Matt Costello may be the best high school player in Michigan right now.
For a player who has already been recruited by and committed to Michigan Stateâ€™s basketball program, that may not be the most unexpected news one may hear. After all, the kid stands tall at 6-foot-9 and is already being looked at by Spartan fans as the next solid low-post player in Tom Izzosâ€™ tenure.
The aspect that stands out about Costello at this point is not actually his game on the court; itâ€™s his maturity level and room for improvement. He hasnâ€™t even started his senior season yet.
He committed to Michigan State in 2010 and he isnâ€™t even graduating until 2012, so to say that he caught many college coachesâ€™ eyes as a high school stud is an understatement. He has made great strides toward being the best player in Michigan and one of the best big men in the entire country across the high school level. To add trophies to his skill level, he was named Michiganâ€™s 2011 Gatorade Player of the Year.
Costello sees his maturity as an aspect of life which all youngsters must eventually go through as they embark on their next life mission.
â€œItâ€™s a part of growing up â€¦ becoming more mature physically and mentally, and taking challenges that life gives you,â€ Costello said in an interview with Spartan Nation Radio.
Matt has a good head on his shoulders because of the man he looks up to: his father, Mike. It is a bond in which the two continuously benefit from one another and have learned to grow as people and as a father-son tandem.
â€œ(My dad) means everything to me,â€ Matt said. â€œHeâ€™s my coach, my dad, my discipliner, my teacher â€¦ heâ€™s one of those people, if I didnâ€™t have him, there would be no way in this world I would be where Iâ€™m at right now. Thereâ€™s other people who have helped me out, but if he wasnâ€™t there to push me in the right direction, I would not be in the situation I am right now.
â€œI have to thank him for everything heâ€™s done for me.â€
Costello was invited to the NBA Playersâ€™ Association camp, called the â€œTop 100,â€ as one of the most outstanding sophomores and juniors in the country.
The camp, as Costello explained, is an opportunity to learn how to improve, have fun, and get ready to tackle the next level of competitive basketball when the time arrives â€“ and many of the players invited are anticipated to have solid basketball futures at the collegiate level and beyond. The kids are still young and use one another as guides to handle the pressure and use it to their advantage.
Maybe an even better learning experience for Costello was to be part of the camp with future Spartans teammates Denzel Valentine and Kenny Kaminski. Costello has played with Kaminski before on other teams and is still learning more about Valentine, but the camp was a good opportunity for the three players to bond and get to know each other before they reach East Lansing.
â€œWe ate pretty much every meal together, and our parents sat together through most of the meals,â€ Costello said. â€œIt was really good to bond as a group, a group of guys who get to talk about life and not just basketball.â€
Pertaining to his game, Costello admits work needs to be done on the skill portion of his game. His energy level and determination have never been questioned, but as a young post player, he knows he has to develop a wider skill set when going up against other behemoths in the post â€“ especially when he steps on the floor in the Big Ten.
And while his baby hook will come over time with enough practice time put in the gym, he has also room for physical improvement. He stands at 6-foot-9 and weighs 230 pounds, so it is expected that Izzo will surely prod Costello to bulk up and develop strength on the block to get more rebounds and easy buckets.
Itâ€™s been a seemingly long journey, although the last year of high school flies by for most and Costello said he is ready to step on Michigan Stateâ€™s beautiful campus and get to work. For an outstanding high school athlete with a great father and a good head on his shoulders, this shouldnâ€™t surprise anyone.