STRIVE TO SUCCEED
Toronto, Ontario: Its December, 2011. Boys basketball is on the rise in Canada- well at least our players are. We’ve got a Prep School League here, called the NPSAA. In America, we’ve got at least 100 guys playing in numerous Prep Schools that have developed and hosted some of the world’s top talent. In the past year we’ve had 2 young men, Tristan Thompson and Cory Joseph get drafted to the NBA, now it seems as if it’s everyones dream to play at a Prep School, sign to a big college or university and “make it”. But for Matthew Atewe – he’s playing so that his father can enjoy watching his son play through his gift.
Matthew is of Nigerian decent and was born in Brampton, Ontario . He wasn’t anywhere as enthusiastic about basketball as some of his peers may have been- he admits he didn’t start taking basketball seriously until he was about 14, about the same time he hit a huge growth spurt. Matt now stands at 6’9, weighs about 225lbs and wears size 17 shoes. Matthew attributes a lot of his development to his
Coach Vidal Massiah, who attended St.Bonaventure University and played professionally for 7 years. Vidal is also considered a legend in Toronto for his “Nike Battlegrounds” in 04-05, and currently runs the Hoop Factory annually, he is the Program Director for his clubthat Matthew is a member of, Northern Kings. With Vi’s experience as a player and now trainer, Matthew went from being a player who would not even be considered to recieve a basketball scholarship, to one that posesses the size of an NBA player and the intangibles of a star in the making.
Early last year Matthew, with guidance from Vidal, decided the best move for his career was to attend a prep school for the following season. In about April, Matthew’s mother began to feel head pains. “W e didnt think it was serious because she was always saying that she was fine, but then may came, and then june came, and then july came-and it was getting worse” With assurance from his family members and support group Matthew took off for school in August, it was his first time away from home alone. Matthew recants, “And on that day I remember seeing everything, and her..and I thought that everything was fine” Matthew shared hugs and smiles with his closest family members and friends and was on his way to chase a dream, the same ambitions that thousands of kids to this day have- to play in the NBA.
On September 8th, at 4:43 pm Matthew heard the news- his mother had suddenly died. No forewarning, no diagnosis…that was it. “I actually found out while I was on facebook , through my little brother Joshua. I didn’t believe him, thought it was a dumb joke. I quickly called my sister and she just started breaking down,” Matthew reminisces. “Nobody had told me she had been in the hospital for 2 straight days, so I was just shocked by everything. After the fact,the doctors said she had a type of cancer for 5 years, but they couldn’t find out what it was soon enough. ”
Matthew’s Coaches back home in Canada got him on the next available flight back home to attend his mothers funeral, and his school made sure to support him at such a crucial time. “To be honest, I actually felt good seeing my family and that they were holding up, and much thanks to my coaches Vidal Massiah and Morris Gordon for giving me as well as my family the support as I was in georgia during this period, but seeing my siblings and my dad just sticking together at such a hard time made us become closer than ever before. ” Matthew added, It was just a great, reassuring feeling after the week that I was back home.”
Matthew could have gave up on his dream right then and there. He could of decided to just stay home for school and give up on his aspirations because of what occurred. They say the love a mother provides can never be replaced, that’s why Matthew keeps numerous pictures of her wherever he goes. With not only his coach’s but his father and siblings encouragement to go back to school and do what needs to be done.
“I love basketball, and one of the reasons I really play this spot is for my father – Just seeing him and everything he has gone through, he is super human.” Matthew continued, “He’s who I look up to for everything that he has done, from being in Nigeria to coming here to Canada to give us a better person, and becoming a successful person, I applaud him and I idolize that. To me he has 3 jobs:one as a businessman,one as a father and the last as trying to be a mother as well towards me and my siblings. If I could have him enjoy the fruits of his labour through me and this sport…that’s what motivates me.”
Matthew Atewe since then has transferred to Basketball powerhouse Notre Dame Prep that have produced other notable Canadian Bigs like Khem Birch (Pittsburgh) and Grandy Glaze (St.Louis). Atewe a player in the 2013 class who possesses a lot of upside with his length and athleticism. Whenever Matt gets the chance, he is in the gym working tirelessly to improve the weaker aspects of his game. Currently, Atewe is being recruited by the likes of Auburn, UGA, Georgia Tech, Va-Tech, San Diego State, VCU, WVU, WKU, UNLV, Xavier, Clemson, UVA, Detroit, Alabama, New Mexico State and more. Stay tuned on this kid, because it’s clear that he is reaching for the stars!
We believe Matthew is an inspirational figure and we wish him all the best moving forward in his career!