by Colin Harris | REPORTEr
For players looking to get better, the offseason means everything.
However, a broken ankle in June that also led to a series of torn ligaments, sidelined Streetsboro senior guard Jordan Matusik for months and completely eliminated any offseason workouts.
It left a player ready and willing to work to get better.
"I wasn't really happy with my season last year, so I was expecting to do a lot of work during the summer so that I would not have any regrets my senior season," Matusik said. "Breaking my ankle was frustrating because it meant I had to sit on the sidelines and watch everyone else play and get better."
Matusik admitted to feeling the stress that can come along with rehabbing an injury, but he remained diligent and was back on the court ready to prepare for the season by early October.
Now back at 100 percent, Matusik, who was named one of the Rockets' team captains, has become Streetsboro's primary scorer on offense.
While the Rockets have struggled at times this year to find consistency, Matusik has not. He was averaging a team-high 18 points per game, to go along with 3.0 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game as of press time.
While the individual numbers look nice, Matusik said he is focused more on getting his team on track.
"You just can't allow teammates to get down on themselves," Matusik said. "Whether we lost on a buzzer beater to Kenston or by three points to Kent [Roosevelt], we need to keep our heads up and want to work that much harder so that it won't happen the next time we face those situations."
Holding up his end of the bargain, Rockets head coach Nick Marcini said that Matusik has developed into a leader his teammates can rely on.
"Last year, Jordan was a spot-up shooter, but now he can put the ball on the deck and get to the hoop a lot more," Marcini said. "With Ben [Gency] in the post last year, that drew a lot of attention and he was good at kicking it out to guys like Jordan.
"But without Ben and with us still looking for another shooter to go with Jordan, we're asking him to do a lot more this year and he's responded."
As the Metro Division title chase heats up, Matusik said he knows he must continue to respond if his team hopes to stay in the hunt for a Metro Division crown.
"As a captain, I feel like I'm held responsible for [the team's success]," he said. "We have already lost two games in the division, so we can't afford to lose. We have to win out. That's what we know and that's what we're working toward. Our eyes are on that goal."