Matt Cross has always carried himself with a confident swagger that can be mistaken for an arrogant strut, depending on your point of view.
Everyone in the gym recognizes it during his first few nonchalant steps back on defense after he buries a dagger from beyond the arch. His teammates feed off it and depend on it down the stretch of close games when everyone else’s blood pressure begins to rise. His opponents feel it when they’re battling with him on the boards and ultimately despise it after he plants a few elbows in their rib cage then inevitably comes away with the ball.
As for Cross, it’s simply business as usual. He’s much more likely to let his emotions show when he’s coming to the aid of a teammate during a dust up than he is after one of his own made shots.
There’s nothing to celebrate because these victories, big or small, are always expected. Been there, done that, on to the next one.
At the end of the day, it’s only natural that Cross felt most comfortable at a school that has experienced historic stretches of unapologetic success thanks to athletes who carried themselves with a similarly fearless mentality: The University of Miami.
While two separate football dynasties were built at “The U” thanks to athletes like Cross, Jim Larranaga’s basketball program has also been at it’s best when hard-nosed, versatile and fearless athletes filled the roster. Since Larranaga arrived in 2011, his most successful teams featured guys like Shane Larkin, Sheldon Mac and local-product Bruce Brown. Now, he’ll have Cross as one of his building blocks.
“I was fortunate to have some great programs and great coaches recruiting me,” said Cross, who chose Miami over Texas A&M, Indiana, South Carolina, Florida and Butler. “But the opportunity to play for Coach Larranaga in the ACC was too good to pass up. I saw myself fitting into his system and making an impact in his program from the beginning. After taking all of my visits, I still felt that way and knew Miami was going to be my choice.”
Cross, who ran with The BABC, was the only player to average 22+ Points, 9+ Rebounds, 2.5+ Assists and 1.5+ Steals during the 2019 EYBL season. His versatility and ever-expanding skillset will allow him to step in and make an immediate impact in the nation’s best basketball conference. While Brewster will be his fourth school in as many years, Cross always remained loyal to Leo Papile’s AAU program.
“We didn’t win as much as I would’ve liked this season but it definitely taught me how to look at things from a different perspective,” said Cross. “Win or lose though, I’ll remain loyal to Leo Papile forever. The things he’s taught me along the way and the doors he’s opened for me are more valuable than anything.”
With his college decision now behind him, Cross heads to Brewster with a National Prep Championship as the goal for ‘19-‘20. He’ll learn how to play a role within Jason Smith’s program that could be similar to the one he’ll play at Miami, both of which still have to be defined.
Regardless of what his future role asks, Matt Cross will attack it relentlessly, play it with confidence and experience a ton of success. That won’t be up for debate.
My guy Matt Cross (@matthewcross35) might be an old soul but he flexed those young legs on four consecutive plays this morning during @thebabc’s matchup with The Family.— The Hustle (@TheHoopHustle) May 12, 2019
6’7” pitbull avg’d 22.5 Pts/9 Reb/1.5 Ast/1.5 Stl with three double-doubles during the Indy Session... pic.twitter.com/8ESpFeQjSl
GERONIMO COMMITS TO INDIANA
Jordan Geronimo’s eye-opening performances during the grassroots season led to offers from programs like UConn, Texas A&M, Georgia and a dozen other high-major programs alike. But after taking an official visit to Archie Miller’s program at the end of August, he knew where he wanted to play his college ball.
On Monday night, Geronimo committed to the University of Indiana and announced it to the masses via a simple twitter post from his prep coach at St Paul’s:
Geronimo’s dramatic rise within the 2020 National Rankings isn’t likely to end any time soon, as more attention will be focused on him than ever before. It will definitely force The Hustle to make numerous trips to see him throughout the season. Based off a handful of looks at the naturally skilled and effortlessly explosive 6’6” wing so far, it’s safe to say that Indiana may have just landed a future pro.