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.”