Matt Glass Gets His Shot At UMass
Feb. 29, 2008
Sunday against St. Bonaventure, University of Massachusetts freshman guard Matt Glass was gold from beyond the 3-point arc, hitting four of his six attempts en route to a career-high 14 points in 13 minutes of play. His effort helped the 18-9 Minutemen post a 79-56 victory.
For Glass, who has become a key contributor on the UMass men's basketball team by shooting 45 percent from the 3- point line, the story to this success began in his hometown of Underhill Center, which has approximately 3,000 residents.
During his middle school years, a childhood friend looked at Glass's height and encouraged him to play on an AAU team with him.
"I got started, and just took off from there," said Glass.
He played at Mount Mansfield Union High School, where he averaged 22.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game, and led the Cougars to a Division I state championship in his junior year. Among the honors that rolled in, he was twice named The Burlington Free Press Mr. Basketball for Vermont.
Upon completion of his high school career, Glass decided he needed more preparation before starting his college basketball experience. He enrolled in Northfield Mount Hermon School, a prep school in Northfield, Mass., with a perennially strong hoop program, where he played with future UMass teammate Gary Correia.
"I was really happy with how things turned out (in high school), but when it came to an end I was really unsure of where I kind of stacked up as far as other players from other states." Glass said.
"I really wanted to get out there and see different competition; test myself, push myself to be better."
Glass' success on the court and 4.0 grade-point average drew the attention of Ivy League schools such as Princeton and Pennsylvania.
However, UMass and coach Travis Ford won the recruiting battle.
"When I first saw him, I saw him as somebody who was a good shooter, somebody who had a good feel for the game, somebody who was deceptively very athletic," Ford said.
Ford saw a huge upside in Glass' game, but with that came questions.
"The things I questioned were: How tough was he? How hard was he willing to work on becoming a great player? Did he realize how serious this is or is this just something fun to him?" Ford said, "and all the questions I had about him have been answered.
"He's one of the toughest players we have on our team. He works harder than anybody on our team; he loves the game; he's very serious about it."
That hard work earned Glass a spot in the starting lineup against St. Louis; he played a career high 16 minutes.
His best on-court performance came Sunday against the Bonnies, when he doubled his previous career high in points with spectacular efficiency, hitting four 3-point field goals and sinking two free throws.
He also had an assist and a rebound in his 13 minutes.
Glass has seen his limited role expand, but acknowledged the strength of his team has helped him.
"I try to hide in that corner a little bit and see if they'll forget about me. Everybody really focuses a lot on guys who can really create things for our team," said Glass, speaking of Ricky Harris, Gary Forbes and Chris Lowe, "so it's easy to forget about certain guys.
"I just kind of hide out there and when the opportunity comes I try to make the most of it."
Ford's high-octane offense relies on versatile players.
Glass is just that type of player.
"For a guy who is 6-7, he can shoot the basketball, he's athletic, he can rebound. I like guys with that size who can do a lot of different things on the court, and he can do a lot of things," said Ford.
Glass' hard work has helped the Minutemen beyond his on-court production. One teammate to benefit from Glass' presence is fifth-year senior forward and tri-captain Dante Milligan, who has struggled with free-throw shooting throughout his career.
"Basically, me and him, usually the night before a game, stay later than everybody else and shoot for an extra hour or so. It just helps me concentrate; it helps me with my follow-through, with my focus.
"He just tells me to try to relax and try not rush my foul shot and it helps me out a lot," said Milligan.
Ford had this to say of Glass' quicker-than-expected development: "He has been one of the most pleasant surprises in all my coaching career, as far as a guy who I thought would be good down the line."
Glass, meanwhile, will just try to stay hidden away in that baseline corner, but sooner or later teams will notice him.
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