By Jordan Chasescott
What does it take to be a basketball player? Do you need to be 6’ 5” or can you compete with pure talent and commitment to the game? The advantage of height in basketball is extreme, but skill and hard work will overcome height anyday. Bryce Mateer is a 5’ 7” junior who dominates the basketball court with his speed, athleticism, and pure talent. Mateer follows a line of shorter athletes who have been able to stand tall in the game for Arcata High School. Last year Arcata High had Luke Graves, who was able to play at a commanding level even with his height disadvantage. Mateer looks to carry on the tradition throughout this year.
To play the game at a varsity level you have to be able to compete against tougher competition. Mateer has been training himself for the game his whole life as he states, “I’ve been playing as long as I can remember.” He has a few interesting tactics he uses to improve his basketball skills; these include training hard everyday with the help of a couple supplements (legal of course), as well as eating Snickers to prepare for games. These tactics get Mateer ready for competitions with larger athletes. Mateer states that he is not intimidated by anyone in the Big 5 league.
To be a dominant player at the varsity level at the height of 5’ 7”, you must have a few secret training tactics. Mateer chose not to reveal his special methods to make sure other teams can’t gain the same advantages as him. But watching Mateer play, you can tell he has an edge on the competition, and it’s not due to his height, but to his skill and knowledge of the game accompanied by his hard work and dedication. The tips and coaching of a retired pro who also had a disadvantage in the height category have not hurt his budding talent either.
A perk of height is the ability to dunk a basketball; this is something that shorter athletes are unable to do. Mateer is a shorter player who hopes to dunk at some point in his basketball career. So keep your eyes open for Mateer, as he could be a participant in the AIBT dunk competition this year.
His goals for the season are to win league, win AIBT, and win the Nicali Tournament. He will help the team by bringing his height as well as his speed. Mateer expects to keep growing, who knows, maybe he’ll be 6’ 0” by the end of the season.
Basketball players are stereotyped by their height. People see tall kids and instantly assume they play basketball. This is because many tall kids are in fact great basketball players. But the shorter players are very underrated. If you see two players one 6’ 4” and one 5’ 7”, most people would likely think the taller player is better. Basketball is more about skill than it is about height. Height is a great advantage that can lead to skill but the heart of a little man playing the big man’s game is underrated. So look out for Bryce Mateer this season while he showcases his talent for the Arcata High Varsity basketball team.