A consistent offensive threat and a skilled passer, new Lower Matteo Whelton ’20 has proven to be a pivotal player on Andover Boys Basketball. A member of the U18 Switzerland National Team, Whelton adds an unmatched knowledge of the game and a strong outside shot to the team, according to Co-Captain Dallion Johnson ’20.
In an email to The Phillipian, Johnson wrote, “The first game of the season, he was hitting shots from everywhere. Once he hit his first few in a row, I knew he was feeling it, so I continued feeding him. The dude is a knock-down shooter. He’ll get the crowd lit real quick by sending them a salute or fist pump after knocking down a three ball.”
Whelton scored eight three-point shots in his first game at Andover, igniting a strong offensive performance by the team for the rest of the season.
Whelton’s charismatic personality and enthusiasm for the sport motivate his teammates and create a fun game time environment, according to Derrick Herrick ’18.
“Matteo is a great passer and teammate who is fun to be around on and off the court,” said Herrick.
Due to his skill on the offensive end of the floor, Whelton has been named The Phillipian’s Athlete of the Week.
Who influences you the most regarding basketball?
My dad is my biggest influence in life and in basketball. With him having been a player and a coach, I can easily talk to him about stuff that happens on and off the court as I know he’s already been through this before. He’s always pushing me to become a better basketball player, but more importantly, a better person every day.
What were some of your accomplishments in basketball before attending Andover?
Some of my accomplishments before attending Andover are receiving all-area honors as a freshman and being selected to play on the Swiss National Team.
How was the transition from playing on the Swiss National Team to also joining the Andover team?
The transition from playing on the Swiss National Team to here at Andover was challenging but fun. Basketball in Europe is played differently than over here in America, so getting used to it over here again was a struggle at first, but it’s getting better and better everyday. Although it was tough being away from family and friends for so long, it helped me become a better basketball player, so I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been on the team.
What are some of your most memorable moments on the Andover team?
The most memorable moments from this year mostly come from the bus rides to and from games. We’re a tight-knit team that enjoys being around each other.
How do your teammates impact how you practice and play in games?
My teammates help me to put in a lot effort in practices and games. We’re an energetic group at practice, so when you’re tired or not feeling practice that day, you feed off that energy.
What are your thoughts on previous games this season?
The first seven games of the year were tough. It was a mixture of still getting to know each other’s tendencies on the court alongside a difficult schedule, [which] was a tough way to start the year. I feel like we’ve gotten through the growing pains as a team, and now we’re headed in the right direction.
What are some personal and team goals that you have set for this year?
A personal goal I have every year is to get better. I want to look back at the end of the year to the beginning and see the progress I’ve made. I think the same thing applies to our team: to be playing our best basketball come playoff time.
What motivates you to continue playing?
The thing that motivates me to keep playing is my love for basketball. It’s something I’ve loved ever since I started playing, [and I] look forward to the challenges and memories ahead.