Streetsboro sharpshooter Jordan Matusik garners national attention

By Sara Welch | Correspondent Published:

Social media created a world where interaction is ongoing and instantaneous.

Updating a Facebook status or tweeting a message to your followers is part of a daily routine for a lot of people.

Everyday people connect to a variety of networks on their phones, tablets and computers, where their opinions are posted, their comments are left and their votes are submitted.

Social media effectively changed the way we live and its force has also impacted high school athletics.

The amount of social media traffic revolving around Streetsboro's standout senior shooting guard, Jordan Matusik, provides enough proof that the mounting accomplishments in his senior season are not only buzzworthy enough for his local supporters, but substantial enough to attract wide-spread attention.

"Jordan works hard in the off-season. Every year he's played pretty much year-round basketball," Streetsboro head coach Nick Marcini said. "This year, he had a pretty bad ankle break, but he got it treated and came back ready to play after our dead period ended in August. We started up in September, and we went hard. He put in a lot of work during those couple of months leading up to the season. I thought he was ready to have a breakout year."

While he was always recognized as a shooting threat to opposing teams, he still managed to knock down unopposed 3-pointers throughout the beginning of the season. Going unnoticed until midway through the season, when opposing teams started tailoring their defenses to account for his outside shot.

"Certain nights I can definitely tell I'm going to play well based on how my shot is going in warmups," Matusik said. "That helps me tell how my night is going to be. Sometimes I feel like I don't have as much energy as I have in other games, but then I just remember that I'm blessed to have an opportunity to play basketball and that gets me excited to play. I really don't think I'm ever going to have a bad night when I go out there. I always have confidence in myself."

A rivalry game on Crestwood's hardwood proved to be the singular performance that fueled all of the hype surrounding Matusik for the duration of the season.

He scored the first three points of the night for Streetsboro with 4:30 left in the first quarter. He would score three more 3s in that quarter alone, then three in the following quarter. He would go on to tie the Streetsboro single-game school record after he buried No. 8 in the fourth quarter.

It was a record he very nearly set just two games prior -- a game he connected on seven.

By season's end, Matusik's long-range assault broke the single-season school record for 3-pointers with 63.

"I was most proud of breaking the single-season 3-point record for our school. I know a lot of people expected me to do it. It feels good to actually do it," Matusik said.

Just as teams from around Portage County had taken notice of the sharpshooter, the realm of social media began to fuel Matusik as part of a Facebook driven 3-point contest that will take place next month.

After the top seven 3-point shooters in the country were selected to participate in the American Family Insurance High School 3-Point Championship, the eighth and final spot remaining was left open to a group of 16 based on statistics pulled from maxpreps.com. Matusik found himself as one of those 16, with the spot being selected by a Facebook vote-in competition. He advanced to the semifinal round of the voting process, before losing by minimal votes.

"I was really happy and proud of myself for even having a chance to go to Atlanta for the competition. It's a personal accomplishment. They only took 16 people and I was really proud to be one of them and receive some recognition for my hard work," he said.

That hard work was even recognized by second-year Cleveland Cavalier All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving, who made reference to Matusik on Twitter.

Despite the heightened attention, senior teammate Brandon Gency said that Matusik remains the unselfish, thoughtful person he's always been both on the court and off.

"Jordan has been humble, and he knows this is a blessing; not something that should be given to him," Gency said.

Despite his individual success, Matusik always put his team ahead of himself. He understands that regardless of how many individual honors he receives, at the end of it all, he'll remember his team.

"I love Jordan as a teammate," senior teammate Dorian Williams said. "He's always played very unselfishly. He has very high basketball IQ. He knows what to do and when to do it.

"I think other people look up to him," Williams said. "Although he's doing very well individually with the 3-pointers, he still knows how to play basketball as a teammate. I think that shows that his first priority is the team."

That is a sentiment that rang true when Matusik remembered his favorite moment from the 2012-13 season.

Having plenty of games to choose from that were highlighted by superb individual performances, Matusick has a different memory at the top of his list -- a 51-49 home win over the Norton Panthers.

It was not Matusik's best individual performance of the year, but the Panthers had entered that game previously unbeaten in the PTC's Metro Division. The win allowed the Rockets to remain in championship contention for the remainder of the season.

A season that catalogued plenty of memories.

"I knew I was going to have to play a big role this year being a senior captain and a leader for the team," Matusik said. "I knew I was going to have to step up and play a lot better than I did last year. I always expect more out of myself, and I'm never satisfied. I always feel like I can do better, but I think I met my expectations this season."

While he's gained the interest of a few Division III colleges, and he hopes to continue his basketball career at the college level, he's in no rush to make a decision until the right opportunity comes along.

"I definitely want to play basketball, but if I don't get the right offer or if it's not a school that I'm really interested in, I won't force myself to go just to play basketball," Matusik said. "It's about academics first, so I can prepare myself for life. I think that's the most important thing."

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