Jonah Mathews – Senior USC Basketball

“Growing up with my dad and brother involved in basketball, I was surrounded by the game. I was never forced to play, but my Dad told me that if I wanted to play, I’d have to do it the right way. At first, I wasn’t serious about the game, I mostly just cared about my shoes and thought, ‘if my shoes look good then I’m all good.’”

“When I was young, I remember going to AAU tournaments to watch my brother play. I’d see the level my brother Jordan was playing at and it made me realize that I wanted to be a part of it too. Seeing my brother play and succeed at that high of a level really pushed me to be better.”

“USC believed in me from the beginning, but it wasn’t always easy. I didn’t score in my first six games and I quickly realized that college would be much different than high school. I hit another slump my sophomore year which really tested my love for the game. Those slumps helped me learn to be resilient and prepared me to overcome other challenges I’d face.”

“I knew I had a chance to do something great, but I had no idea I’d become USC’s all-time 3-point leader, or that it would end the way it did on senior night against our rivals.  The day before senior night I was talking to my teammate Daniel Utomi and he said to me ‘What if you hit a three to win tomorrow night?’”

“With the game tied and ten seconds left, Coach said, ‘If he makes this free throw, Jonah you’re our guy, we’re going to live and die by you. You either make it and we win, or you miss it and we lose.’ In that moment I realized that’s all I wanted to hear for the last four years. That’s what any player wants to hear, that’s what we work our whole lives for. So I thought, this is my moment. When I released the shot, I immediately knew it was going in. I thought ‘Wow, I’m that guy right now.’”

“I’m so grateful for my time at USC. To my teammates, I want you to know that all the practice you dread, the early workouts, the road trips you don’t want to go on, embrace them. I’d do anything for a March Madness shoot around. I would do anything to be in Galen practicing. Embrace the struggles and be grateful for everything because it doesn’t last forever.”

“To the fans I would say, thank you for believing me. There were times when it could’ve been easy to give up on me, but everyone stuck with me and I hope I was able to give some of that love back.”

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