Bloomfield Hills alum Yante Maten wins SEC Player of the Week

Georgia forward attributes his progression to the skills he gained in high school

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Anish Tamhaney , Staff Writer

Yante Maten, power forward for the University of Georgia basketball team and 2014 Bloomfield Hills High School graduate, was named as the SEC’s Co-Player of the week on January 2nd.

“It’s awesome to see that the SEC chose me and that they were impressed by my playing. I think it really came down to how hard I’ve worked,” says Maten. “There are hundreds of players they could have given that recognition to, but it’s a nice feeling to know that despite that, I stuck out and made myself important. I do put a lot of effort into my game and being acknowledged for it boosts my confidence.”

Duane Graves, head coach of the varsity teams at Lahser and Bloomfield Hills during Maten’s years in high school, explains what he believes has made Maten successful.

“He’s shown that he understands what it means to be a part of a team. The biggest thing that Yante took from [Bloomfield’s basketball team] was being a teammate first. His development has been much more successful because he’s all about his team and not about himself,” said Graves. “There are a lot of players that have to learn to be a part of a different system from high school to college. The biggest transition college players have, is that they go from being a big fish in a little pond in their high school to being a little fish in a big ocean when they get to college. Yante was already aware of that because of our program and how we ran things.”

Maten contemplates how his years on the Bloomfield Hills and Lahser basketball teams affected his character.

“Playing at Bloomfield Hills helped me out a lot because that’s where I really started to bolster my self confidence as a basketball player,” said Maten.  “The system helped me develop into the player I am now. It was a great environment. We were all friends, and I’m still friends with all the guys I played with in high school. It’s like we were a family.”

Armand Cartwright, Maten’s high school teammate, reflects on the former Gatorade player of the year’s progression in basketball.

“He’s put so much effort into his game over the years. I’m not surprised but I still am wowed that he can make it to the top. I know he’s got the skillset and determination. I’ve seen that since high school,” Cartwright says. “I’m elated that he’s fulfilling his dreams. He’s making them come true and that’s a beautiful story for me. It’s just amazing to see him growing up to be the man he is today.”

Graves and Cartwright consider Maten’s future prospects in basketball and possible time frames for his career.

Graves said, “I hope he gets what he has been working so hard to achieve, and that’s making it to the NBA. Right now he’s only a junior, so he’s still got another year. There’s a chance he might leave early, [but] I would never count on him leaving any earlier than when he’s ready to go. When he’s ready, he’ll make the right steps for himself and his family.”

“I think he’s for sure going to the NBA. No doubt, in my opinion,” said Cartwright.  According to ncaa.org, 1.1% of men’s college basketball players play in the NBA.

“I’d like to go to the next level of course, but that’s a dream that every basketball players aspires to [reach]. It’s not just me, it’s thousands and thousands of other players that want to do the same thing,” said Maten. “What separates the good from the great is working hard.”