Photo courtesy of Hector Martinez/Moving Pictures
By David Cordova
Every year, there is always a diamond in the rough that is missed out on by college coaches. In the months of May or June, you would think that there are certain players, due to their skill level, that would be signed somewhere. And yet they’re not.
Matt Mayers is currently in this situation at the present time. The 6-foot-8 senior out of Monsignor Scanlan High School in The Bronx is a very skilled player that can step out and shoot and is a good all-around player for his size. But sadly, many programs have only had interest in him, but have not made an offer as of yet.
At this time, when seniors on the verge of graduating are without offers, they are left pondering if they should go to prep school, as a way of hopefully gaining more offers from a Division I school. But to fully understand Mayers’ version of events, first you have to listen to his story.
“What motivates me is to just keep working hard every single day. You know, I keep looking at people that are ahead of me, and keep pushing, ‘cause when I see somebody that’s better than me, I want to be better than them as well,” said Mayers, “I just keep pushing myself every single day, trying to work harder every day.”
Mayers, who is a native of Yonkers, talked of the differences in Westchester County basketball and the city game. “You know, being from Westchester County, it’s a good county and all, it’s a good environment, but the [local] basketball programs are not as good [as the city], so that’s why I moved to Scanlan to get more exposure and to be a better basketball player.”
Mayers started out his high school career at Hastings High School in Hastings-on-Hudson, New York, in the suburbs, for his freshman and sophomore season. However, as a junior, he decided to make the move to Monsignor Scanlan, which plays in the ultra-competitive CHSAA “AA” division.
With Scanlan, which is one of three schools in New York City that is sponsored by the Jordan Brand, Mayers became a formidable presence in his two years at the school, and began to gain recognition around the city.
On his time at the Catholic school in Throggs Neck section of The Bronx, Mayers replied, “In my years at Scanlan with Dwayne Mitchell [head coach], it was a good year, two years. Dwayne taught me a lot, I became a way better player, coming from Hastings, a Class B school, to a AA school, and got way better as a player and as a person off the court.”
This past season as a senior, he averaged 16 points per game for the Crusaders and gained All-CHSAA “AA” second-team honors. When asked about his senior season at Scanlan, he replied, “Senior season, I mean coming from [my] junior season, it wasn’t that good, we went 6-21, but we came back in my senior season, and I did good, we did good, we finished 11-15, way better attitudes, way better players, we finished with a way better season.”
For the last couple of years, Mayers has been playing for the legendary New York Gauchos AAU program, which now plays on the Under Armour circuit. This past spring, he has averaged 7.8 points and 5.1 rebounds per game.
When asked about his experience with the Gauchos, he replied, “Playing for Gauchos, I’ve been with them for like, three years, since I was 15, you know, coach Tommy [Swinton], coach Casey [Williams] taught me, really brought me to all of these tournaments, helped me get ready for the season, tried to get me more looks, all that stuff.”
On playing on the Under Armour circuit, he replied, “Playing on the Under Armour circuit, has been a good experience for me, and playing against these top players, playing against these top teams, I feel like it’s a good fit for me, because I play with people that I know, and the Gauchos are sponsored by Under Armour, too.”
Unfortunately, despite his progression, he hasn’t been paid much attention. When asked about why he’s been lightly-recruited, he replied, “I feel I’ve been lightly-recruited, because I feel like those kids that are ranked, and stuff like that, I mean, to be honest, it’s really nothing to me. That ranking thing, it don’t mean nothing, ‘cause we play better than those ranked kids. I feel like it’s just a matter of time for me, I gotta be patient and stuff like that.”
On the subject of what a school would have to have to land his services, Mayers replied, “In a college, I would look for a D-1 school, you know, I want to play at the highest level, get better, take my game to another level, you know I want to be in a good environment, be close to my parents and stuff like that. So, I could just be close and any emergency, I could be close and stuff like that.”
Today, Mayers will be receiving his high school diploma from Scanlan. However, what remains afterwards will be a mystery. In the near future, he maintains that he will continue to work out at the school and also at the Gauchos Gym in the mornings with Mitchell and plans to play summer tournaments like Dyckman and also the New York v. New York tournament.
But chances are, he could wind up finishing at a prep school or he could be on a college campus around this time next year. Wherever he goes, you can be sure that Matt Mayers will be making an impact, due to his hard work and dedication to the game.