basketball Edit

Matthew Cleveland set to face his former team FSU in rivalry game

Playing for your rival school is an act known to be forbidden in some circles. But in today's age of the transfer portal, it is rather commonplace in today's college athletics landscape.

Florida State transfer Matthew Cleveland will get on opportunity to face his former team Wednesday night at the Watsco Center. The same arena where he sunk a game-winning shot against some of his current teammates last season.


"It was cool," Cleveland said of the experience of hitting the walk-off winner from near half-court. "I really like don't like talking about now since I'm here."

Cleveland transitioned to South Florida based on Miami's success with transfers. Most recently, Jordan Miller and teammate Norchad Omier have springboarded their careers by transferring to "The U."

Miller is experiencing success as a G-League player in his first year as a pro this season, scoring 21.7 points and 6.6 rebounds per game. Omier was a preseason All-ACC selection. After 16 games, Cleveland is the second-leading scorer on the team, averaging 16.4 points and 5.6 rebounds per game.

"The success they had with transfers," Cleveland said on why he decided to transfer to Miami. "My whole thing when I entered the transfer portal was just to go somewhere where I can win and flourish, and I felt like that was here."

The transition was not easy for Cleveland, and he admits he still has a love for the garnett and gold.

"It was very difficult because I love Florida State. I still kind of do love Florida State because I was there for two years, so, but I had to do what was best for me; it was a business decision. But I feel like the biggest thing that they sold to me was just the success they had with transfers and how, like, year to year with the transfers they had like year one, year two transfers. From the year from whatever school they were at to the year here and how much of a jump they've made, was the biggest thing for me."

One of the benefits of transferring is learning from a different teacher to get a different perspective. Cleveland left the teachings of former Miami head coach and current Seminole head coach Leonard Hamilton to head coach Jim Larranaga. Both are considered legendary college basketball coaches.

"I think it's really cool," Cleveland said about learning from the two coaches. "I think about like everyday. How I went from one Hall of Fame coach to another Hall of Fame coach. And how they're completely different in the way that they do coach. So I just feel like both of the experiences that I'm getting from those guys is going to help me."

Cleveland mentioned the biggest difference between the two coaches is their defensive coaching philosophy.

"I would say on defense. At Florida State, we switched one through five. So you're guarding, everybody that's on the court pretty much. It's not switching one through five. So I still have my moments where I'm like, oh, where I mess up, but that's been the biggest thing."

Cleveland does feel his new team is the most talented squad he has been a part of.

"I think it's definitely the most talented team I've been a part of. I just feel like we still have a certain way to go since we're still learning each other. But by far, this is the most talented team."

Miami and Florida State will tip Wednesday night at 7 PM Eastern.

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