Matt Cross: I want to make immediate impact as a freshman
Wolfeboro (NH) Brewster Academy 4-star and Miami Hurricanes signee Matt Cross is working hard in preparation for his UM arrival … whenever that might be as the coronavirus outbreak wears on.
Cross says he’s spending three to four hours a day lifting weights and training.
“My trainer, his gym closed down (during the outbreak),” said Cross, who is home with his family in Beverly, Mass. “So he came by with his truck and put a bunch of benches, bar bells in my basement and I use my street to do my conditioning workouts … he’ll be at a distance telling me what to do.”
Cross is also keeping updated with Cane coaches - he says he’s talking with Miami coaches Jim Larranaga and Chris Caputo “every day.”
“Coach L, he just keeps telling me to stay in shape, gives me personal advice because he sees me playing a bunch (as a freshman),” Cross said.
Cross says coaches anticipate him playing the 3 and 4 - “I played the 3 the past two years, but just depending on what coaches think, the matchups, kind of team we have it’ll be if we want to go small or big,” Cross said.
For Cane fans that haven’t seen him play, Cross shares what he sees as his strengths ... and what he’s working to improve.
“My strengths are physically and shooting the ball,” he said. ‘My range is definitely a big part of what I can do, transition threes to break open the game. And being able to find the mismatch whether I’m the 3, posting up or shooting over the top; or the 4 and being able to take him off the dribble.
“The biggest things I need to improve are being able to kind of maneuver with the ball, ball handling, and being more vocal as a player, I’m quiet on the court.”
As for the transition to ACC play, Cross said, “I think I’ll be pretty prepared, the biggest difference is learning some different techniques, defensive stuff, when to switch and when not to. But even though they’re older guys I’ll play against, the physicality and speed of the game I think I’ll be used to.”
Cross also shared some insight into his recruitment that ended with a November signing.
He chose the Canes out of a final six of UM, Florida, Indiana, Texas A&M, South Carolina and Butler.
Many expected him to pick South Carolina in the end.
“A lot of people thought South Carolina just because the head coach Frank Martin is close with my AAU coach,” Cross said. “Also that was the only unofficial visit that I took, and was the first one I went down to - I also went there officially. I was close with them, so people thought that.”
But it was Miami that won out.
“I don’t know if a lot of people knew, but my AAU coach is also close with coach L because he had Bruce Brown,” Cross said. “And before I made the decision I called Bruce, and my mom called Bruce’s mom. I know all the basketball stuff but I wanted to know how he felt abut the coach and he said how much he thought it was a family environment, that coach L is his favorite and he still talks to him every day.”
So was that the “aha” moment that ended Cross’s recruitment?
“Well I’d say it was definitely a big part of the ending factor because my AAU coach coached both of us,” Cross said. “So when my coach said Bruce loved it there, then Bruce said it, that summed it all up.”
Now Cross is focused on the future.
And he’ll do everything he can to help the Canes earn an NCAA Tournament berth.
“For myself the goal is to just come in and make an immediate impact as a freshman, come and see if I can earn a starting spot, if not impact right away,” Cross said. “Then just helping the shooting aspect of what they need that coach L said they struggled with, that coach L said they lost with DJ (Vasiljevic) graduating. Then as a team from what coaches are saying just try to win the ACC Tournament and make it to the NCAA Tournament.”