Matthew Goodwin is turning heads at the Manchester Giants after he recorded a career-high in minutes played while scoring his first points in the British Basketball League (BBL) against Cheshire Phoenix last Saturday.
In April 2023, the talented guard earned the NBL Junior Final Fours’ (U18) MVP when he helped Manchester Magic Academy claim the title despite being only 17 years old.
The achievements didn’t go unnoticed by the Giants who added him to the roster in October that same year.
“I was honoured when I found out Giants were going to offer me a roster spot. To be part of a professional organisation at such a young age is beneficial both on the court and off the court,” said Matthew.
When he was a 17-year-old guard he had to quickly adapt from the junior game to playing in the elite category.
The Manchester-born baller added: “The jump from junior to professional is a big jump, the differences aren’t necessarily skill-based but more about consistency. How consistent are you at making shots and the right reads over and over again?”
The other challenge for the Giant rookie is the more aggressive contact.
“I’d also say the physicality is much greater. People are actively looking to create contact at both ends of the floor, so getting used to that was tough but definitely manageable.”
Goodwin says the support of player-coach Callum Jones, Giants all-time top scorer, has been invaluable in helping him adapt to the senior game.
“Callum encourages me to be more physical off the ball, whether that’s bumping cutters or tagging the roller or taking a charge.”
Alongside Jones, Matthew’s head coach Brian Semonian and assistant Paul Cantwell have helped him develop different attributes of his game.
“Brian [Semonian] emphasises my aggression on offense and getting to the ring and finishing and kicking the ball. Paul [Cantwell] spoke to me about being “Matthew Goodwin” and not letting a different level change the player I am, while pushing me to be even better than I was yesterday.”
Matthew says he has great people around him developing him as a player, but they’re also careful not to overload the youngster too much.
“Each coach gives me a different aspect of my game to work on when I step on the floor which helps me focus on no more than three things, which is the perfect amount.”
The player, who has represented team GB at the U18 European Championship last Summer opened up about how the Giants team accepted him.
“The team have been nothing but perfect for me. For the first month they gave me a real tough time on the floor and punished me which ultimately made me learn faster.”
Matt feels he’s now earned the respect of his teammates: “Once I started to find my feet, they encouraged me and guided me with my game. They give me constructive criticism almost daily. They’ve never been negative towards me when I make mistakes and I’m grateful I have teammates like them!”
Goodwin hopes they can ultimately achieve their target this season, which is clear.
“Our goal is to clinch a play-off spot within the top eight which is definitely doable. And from there it’s obviously to go all the way. But first we’ve got to focus on the next game ahead of us.”
Manchester Giants currently sit in ninth spot just one win away from the play-off places as they prepare to host Seriös Group Newcastle Eagles this Sunday at 3pm.