Athlete of the week: Matt Elliott

An exclusive interview with Matt Elliott, whose national ranking in blocked shots earned him the spot of athlete of the week.


photo provided by COD Athletics

Lily Goodfellow, Sports Writer

Athlete of the Week: Matt Elliott

Sport: Basketball

Position: Forward

Year: Sophomore

Hometown: Countryside

High School: Lyons Township


Lily Goodfellow: What is the best part about playing basketball for COD?

Matt Elliott: I’d say the best part of playing for COD is the environment here. The facility, coaching staff. Everybody is cheerful and nice and it’s exciting to play.


LG: How is the season going so far?

ME: I would say in the beginning and throughout, there were struggles up and down as we were trying to figure it out. But towards the end right now, we’re rising up together. We’re starting to do really well with each other.


LG: What commitment does basketball take?

ME: It’s kind of like a full time job. A lot of hours in and out of the gym, a lot of recovery. Overall it’s a big commitment for anyone who wants to try.


LG: What motivates you on and off the court?

ME: I would say my family and friends keep me going every day. They support me and come to all the games they can.


LG: Who is your biggest role model in sports?

ME: Believe it or not, my biggest role model is David Beckham. I used to play soccer so I looked up to him. 


LG: When did you give up soccer?

ME: I gave up soccer my junior year. I call it peer pressure, but it wasn’t really peer pressure. It was because none of my friends would care or want to go to the games. Everybody was playing basketball, basketball, basketball. I used to play [basketball] when I was younger until someone told me to try soccer and I got really good at it. I thought I was going to make a really good career of it and I probably could have, my family says it all the time. But I went to play basketball with a whole bunch of friends and it kind of went from there. I’m actually really grateful. I never played high school basketball. So it’s out there for anybody as long as you work hard enough. 


LG: That’s great. Your height helps!

ME: The height came late! I was really short. I was probably five feet going into freshman year and then junior and senior year it was like “Oh, 5-foot-8… oh, six feet.”Then senior year everybody was telling me to try out for basketball, but I wasn’t ready and I just played for fun. But I got lucky during Covid and grew more. 


LG: Do you miss soccer at all?

ME: Oh, yeah. I want to try to find a soccer league in the off season. I just want to see if I’ve still got it. 


LG: What is one of the best decisions you’ve ever made and why?

ME: I would say playing for Coach Kuhn last year and then coming to commit over here to play for COD. That’s probably the best decision I’ve made so far.


LG: So you played at Joliet Community College last year?

ME: Yes, Coach Kuhn asked me to come with him. And it’s closer to home, so it was amazing.


LG: What is your favorite class right now?

ME: My Criminal Justice class right now.


LG: Where do you see yourself in five years?

ME: Either starting a business or playing professional basketball somewhere. Not yet sure, but along those lines.


LG: What’s your favorite food?

ME: I like a lot of food. I don’t really have a favorite. I’d have to pick anything with chicken in it. A chicken sandwich, I’d say.


LG: If you were stuck on a deserted island, what three objects would you want to have?

ME: I’m going to get a pocket knife, with all the little accessories on it, and I don’t know. That’s a hard one.

LG: I think I’d want books, my phone and movies.

ME: Oh, I was thinking about survival! Then I’ll say [a] pocket knife, [my] phone and [a] TV. Why not? We’ll figure out the electricity later. 


LG: What one word best describes you?

ME: Hard-worker.


LG: Thank you so much, Matt!

ME: Thank you! I appreciate it [very] much.