Posted On: 11/1/17 11:45 PM
What Matthew Tanis may lack in size, the 5-foot-8, 170-pound guard makes up for in embracing the physicality of the game. A graduate of Mater Academy High School in Miami, the Hialeah native brings an innate toughness and a will to guard every possession. Now at Believe Academy (TN), Tanis catalyzed the team in a loss against Athlete’s Institute during Hoop Exchange’s All-American Jamboree in Apopka, Fla.
Tanis scored 14 points, battled for 50-50 balls, and engineered the transition attack. Engaged throughout, he played with the tenacity known to win over coaches. With a well-built, football player frame, Tanis employs a high-energy mentality throughout. It’s noticeable every time he steps on the floor. Tanis scored at all three levels during the aforementioned Hoop Exchange All American Jamboree. He was aggressive in attacking the rim and getting into the teeth of the defense.
“Being physical and being aggressive when I play, it really just makes it easy for me because I play tough and I play defense 94 feet,” said Tanis, who spent time at Miami Central before playing under former Florida International coach and legendary South Florida high school coach Marcos “Shakey” Rodriguez.
“When I come off those screens, nobody can really bump me off those screens. Nobody can really bully me. I work out a lot and my physique is up to date.”
There was no argument about that, especially as Tanis gutted out a grueling 10-mile run last Thursday. Being quick and deceptively strong has worked to Tanis’ favor this preseason, as he’s been instrumental in engineering offense. In the half-court set, Tanis has displayed an adept handle and a knack for luring defenders in and feeding the post.
Football was Tanis’ initial labor of love, as he played everything from halfback to safety to linebacker in middle school. After sustaining an agonizing shoulder injury and subsequently developing into a two-way guard capable of neutralizing high scorers with his physicality, Tanis’ father felt it was best that he focused solely on hoops.
“Last year, I really got a chance to play with some really good wings,” Tanis said. “That was the first time I played with guys of that level. It really humbled me and showed me that I have a lot to work on. It allowed me to create for my teammates and really become an all-around point guard.
An athlete and defensive threat first, Tanis will use the post-graduate season to soak up a wealth of knowledge. In playing against junior colleges and high-caliber prep programs such as Montverde Academy in Orlando and DME Academy in Daytona Beach, he’s making up for lost time.
“Pretty much this prep year is essential in molding me into the player I want to become. Shakey was a good coach. Playing alongside Malcolm (Nicholas), it just showed me that there are high-level point guards out there who are tall. So shorter guys, we need to work harder or work twice as hard in becoming who you want to be.”