Matt Minutillo’s underrated season is one of the keys behind Golden Hawks’ success

Photo by Eva Ou

In a season that has seen Laurier’s men’s basketball team reach a U-Sports Top 10 ranking for the first time since 2012, guard Matt Minutillo has largely been the team’s unsung standout player to this point.

Minutillo, who was a key role player for Laurier over the past two seasons, has developed into one of the most lethal perimeter scorers in the entire OUA.

As of Jan. 13, Minutillo sits first in the OUA in three-point percentage, converting on shots from behind the arc at a 46.7 per cent clip.

Averaging 10.9 points, 2.9 assists and 3.3 rebounds per game through 14 regular season games, Minutillo has done an effective job of positively impacting Laurier’s play on both ends of the floor.

“I think I’ve definitely been playing well so far this season,” Minutillo mentioned when asked to evaluate his individual results.

“I owe a lot of that to my teammates —being there for me, working hard and putting me in the right spots.”

“If we get that first round bye, all we have to do is win two games and we’re at Nationals, so that’s definitely a team goal for us. I just want to do anything I can to help the team get to Nationals and experience that feeling first hand.”

One of the reasons that Minutillo has been so important to Laurier this season is due to his offensive consistency, as he has only posted under 10 points in a game twice over his last eight appearances.

“A lot of things in this league just come with experience,” Minutillo stated.

“Working on your craft in the summer, putting in the time with your teammates figuring out chemistry, [it all] definitely helps with putting yourself in the right positions to be successful.”

Now in his third season, Minutillo takes on a unique role as a mentor for a relatively young Golden Hawks roster.

“It’s an interesting growth procedure you go through as a varsity athlete. Coming into your first year and learning from the older guys, just trying to absorb everything you can, and even second year the same thing.”

“[By] third year you definitely just gain a lot of experience; you understand what it takes to be successful in this league. It’s important to try to share that with your teammates, especially the young guys.”

As the Golden Hawks sit tied for second in the OUA West division with 10 games left to play, Minutillo has a clear vision for what he hopes the team can accomplish.

“[The] main goal for the rest of the season is to get a first round bye in the playoffs, so finish top two in the conference. Ideally for our team, we think we are able to get to Nationals this year.”

“If we get that first round bye, all we have to do is win two games and we’re at Nationals, so that’s definitely a team goal for us. I just want to do anything I can to help the team get to Nationals and experience that feeling first hand.”

If Minutillo continues on his upward trajectory, he may just be the extra spark that this Laurier team needs this season to push them into the conversation with the elite basketball programs in Canada and improve their already impressive top-10 nationally ranked basketball team.

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