Rochester John Marshall incoming senior and basketball star Matthew Hurt has spent this summer playing in a variety of elite tournaments nationally and internationally. That includes the 6-foot-9 forward having been a key member of the USA national team which won a gold medal, beating Canada in the FIBA U18 Americas Championship in June. Hurt finished the six-game tournament having tied an American record from 3-point range, hitting 12 of 20 attempts from beyond the arc. He shot 63 percent from the field overall, led his team in blocked shots and was second in rebounding.
Hurt, who also has starred on his high-powered D1 Minnesota team this summer, has seen his national ranking rise to as high as No. 2 among upcoming 2019 graduates. He has yet to choose a college but hopes to have that done by possibly November. Duke, North Carolina, Minnesota and Kansas are among the schools he’s considered.
You’ve been traveling all around the country this season, playing in tournaments and working out in such cities as Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Chicago and New York. Which place has grabbed you the most?
HURT: I really liked Los Angeles a lot. The city is really cool. We went to Newport Beach and also went on a cruise while we were there. New York also had a lot of impact. We walked to the gym to practice from where we were at. I liked it, but I’d rather have more open space than New York has.
When you’re practicing, playing and hanging out with your DI Minnesota team, who are you closest to?
HURT: I am close to everyone on the team. We all enjoy hanging out. Plus, (as players) we are all unselfish. We make the extra pass, which is why we are so effective. We play the game of basketball the right way. When we’re just sitting around, we talk about life. We talk about coaches and the NBA and a lot of stuff.
How much pride is there on your Minnesota team in terms of representing your state?
HURT: We care about that a lot. I think we have the most underrated state in the country (in terms of basketball players). We all want to prove that Minnesota has great talent.
You made the USA U-18 team, then won a gold medal with them. What stands out about that entire experience?
HURT: It was pretty cool, and it was very satisfying being that all 12 of our players came in and had a goal and one goal only. That was to win the gold medal. I thought I played good defense. Some AAU kids don’t like to play defense. But defense was one of my main roles on the team. Playing defense is really fun. You do all of that dirty work and take bumps.
How much of a grind has playing this much basketball been?
HURT: It’s definitely been a grind. I’ve barely been home all summer, but I am almost done. I’ll have to keep working at it the next couple of weeks, and I’ll be good. It’s tiring, sleeping in a different bed every night. It’s not always that fun, but I think, in the end, it’ll be worth it.
In what ways have you grown as a basketball player and person this past summer, with all of the playing and life experiences you’ve been immersed in?
HURT: I think I’ve gotten better at playing defense, and I’ve gotten stronger. I’m going to keep working on that. I lift three days a week for about an hour and a half at a time. I’ve gone from 215 pounds at the end of our high school season to about 225 now. As a person, I think I’ve grown in that I’ve gotten more comfortable talking to people. In life, I think I’m going in the right direction.
When do you anticipate making a decision about college, and what will be the biggest factors playing into where you go?
HURT: Hopefully I’ll have made my decision by November. Either that, or I’ll wait until next year. The biggest factors for me are my relationships with the players and coaches, the campus and how the program is doing.