After three years of being the Gladiators men’s basketball team captain here at JCU, Mattia Matteucci will be graduating..
Mattia is from Foligno, Italy. At John Cabot University, he majors in International Affairs and minors in History. He has been the JCU Basketball team captain for three years and counting – and won the JCU ‘Player of the Year’ award in 2014!
Fellow teammate, Martin Luna, had the chance to ask Mattia some questions about his basketball career here at JCU:
When did you start playing basketball and why?
“I started playing basketball when I was 4 years old. My dad was playing professionally at the time and I always loved watching him play. He’s the one who showed me how to be a leader on and off the court and always told me if I wanted something, I had to go get it, period.”
Nick Gallogy, teammate and study abroad student from UCLA, seems to agree that Mattia is an effective leader, “Mattia does a great job of keeping every player even keel throughout the game, especially when we are losing and tempers may begin to flare.”
As a player, what do you feel you have accomplished for the JCU community?
“Every time new students arrive, I try to make them feel like they’re part of the family. I try to give my best at every practice and game, even if the competition is tough. My motto is ‘work hard play hard’. At the end of the day, JCU is a big family and I’m glad to be a Gladiator.”
Before he was the captain of the JCU Basketball team, Mattia faced his own harsh realities. Early in his playing career, Mattia broke his kneecap and was forced out of physical activity for an entire year. A metal plate was subsequently inserted into his kneecap. Doctors suggested Mattia step away from the game of basketball in order to minimize the risk of another injury, but for Mattia, it wasn’t that easy – leaving the court wasn’t an option for him.
Can you talk about your knee injury and how it motivated you?
“It’s hard to explain. Let’s just say it was an extremely tough period in my life and I thank God everyday for His help. If the injury had been one inch lower, I would have lost my leg. I work harder everyday because of that.”
What’s the next step for the JCU Basketball team? Where do you see them in the future?
“We won a trophy last semester during the 3v3 University Tournament of Rome and I hope we continue that winning culture this season. The most important thing for me is that we work together and help each other win. If we do this, we’ll be unbeatable and we’ll be even more proud to be a part of the JCU community.”
We wish you the best of luck for the future Mattia, and you will be greatly missed!
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