Despite not being able to play this season due to an ACL tear he suffered in July, Andover Boys Basketball Co-Captain Matteo Whelton ’20 has still been a leader for the team, according to Head Coach Terrell Ivory ’00 and teammate Caleb Blackburn-Johnson ’22.
Ivory said, “He knows the game so well, and people respect his opinion about what’s going on out on the court. They feel like he can genuinely help them, especially now that he’s not playing. He has a perspective that I think he didn’t even have last year… Because he’s still such a big part of what we’re doing, he’s almost like an assistant coach. He helps me out so much, more than what I even thought was possible.”
Blackburn-Johnson said, “He has been invaluable as a leader on the sideline and in practice. We miss him on the court but his experience from the past two years has given him a great ability to lead and help those new to the team.”
Although Whelton has not had the chance to play this season, Ivory still speaks highly of the skills Whelton has displayed in previous years.
Ivory said, “His biggest strength is his ability to shoot the ball, but I think he also does a really good job of understanding situations and knowing how to get other players involved and making sure that we play as a unit. He knows when to slow it down and when to speed up the tempo, which is invaluable as a point guard, a combo guard, [and] somebody who is an extension of the coach on the court.”
According to Whelton, he wishes that he were playing on court but appreciates the fresh perspective he has gained from watching practices and games from the sideline.
“Not being out there with the guys, I have had to lead a different way. I have had to be a lot more vocal, and I haven’t been able to lead by example as much…You see more when you’re not in the game…and I think that is important,” said Whelton.
Whelton has striven to maintain a supportive team environment.
“Being positive and staying together through adversity. In sports, in general, you are always going to face adversity and not every game is going to be perfect, so being able to stay together and being stronger together is very important,” said Whelton.
Looking back at his basketball career at Andover, Whelton expresses his gratitude to the relationships he has nurtured with his coaches.
Whelton said, “I can rely on my past experiences and past situations. From just being around the coaches for three years, I have learned a lot and you develop deeper relationships.”