall High School.
Dad Rich and mom Jenny both played basketball at John Marshall, and Rich is the assistant coach for the boys team. Sister Katie was a starter on the girls team as a freshman this season.
“It’s an honor to keep my family’s legacy going at JM,” Hurt said. “They were all great players, especially my mom. She was really good. She would probably say she was the best player in our family, and I don’t doubt her.”
He calls his father the biggest influence on his life, both as a person and as a coach.
“He definitely tells me the truth,” Hurt said. “He tells me what I need to hear, instead of what I want to hear. A lot of people tell you what you want to hear, but he lets me know. He keeps it real with me. I find that’s really nice for me. It helps me to grow as a player, as a person.”
Hurt had his choice of sports as a youngster, playing football as a running back, baseball as a pitcher and first baseman, along with a little soccer, but he settled on the family business: basketball.
“It’s a physical sport, and it takes a lot of skill,” he said. “And just playing with your teammates is special. There are only five of you on the court at one time, and that’s pretty cool.”
Being in the USA Basketball mix has been quite special as well. He attended three USA Basketball training camps, including the 2016 and 2018 Octoberminicamps and the 2018 NCAA Next Generation. He found training at altitude at the U.S. Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs, Colorado, beneficial, especially for winning the gold medal at the 2018 FIBA Americas Championship.
“That high altitude was different for sure,” he said. “The first couple of days, everybody felt tired and worn out, and it felt different for sure, but then we got used to it. As we got used to it, our conditioning got pretty high. Personally, I think it helped us win the gold medal.”
But it was the vibe from practicing with teammates, feeling the oneness of the team, that really made the difference. And Hurt expects an even better vibe with his USA teammates in their last high school hurrah at the Nike Hoop Summit.