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Training with the pros: MBB manager’s NBA pre-draft experience

Matt Matoh spent his summer living any basketball fan’s dream.

The Belmont senior and men’s basketball team manager was given the opportunity to work up close and personal with former college players in preparation for the the 2014 NBA Draft.

“On a personal level it was interesting.  It was really cool to get to know those guys more than what you see on TV from them,” he said.

Matoh assisted former Bruin basketball star Drew Hanlen during the pre-draft camp with Pure Sweat, the company founded by Hanlen. The program focused on skill development, film and preparing college players for the NBA.

“He was in charge of creating video edits for my NBA and NBA pre-draft players, and he also assisted with my on-court workouts,” said Hanlen.

While Pure Sweat is based in St. Louis, the pre-draft camp took place in Santa Barbara, Calif.  Matoh arrived in May, a month after training began, and quickly got to know the players he admired so much.

During the summer, Pure Sweat trained players such as former Kansas standout Andrew Wiggins and UCLA star Zach LaVine in preparation for the lottery.Wiggins was selected the No. 1 overall draft pick by the Cleveland Cavaliers in the 2014 NBA Draft. LaVine was not far behind at No. 13, selected by the Minnesota Timberwolves.

After a trade over the summer between the Cavaliers and Timberwolves, both players will be playing for Minnesota in the upcoming NBA season.

The pre-draft program gave Matoh more experience working with players to improve their game and another opportunity to enhance his resume.

“To have a chance to learn from Drew in such close quarters is something that can only help. His reputation has grown so much in the basketball community,” he said.

This pre-draft camp helped him to enhance his knowledge of skill development, something that he hopes to carry with him throughout his career.

While he enjoyed his training experience, Matoh said he wants to eventually become a coach at the collegiate level and hopes to obtain a graduate assistant position with a program after he graduates Belmont in May.

“I would love to coach here eventually, but probably the place I’m going to look at next is the University of St. Louis,” said Matoh.

The basketball manager still hasn’t ruled out the possibility of a career as a trainer and hopes he can help Hanlen again next summer.

“If coaching didn’t work out for some reason, training is something I could definitely fall back on because of my experience with Drew, but I want to give coaching a try first,” he said.

“If I had my choice, I would love to go out there again.”

This article was written by Aja Hoggart.

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