Ever since she was a little kid, senior Erin Matsutsuyu has pursued basketball, taking her talents around the country with her club team. As her high school career comes to an end, Matsutsuyu looks to the future, to New York University where she will spend the next chapter of her life as a potential student athlete. She sat down with The Howler to discuss her basketball experiences and the impact of the sport on her life.
Derek Kim: How did you first get into basketball?
Erin Matsutsuyu: My mom has always loved basketball, so when it came to finding a sport for me, she pushed extra hard for it. She tells me now that since little kids like things they know they are getting better at, she worked with me a lot in my driveway so that I would like it more since I was improving. I guess in a way she kind of tricked me into choosing basketball as my sport.
DK: Do you have a role model in basketball or someone you look up to?
EM: My role model would definitely be my cousin Jazmin. She managed to be a star basketball player, as well as an amazing student. I think what I admire the most about her was her ability to succeed in both the classroom and the basketball court and how she maintained a healthy balance of both in her life.
DK: Do you plan on pursuing basketball in the future?
EM: I have always loved NYU, so regardless of the basketball opportunity there, I planned to pursue the school academically. I chose to put my love for a school over the basketball aspect, since my parents always taught me that academics come first, and I will not be pursuing basketball past college. Currently, I am deciding whether or not I will try and walk-on at the team at NYU.
DK: What is your most memorable experience with basketball?
EM: My most memorable experiences with basketball have been made while with my club team. We travel to places like Minnesota and Oregon, so we are forced to spend a ton of time with each other during travel time. My most valuable memories are when it is just us talking on the plane or in our rooms. If I had to single out a specific time, maybe when my club team went to Amateur Athletic Union (AAU) Nationals in Tennessee when I was younger.
DK: What’s the most difficult part of basketball?
EM: The most difficult part of basketball is learning that the outcome of a game cannot affect how hard you work later. If you lose, it doesn’t just give you the open door to stop trying since you are upset about a loss. You have to get back in the gym and be motivated to work even harder, especially because your teammates are counting on you.
DK: Do you have any notable achievements in basketball? What are they?
EM: I have gotten 1st Team All League, 1st Team All City and Team MVP for the past two years. I am currently 14th in the state for points per game on the stats leaderboard and 2nd in Orange County for points per game and points scored.
DK: What obstacles have you faced in your basketball career?
EM: I think one of the hardest obstacles for me to overcome has been the time commitment of basketball taking away from my time with family. Since high school basketball is a winter sport, I only have a few days to see my extended family, which is in San Francisco, so I barely get to spend any time with them. Along with this, I barely saw my dad and brother on the weekends since my dad would always be driving my brother around to activities, and my mom and I would be at my all-day basketball tournaments. For basketball specifically, it has definitely been my height. I have always been forced to make up for my height in other areas of the sport.
DK: In what ways has basketball shaped you as a person?
EM: I honestly think that basketball has been the single thing that has shaped me the most. The work ethic I have learned through basketball has permeated throughout other areas of my life. It has also allowed me to be around some of my best friends, who have also shaped me into who I am today. It has also taught me the importance of balance in life, since managing a crazy basketball schedule along with my other commitments has proved to be quite the challenge.