ROCHESTER, Minn. – In local basketball circles, it became known as “the decision.” Coaches, players, and fans were all wondering where John Marshall star Matthew Hurt would decide to play Division I basketball.
Shortly after 3:00 on Friday afternoon, a large crowd gathered at John Marshall High School and heard Matthew Hurt make the announcement. He is heading to Durham, North Carolina, where he will play for the Duke Blue Devils. Against the JM Rockets backdrop, his coaches and teammates remained thankful that he chose to play here.
The blue-chip basketball stars of the world often choose to transfer out of their neighborhood high school and go to some basketball prep school. Not Matthew Hurt.
The towering Tour de Force remained at John Marshall throughout his high school career becoming nothing short of a phenom, a magnificent man among boys. JM coach Jim Daly is sure glad the lanky forward stuck around.
"I'm as proud of some of things off the court as much as the accolades on the court,” said Daly.
Our cameras caught Hall of Fame coaches Duke’s Mike Krzyzewski and Kentucky’s John Calipari at Hurt’s games. Matthew’s mama says the Duke choice wasn’t a walk.
"It was tough. It was. I mean we went back and forth a lot and we kind of just at the very end we told Matthew go with your heart," said Jenny Hurt.
Ultimately, it was a basketball decision. The chance to play with mercurial point guard Tre Jones tipped the scales in Duke’s favor.
"At the end of the day, the differentiating factor was the ability to play with Tre Jones and when he made his decision that he was going to come back, he made it kind of known to people a couple of weeks ago, I think that's what changed it for Matthew," said Richard Hurt.
KIMT’s George Mallet asked the 6’ 9” forward how Coach K reacted when Matthew called him with the good news.
“He was happy. He was really excited. We were talking about working on my body when I come in for summer school but you know he was excited, so I thought it was pretty cool," said Matthew.
While Matthew is now officially big time, he remained gracious enough to pose for a snapshot with George – a local reporter turned fanboy.