Matteke Hutzler – Eighth Blog from Portugal – Update!

Just a mini update on the life and times of ME!

A few things…

1. We are 0-4 in 2012.

2. In those 4 games I am averaging 11 points, 6 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game.

3. My free throw percentage competes with Shaq’s. But I’m working really hard to improve it!

4. Our twice-weekly shooting practice is paying off for me. Compared to when I started four months ago, my percentages are up across the board.

Paint: 69.1% (That’s an increase of +19.7% since September 2011)

Middle Distance: 61.7% (+7.5%)

3-point: 40.7 (+2.5%)

Free Throw: 81.9% (+9.6%)

5. My family is in the Dominican Republic celebrating the marriage of my brother. I am SO jealous because I want a tan too : ( But sending love to Kevin and his new bride Rachelle <3

6. Our next game is this Sunday against Vagos in another Portuguese Cup game. These games mean nothing in terms of statistics and standings. You qualify to participate in the tournament based on current league standings.

7. It has been 13-16 degrees and sunny here everyday except for a couple since I’ve oame back to Portugal after Christmas at home.  I hope I didn’t just jinx that though :/ (See my picture to the right)

8.  I need you guys to send all of your positive thoughts across the Atlantic so we can get a win this weekend!

Miss you Canada!

xo Matteke Mary

Andrew Wedemire – from UWO to the UK – Part 4

What’s up!?

So here we are… off into the second half of the season.   After having an ‘OK’ start to the season, we are currently sitting in 4th place in the BBL. Our team has come a very long way and has overcome a ton of obstacles in our path. We are still playing without EJ Harrison and Sterling Davis, our two most veteran players, while others continue to play with nagging injuries.  But our team has no quit – guys have stepped up their play and helped our team stay amongst the top half of the league.  We are looking to get Sterling back in the next few days heading into a hard end of the month.

It’s going to be great playing this weekend after having no games last week, which made room for A LOT of practice over the past twelve days. Personally, I have had a great last month. My numbers are up, and I am one of the top free-throw shooters in the country at 89%. But now is the time for our team to really focus and try and string a few wins together to help us climb back into the hunt for the league championship.

My experience in the UK as a whole has been very good. I have met tremendous people, who I otherwise would never have had a chance to meet.  The culture has definitely grown on me, I have had the chance to indulge in it and that has been the biggest upside. The Scottish accent has grown on me and I have actually started catching myself using some of the slang they use over here in Scotland.

 

I’ll get back to everyone soon with an update. Thanks for keeping up with me!

Andy

***Note from Slan Sports Management***

Below is excerpt about Andy from a recent Glasgow Rocks fans’ blog:

“You know what you’re going to get from Sterling (save for an uncharacteristic game against the Kings), but in his absence Andy W has really stepped up.  He took a bit longer to find his feet in the league than I expected, but he’s really emerged and shown what a good player he is (and what a great player he can be). He’s tougher than he looks, and did a particularly great lock-down job on Andy Thomson when we played the Eagles and has had progressively better rebounding and scoring numbers throughout the season.

Andy’s a player who might not produce many highlights, but makes the valuable contributions that count – the intangibles, if you will.  (Reaching for my book of American basketball slang it says “he’s a glue-guy”).  Believe me when I say that if Andy doesn’t play well then it’s an uphill battle for the team to win, and he should seriously be considered for team MVP come the end of the season in this form.  Plus his voice just cracks me up.”

Matteke Hutzler – Seventh Blog from Portugal – New Year

Happy New Year!

Okay, that greeting may be a few weeks late. But it’s the thought that counts, right? I celebrated New Years day packing to go back to Porto. I spent two amazing weeks in Napanee during the holidays, but those two weeks went by in a flash. It was so nice to get back to Canada for some family time after spending three months in Portugal concentrating on basketball. I’m such a family person, so whenever I get the chance to come home, I’m always beyond thrilled. Okay, my brothers can be more annoying than a mosquito buzzing around your ear as you’re trying to fall asleep. But regardless of all the nuisances belonging to family life, I’m really hopelessly in love with my family.  Maybe my admiration for them stems from fact that I have spent the majority of my adult life living across the country, really sealing truth to the quote, “distance makes the heart grow fonder”. Sometimes however, when that quote applies, you can find yourself highly irritated when it comes to actually spending face time together. But during my visits home in the last couple of years, the arguments between my Mom and I have waned, I compare my brothers less and less to a mosquitos and more as my best friends, and my Dad and I have great ‘life’ talks during car rides to and from the airport. I love home but Napanee of ALL places isn’t somewhere I want to be right now. There is nothing there to keep me motivated on my journey. So going home is just a checkpoint for now to recharge, refuel and send me back out into the world.

It is this understanding, of my limited potential at home, that motivated me to get right back on the plane to Porto. As sad as I was to leave, I knew that leaving was just as much a part of the journey as my destination. I was excited to begin the second half of the season with Académico because we had already won as many games as the club won during the entire previous season. Our first game of the New Year was extra special too because it was broadcast on Portuguese SportTV. Four cameras, announcers and intense signage surrounding the court that lit it up so bright it was distracting. Académico hasn’t seen TV interest since the 1970’s so this was a big deal. The week before the game, half of our court was replaced because it had been rotting due to leakage from the roof. New lines were painted and the entire court was re-varnished. The stage was set to play the top ranked Vagos on national television, but unfortunately we did not perform. Vagos shot a ridiculous 72% from behind the arc on 18-of-25 shooting, eventually beating us 102-69. On a positive note however, we scored 69 points, which is 15 points more than our average offensive output. So as pretty as we looked that Sunday morning for the cameras, nothing was going to save us from being slaughtered after the 3-point clinic Vagos put on.

But moving on.

This past weekend we travelled 1,600 kilometers to Terceira, the third of seven Portuguese islands for a game against Boa Viagem, whom we lost 60-47 back in November. Terceira Island is much different from Madeira, the other island we visited earlier in the season. Known mostly for it’s agricultural landscape, the island of 56,000 people produces world famous cheese and other dairy based products. Flights in and out of the island aren’t scheduled as regularly on weekends, so our travel schedule for this game was not fun.

4am – wake up

4:30am – picked up by team van to drive to airport

6am – fly ½ hour from Porto to Lisbon

9:30am – connect in Lisbon to a 2hr flight to random Portuguese island

11:30am – fly 20mins from random Portuguese island to Terceira

11:30am – arrive in Terceira (time zone change)

1:00pm – pre-game meal

2:00pm – naptime

3:15pm – wake up and get ready for game

4:00pm – leave for game

5:00pm – GAME TIME

Needless to say, this game day was filled with adversity. After a LONG day, our team failed to put together a full 40 minutes and we lost 67-50. We were out rebounded 57-18 and it wasn’t until the 4th quarter that we started to really pressure full court, resulting in 28 Boa Viagem turnovers, compared to our 11.  Another crucial decider of the game came at the free throw line, where we went 4-for-16 compared to their 12-for-19. Where is WORLD CLASS shooting coach Vic Juzenas when you need help at the line? He must be on vacation in Florida or something! Well, get here soon Vic, because we need your help! Our flight back to Porto Sunday morning wasn’t as terrible with only a connection in Lisbon. Travel home took most of the day but it was more than welcomed after playing 40 minutes against one of the biggest import ‘bigs’ in the league who attracted 26 rebounds during that game :/.

Now it’s the start of another workweek and we are back at it.  Training for another game at home this Sunday against GDESSA, who we lost to by two points in one of our first games of the season. Looking to improve on that loss, we are hoping that we will be able to showcase our progress since the beginning of the season. Wish us luck!

Much love from Porto,

Matteke Mary

@MattekeHutzler

Matteke Hutzler – Sixth Blog from Portugal – Ebbs and Flows

Hey hey hey!

SOOO… It’s kinda been a crazy ride over here during the last couple of weeks.

We lost two games in a row two weekends ago, and that really set us back as a team. Since we were on a three game winning streak, I think we felt a little too comfortable with how we were playing. It was a difficult weekend with the way the schedule was set up for us playing two games in two days, when usually we only have one game on the weekend. The first game was against the number one team in the league, Algés. Down by only one at half time, we had been playing great defense against them, switching up between zone and man. In the second half, a few bad bounces and the momentum shifted away from us and we ended up losing 57-39. In the second game of the weekend, we played Boa Viagem at home, in a game that we really had a chance to compete against. We ended up losing that game 60-47. My statistics that entire weekend remained in single digits, so it really wasn’t a positive weekend for me personally. What was more disheartening was that my Mom was in Portugal for the week and was at both games. Even though we lost and I probably played my two worst games of the season, I was excited that my Mom and I were able to spend some quality time together in Portugal!

This past weekend was a much more positive experience for our team. We played Montijo and won 69-61. After putting behind me a forgettable weekend of
basketball and pushing through a tough week of practice, I put up my first double-double of the season with 17 points and 11 rebounds. It was definitely reassuring to see those numbers after really feeling the natural ebbs and flows of life that week. People in my life that know me best can confirm that my personality really reflects my environment; so when things are going well I am feeling really good, but when things aren’t going the best I can make it seem like the world is imploding. Living through both the good and ‘not-so-good’ times with a more balanced mind really helps to keep your perspective on what’s going on. I am so blessed to have amazing people in my life that help to keep me balanced and focused, and it was with their support and motivation that I was able to work hard at improving and forget about a couple of bad games.

A little extra motivation to work hard came in the form of a flight home for Christmas that my Mom surprised me with on her visit to Portugal. The countdown is on now – two weeks until small town Ontario living reminds me of why I love home. On my list of things to do when I get home; (1) speak as much English as possible, (2) drink as much Starbucks/McDonald’s/Tim Hortons coffee as possible, (3) wear my toque INSIDE my parents sub-zero house, and (4) RELAX (plus a TON of treadmill/weights/shooting but mainly just to keep Matt off my back).

ALSO, I need to give a HUGE shout out to my Holy Cross Secondary School Crusaders Senior Girls team who kicked some serious basketball butt this season, hosting OFSAA and playing with class all season long. I am so proud of you girls! AND finally, I have to give some support to my girls from the SFU Women’s Basketball Team who are off to a great start this season in the NCAA2! Here we go guys ; )

Much love,

Matteke Mary


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