By Ronald Hanaki
On Monday, March 23, it was announced that ESU senior and basketball team point guard Matt Tobin made the NABC Atlantic Region first team. Tobin was named to the team along with ESU senior and shooting guard Whis Grant.
On March 13, Tobin earned another accolade when he was named to the Daktronics All-Atlantic Region first team. When asked for a comment after receiving such a prestigious award, Tobin modestly said, “I was pretty surprised that someone averaging less than ten points per game could win this award. It’s more like a team accomplishment. It’s about winning games and having assists.”
Tobin will graduate this May with a business management degree with a concentration in accounting. Of course, he is more famous for being the star point guard on ESU’s basketball team.
When asked to reflect on his college career, Tobin said, “It was a good four years. I had good teammates and coaches. I learned a lot and accomplished a lot.”
The accomplished student-athlete’s career totals include 1,042 points and 546 assists. He is the first player in ESU history to score over 1,000 career points and dish out 500 career assists.
Tobin is from Hopatcong, NJ. He was a tremendous scorer in high school and was recruited by many Patriot League schools, including Lafayette and Bucknell, but he chose to come to ESU mostly because his brother Mike came here.
As for the basketball season that ended earlier this month, Tobin said, “Because of what we did last year, we had a bullseye on our backs. We were getting everyone’s best game, and there was a lot of pressure on us.”
Tobin stated, “The season had its ups and downs. We played well enough to win the PSAC East, and we tried to make a run [to win the PSAC Tournament], but Whis [Grant] got hurt.”
Tobin continued, “In the semifinal, IUP was able to play more their system. In the first half, we got into our press, and we were able to make them miss shots. But in the second half, we couldn’t get into our press, and they made shots. Whis got hurt. He still has a cast, and he will be out another four weeks.”
Of his backcourt teammate Whis Grant, Tobin said, “Whis is the best guard ever in our program. It was tough to end his career like that. It happened on the last play of the second half of the game.”
In addition, Tobin admitted to missing Zechariah Runkle, who graduated last year. Tobin said, “He was just a very good basketball player. We missed his leadership, energy, and physical presence. He was a football player, so he brought that aspect to his game.”
Tobin went on to talk about his head coach, Jeff Wilson. He said, “He is one of the best coaches that I have played for. He knows how to get the best out of his kids … Coach Wilson is hard-working. You might see him in his office working from 6:00 AM to 10:00 PM. He taught me a lot about the game and made me a better person.”
He continued, “The same with Coach [Justin] Potts. Coach Potts elevated my game. He took me from being a shooting guard to understanding how to make everyone around me better.”
Tobin reflected on his high school basketball career as well.
He said, “I scored over 2,000 points in high school, but I became a pass-first point guard at ESU. When you get to this level, a lot of people can score, but Coach Potts taught me where the best positions were to score and how to penetrate and kick out … Coach Potts worked on my shot with me. He is also a good person off the floor and wants the best for his players.”
Summing up his experience at ESU, Tobin said, “It was a great experience for four years. I wouldn’t want to spend it with a different group of teammates and coaches.”
Now that his college basketball career is over, Tobin spends his free time hanging out with his friends, lifting weights, and playing pickup games at the Mattioli Recreation Center.
Tobin plans to stay involved with the basketball program after graduation. After all, Hopatcong, NJ, is only 35 to 40 minutes away from ESU. In fact, Tobin’s brother Mike still helps with practice and comes out to participate in the alumni game. Tobin plans to do the same.
Tobin cites recent ESyoU honoree Dr. John (Jyn-Hann) Chang as one of his favorite professors. Tobin remembers sitting with Whis Grant in Chang’s class during his freshman year. Chang was interested in basketball because he used to be a wrestler.
Tobin said, “Dr. Chang looked out for us. He wanted us to succeed in the classroom and the basketball court, so he talked to us about that, and he stayed on us with our schoolwork. He helped us out in our college careers.”
After graduating from ESU, Tobin plans to put his business management degree to good use by going into business with his uncle. Tobin plans to do some accounting work, as well as help manage the business.
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