St. Pius X starting point guard Matthew Gonzalo announced his commitment last month to play Division III basketball at Washington University in St. Louis. A week after his commitment, we asked him a few questions about his future as a student-athlete.
Q: Why did you pick Washington University over all the programs that had expressed interest in you?
A: “There are many reasons but the main one is the academic tradition they have at the school. I wasn't aware of how good of a school it was until my dad told me that it was worth looking into. I honestly reached out to them, as opposed to every other school that has recruited me. I sent them some film, they liked me a lot, and they came down for the GAC game. Then we started talking from there.”
Q: What were your takeaways from your visit to Washington University?
A: “The facilities were really nice. When you look at a lot of Division II and Division III schools, their campus and facilities aren't as nice as a Division I program. Everything there felt like I was at a Division I school. There were cold tubs and underwater treadmills, and their whole athletic department was really nice. The gym was really nice, too.”
Q: What will your offseason look like?
A: “After the season ended, I took a week off to relax. I’m going to be focused on attacking my weaknesses. I will be getting my midrange game much better, trying to get a floater into my game, getting more athletic, and getting a better upper body.”
Q: What will you remember most about your four years at SPX?
A: “Winning big games and the feeling of winning big games. If you look at my freshman year, in the sweet sixteen, I hit a free throw to win the game. My sophomore year, in the state semifinals, I made 15 free throws in a row to get us to the State Championship game. My junior year is when I felt like our team got put on the map. We started to beat big teams like Langston Hughes who was ranked really high, then we were up 25 points on Greenforest the next week. This past year was the same thing, we didn’t make it as far in the tournament, but we kept promoting our program and winning games.”
Q: What kind of legacy do you think the St. Pius X Class of 2019 has brought to the basketball program?
A: “I think we are leaving a good legacy. The amount of support we got throughout these 4 years; the coaches would say that before we came, there weren’t huge crowds or a ton of support of the basketball program. We kind of brought that support to the school in some way, and that has been good.”
Q: You were recognized by Hoopseen as the class AAAA senior of the year. What made your senior season stand out to people around the state?
A: “My leadership, I think caught their attention. Last year I tried to be a leader, but I wasn’t as vocally a leader. I didn’t think of the team as my team, I didn’t have responsibility for wins and losses. This year, every loss was kind of on me or a couple of the other senior. I felt like I kind of took the team and tried to make it mine. That’s what I think stood out.”
Q: Of all of the awards and accolades you have earned, which one stands out to you most?
A: “I would say the all-time assist record I got in January. Ever since I was a little kid, I've been coming to St. Pius basketball camps and games and saying, ‘I want to be like that point guard’ and trying to model my game after that. To be the all-time assist leader and have that award, it shows how good my teammates are. Sometimes I had to just kick it out and the guys would spray threes, so it is kind of an award for my teammates, too, to show that they have done 75 percent of the job.”