Quick chat with Matt Carlino

JG: What led to the decision to switch from Indiana to UCLA?
Matt Carlino: “What led to my decision was going down there this past weekend – I already liked UCLA from when I was recruited before Indiana – and I checked out the campus, hung out with some of the guys, and just really love it there. I love the coaches – Coach Howland is a great coach – and I just thought it was a good situation. Here are a lot of good players coming in, a lot of good young players there. It was a good fit for me as a point guard, and how many guys Coach Howland has done a great job.”

JG: Word is you’re graduating early and enrolling in June?”
MC: “I’ll be leaving early, reclassifying 2010. I’m really looking forward to being on a good young team next year. Coach Howland was the one who initially brought it up to graduate early, and once he said that, I thought it was a really interesting idea. I felt like I could help. So did he. I thought it was a great opportunity, and I wasn’t going to pass up that opportunity.”

JG: How did your parents (Carlino’s father is a basketball coach) react to your desire to leave early?
MC: “It’s great for my family – I’ll be a lot closer to them on the West coast again. I’m basically, I had mono in second grade and held to get held back for health issues. I should be in that class anyways. It’s not a huge jump. I’ve been playing up my whole life anyways. I just felt like I was ready.”

JG: I’m sure you saw UCLA’s play last season; did the opportunity to help rebuild such a program factor in your decision?
“I feel like that is part of it. There’s a great group of guys there. Yeah, it was an off year, but they were young and still are. We have a great opportunity next season.”

JG: How important will playing time be to you next season?
“Whatever coach Howland feels is going to help him win, he’ll do. I’m concerned on doing whatever coach asks me when I get there. Everything will work out how it works out. We have a lot of good players coming in and a lot currently there. He has the tools and he knows what to do with them.”

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  • Anonymous

    6’1 version of Nikola “No-D” ragovic.

  • Adam

    I really like this kid already!!! Welcome to UCLA

  • Mike H class of 90

    Interesting that he calls himself a PG…Jon, is that what he was recruited as?

  • MichaelRyerson

    ‘…as a point guard’?

  • UCLArt

    Sounds like a good kid.

    I look forward to having him on the team.

  • Anonymous

    He says he’s ready to move up: athletically. What about academically? Skipping a year of high school for all but the best braniacs is a risk. Unless, of course, this guy thinks he’s one and done.

  • http://www.hollywoodiconmagazine.com defensewinsitall

    Another great get for Howland as he should be a nice complimentary piece this year. We need a zone buster and hopefully, this is it! Welcome, Matt- way to give up your senior year for the good of UCLA!

  • http://www.destinasian.com tabasco

    Bummer for his HS coach JR Holmes, though, who was probably making big plans for the team in the 2010 season with an elite guard leading the way. BTW his HS team went undefeated and won state in 2009, but lost in the round of 8 in 2010… here’s what Holmes thinks of the decision:

    *South coach J.R. Holmes thought Carlino would have been better off waiting another year.

    “I don’t agree with the decision to leave high school a year early,” Holmes said. “I think he would have benefited from another year. But that’s a decision for the parents and the player. Hopefully it works out for him.”

    The 6-foot-3 Carlino averaged 13.3 points, 5.9 rebounds and 4.3 assists, helping South to an unbeaten record before a loss in the regional finals against Jeffersonville.*

  • Blue Bruin

    The difference with Dragovic is that this kid won’t pretend to play power forward or center. Dragovic’s size actually hurt UCLA because he is a natural perimeter player.

    But this kid Carlino needs to put on some size. He’s listed at about 6’2, 165 pounds. That makes Honeycutt seem like a Sequoia Tree in comparison!

  • Superbruin

    I’ve seen him listed at 6’3 and 195. Recent pics seem to confirm he’s about that weight now.

  • Fan4Life

    If UCLA is to win an NC, Howland will need to recruit solid 4 yr types with high BB IQs with a splash of 1 or 2 and done players. I really don’t see any other formula.

    It might be great to get the best 1 and done player every year, but I have yet to see Calipari win an NC with Rose, Evans or Wall. While I just saw Coach K win one with a bunch of pasty face dudes with little or no NBA prospects.

  • KLove’s Slow Too

    Watch these 2 videos and you will see that he will fit right into Howland’s style of half court offense style of play. Good ballhandler and passer, good outside shot and good leadership qualities.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cQvAEVrYnAA
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TFj-8Je-mh4

    We need more guys like this to balance out the superstar mentality players.

  • skeptical

    Anybody else concerned about Carlino’s habit of jumping from place to place? Starts high school in Arizona, leaves to go to Indiana and commits to IU, then a year later, decommits and suddenly decides to graduate a year early and come to UCLA. Not a good sign, IMO. Seems like the grass is always greener somewhere else with Carlino, and if things don’t go his way early (i.e. significant playing time), I wouldn’t count on him sticking it out for 4 years.

  • Anonymous

    He changed his mind once.
    Would he even be old enough to be a one and done guy since he is enrolling early?

  • Anonymous

    He changed his mind once.
    Will he be eligible age-wise to be a one and done since he is enrolling early?

  • David Letterman

    Having enough credits to graduate from HS as a junior is no big deal in Indiana…I graduated after 7th grade!

    Glad to see UCLA relaxes it academic standards once in a while and can compete with Ball State!

  • Whatever

    Matt Carlino was not on South’s state championship team. He moved to South the summer after they won state. He turned 18 in May this year, so it’s not like he’s some spring chicken. I think Indiana basketball was a little tougher than he expected and nobody here kissed his as* so he took his silver spoon and went back to the west coast. I hope his new coach puts him up on a pedestal like his family thinks he deserves or he’ll be leaving UCLA too. Good Luck.

  • anonymously

    he’ll be a one and done if coaches start him, he’s good enough…you don’t just go into Indiana(the basketball state of America), espicially Bloomington( a town that worships basketball) and outplay some of the top players in the country and help a team to win a 49 game win streak..he’ll be alright i think it was smart he left Bloomington South i think any player would leave that early.