Stone looks to extend momentum on collegiate level
After enjoying a massive amount of success on the basketball court at the high school level, Matt Stone is looking to keep that momentum going at the collegiate level.
Stone will be a participant in Saturday's Faith 7 Bowl, set for a 5:30 p.m. tipoff at Oklahoma Baptist University's Noble Complex.
The Faith 7 Bowl pits some of the best high school basketball players from Oklahoma against their counterparts from Texas. A girls' game under the same format will follow at 7:30 p.m.
The 6-foot, 4-inch Stone capped off a magnificent career as the Kingfisher Yellowjackets registered a 107-4 record during a four-year span, the best winning percentage (96%) over a four-year period in state history. That included two state championships (2019 and 2021) and a state runner-up finish in 2018. Of course, no state tournament was played in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Stone, who will take his talents to the University of North Texas next season, averaged 14.0 points, 7.0 rebounds and 3.0 assists in his senior season at Kingfisher. He finished his career with 1,538 points.
He chose the Mean Green due to their frequency of contacting him and wanting to be a part of rising basketball program.
“It was the best fit for me. The coaching staff has extreme confidence in me. They were always checking on me (in the recruiting process),” said Stone from the UNT campus on Thursday. “I wanted to be a part of the history they are building here with Coach Mac (Grant McCasland). They beat Purdue in the first round of the NCAA Tournament (in March).”
Stone credits his past success to his Kingfisher coaches - Jared Reese, Danny Green and Chris Combs - and those he played beside.
“The whole four years have been outstanding, playing for this coaching staff,” Stone said. “Coach Reese is excellent. He knows all about Xs and Os. Coach Green was all about motivation and lifting you up spiritually and Coach Combs was all about paying attention to details.”
Playing alongside one of the state's premier players – Bijan Cortes – has certainly played a role in Stone's development as well. Cortes, who was named 2020-21 Maxpreps Oklahoma High School Player of the Year, will be playing at the University of Oklahoma next season.
“We've played together since the third grade,” said Stone. “We've always had a connection. Our relationship is pretty tight. The last four years with him have been outstanding. I'm very glad to have played with him. He defends, can get to the rim and is very unselfish. He always brings a lot of energy.”
As for Stone and Cortes going different college paths, Stone hopes they can meet down the road.
“God has a plan. I'm sure I'll see him down the road. Maybe we can meet up in an Elite Eight or Final Four,” Stone said.
Stone says he also drew a lot of encouragement and confidence from playing on the same team with current Oklahoma Baptist University guard Trey Green.
“The thing about Trey is his ability and work ethic. I learned a lot from him. He has always uplifted me and encouraged me. I gained a lot of confidence playing with him. He is the son of Coach Green. Because he (Trey) gave me a lot of confidence and encouragement, I could encourage the next group,” said Stone.
Green believes there are plenty of things he can improve on in his game and because of the confidence that was instilled in him, he can press on.
“I can probably become more of a 3-level scorer, like getting to the rim and having more confidence shooting mid-range and floaters,” Stone said. “I think I need work of coming off ball screens, having what the defense gives me and improving my defense.”
Notes: This is the 55th boys edition and the fourth girls edition of the Faith 7 Bowl...All proceeds go to the Faith 7 Activity Center which provides activities and training for challenged adults in the Shawnee area.