The shot blocker
McHugh Mattis needs just one more.
The senior matched Gerrick Morris’ single-season record of 108 blocked shots after swatting three Providence attempts Wednesday night at the Sun Dome. Mattis has one more chance to own the record when the Bulls play their last game of the season at DePaul on Saturday.
Even though he is undersized compared to many of the players he is guarding, the 6-foot-6 Mattis attributes his success to what he calls being a “quick jumper.”
“I just think not letting them get (the ball near) my body, then I have a good chance to get it,” Mattis said. “It’s all about timing, just knowing to get it. I’m pretty long too, so I can tip a lot of shots because of that.”
His teammates found out now fast Mattis can become airborne when trying to play against him.
“He jumps real, real quick,” center Kentrell Gransberry said. “Because he can do that he can leave a little later on an opponent and still get the block.”
In just two seasons at USF, Mattis already ranks third all-time in career blocked shots with 170, trailing Morris and Curtis Kitchen.
Solomon Jones, last year’s No. 33 selection in the NBA Draft by the Atlanta Hawks, led the Bulls with 90 rejections during the 2006-06 season. Despite giving up four inches to Jones, Mattis was able to surpass that number just 22 games into the season against Marquette.
“Pound-for-pound, I don’t think there’s a more productive player (than Mattis),” coach Robert McCullum said. “What he’s been able been able to do is simply amazing.”
This season against Winston-Salem State, Mattis recorded 10 blocks and earned the second triple-double in school history. Morris holds the single game record for blocks when he swatted 11 attempts by George Washington on Nov. 28, 2000.
Gransberry, standing at 6-foot-9, knows first-hand just how difficult it can be going against Mattis during scrimmages.
“I’m not going to lie, he’s gotten me in practice a couple of times,” Gransberry said. “I’m not too happy about that.”
Though he fell short of setting the record Wednesday, Mattis knows he still has a chance to surpass Morris and looks forward to the opportunity to do so.
“I was aware of (the record) before, I knew I needed four (blocks) to get it,” Mattis said. “So I just went out there and played it the same really. But I think the record would mean a lot to me. It’s good that I can still get it.”