Sunday, April 6, 2014

Farewell, Matty Basketball

Matty puts up a shot against San Diego
Well, so much for the idea of not losing any of the members of this year's basketball team permanently. :( Matt Carlino (a.k.a. Matty Basketball, Matty Ice, Matthew Mario Carlino . . .) has announced he will be transferring to another school to play his senior year of eligibility. The main question on every fan's mind is . . .  WHY?!?

Personally, I think it's a combination of a bunch of things.

First, he's not the preferred starting point guard anymore, and obviously that's not ideal in his mind. I really hope this isn't the main reason he's transferring, though. That would put him in a category all-too-similar to Jake Heaps (a la a 1st grader whining "If you won't let me be #1, I'm taking my ball and playing somewhere else!"). I don't think Matt is that arrogant and selfish . . . or at least I hope not.

It also doesn't make sense that this reason would contribute very much to his decision to transfer because Kyle Collinsworth is out for an undetermined amount of time after his ACL surgery. While KC is hoping to be back by the beginning of the 2014-15 season, there's no knowing how much he'll be able to play next year. And if he's not 100%, Matty would have that starting position in the bag.

He wasn't the starter, but he was playing starter minutes, so is it really that bad? And honestly, Matt plays soooo much better when he's the backup. I don't know why, but it's true. I think they won games because of it-- so isn't that what's important? If he were willing to embrace that role (and I thought he had, but I guess maybe not . . .), he could have been one of the best point guards ever to play at BYU. He's already top 10 all-time in 3-pointers, steals, and assists. Too bad he won't get to improve those numbers next year.

Second, he was scrutinized quite heavily. I admit even I've been hard on him from time to time for his tendency to get stupid turnovers and make bad decisions, but he didn't deserve anywhere near the amount of criticism that was thrown at him. He even completely deleted his Twitter account because so many people were saying such mean things to him (which is totally inexcusable, by the way. Leave him alone, people!) I think he came to Provo at the wrong time-- he was being compared to Jimmer right from the start and couldn't live up to it (which isn't a criticism-- no one could have filled those shoes!) But I think, if anything, BYU fans were probably a lot kinder to him than they would be at a lot of other universities. He's not LDS, but I don't think this would be a huge factor because he really seemed to fit in at BYU. I really thought he fit in quite well with the culture at BYU and seemed to be good friends with a lot of the other guys on the team. He wasn't bullied or picked on or excluded . . . I'm stumped.

Third, there were 14 scholarshipped players on the roster for next year, and only 13 are allowed. So someone had to go sometime between now and October. I definitely don't think Matt was kicked off the team, but I suppose it's possible if he were on the fence, he decided to leave so no one else would have to.

Fourth, and probably most likely, something must have happened that the public doesn't know about and probably never will know about. Maybe it was something in his family or something in his personal life, but something is making him want to leave BYU, and that makes me sad.

I hate it when players leave and we don't get to give them a proper goodbye. I need warning to emotionally prepare for events like this! I'm already trying to brace myself for the inevitable deep grief I will feel when Tyler Haws graduates . . . and that's a year away! But wherever Matty goes, I hope he has success. Anyone who says BYU is better off without him doesn't know what they're talking about. He leaves behind a great legacy, unfortunately cut short. You will be missed, Matty Basketball!

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