Last year, 21-year-old Croydon native, Matthew Don, was preparing to play college basketball at Cameron University in the United States. Now, he is preparing to play professional basketball in Spain, making yet another move on the journey to make his dreams come true.
Matthew played the position of Power Forward/Center during his year at Cameron University, which is part of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II‘s Lone Star Conference. While playing at Cameron, Matthew had a career high of 17 points and 11 rebounds.
I can imagine that playing in a team that comes under the renowned NCAA must be an experience for any player, and Matthew said that his time playing at Cameron was “a really good experience…[It’s part of the]… number one D2 league in the country and every year, every team gets at least three D1 transfers.” What he most enjoyed though was “the travelling and my teammates.”
There were bound to be highs and lows in his college career at Cameron, as he continued to grow as a player. His biggest achievement was his team making it to the semi finals of the conference tournament, beating their rivals Midwestern State University, who had already beaten them twice that season. On the flip side, his biggest struggle was “losing in the semi finals and knowing that was my last college game ever.”
Yet as soon as the season finished, Matthew began speaking with agents online, and he eventually found one, who came back to him with the Spanish team, CB Virgen de la Concha.
CB Virgen de la Concha is part of Liga EBA, one of the championships in the Spanish basketball league system. Matthew said that the team wanted to sign him because “they can help my game and get me to where I want to go.” It is a like a return of sorts for Matthew, who spent time at the Canarias Basketball Academy before going to the States.
Matthew will be playing the position of Wing/Power Forward in Spain starting later this month, where he hopes to win the league and be recognised as a good player, by “either making an All Conference team or rookie of the year etc.”
“Scared, nervous and super excited” is how Matthew is feeling about making another move. However, when asked how he felt about learning he would be playing pro ball in Spain he said, “Honestly, I don’t know what to think. I still don’t because I haven’t visited the town yet; all you can really do is look at stuff on the Internet. It’s scary not knowing what you’re going to but exciting at the same time.”
Matthew’s basketball career is continuing to heat up and he’s continuing to move to different countries, but he’s never forgotten about his home. He said: “Hopefully one day I can give back to the community where I grew up, since I know the struggle and how hard it is for kids to find a place to play basketball.”
The hard work is paying off, but Matthew is still striving to get to where he wants to be. For anyone in the process of trying to go pro, he offers these words of encouragement: “Keep God first, stay prayed up, don’t give up and keep working hard. Everyday.”