Jonah Mathews: I had a good relationship with Trice. The American wants to play for Poland!

– Koszarek is a great player, all of Europe knows him. I know that he is also the director of the Polish national team. We may start working together in a few months. I would really like it – tells Jonah Mathews of Anwil Włocławek.

Karol Wasiek

Jonah Mathews and Travis Tricea

Press material / Andrzej Romański / Energa Basket Liga / In the photo: Jonah Mathews and Travis Trice

Mathews or Trice? – this is the question most frequently asked in the basketball room in the context of the MVP title in recent weeks. In the end, the statuette went to WKS player Śląska Wrocław, who was four points ahead of league-leader Anwil Włocławek. For him, it’s…only the second year he’s been playing on European dance floors.

The American came to Włocławek for little money (we hear about the amount of around $5,000). The value for money in his case is incredible. Despite his modest experience, he has shown that he is able to lead the team to great success all season (Anwil came in 2nd, won the ENBL competition). This was also noticed by the representatives of the Turkish Fenerbahce Beko Istanbul, who wanted to buy his contract during the matches – for a lot of money.

He talks about the great season in Anwil Włocławek, talks with Kamil Łączyński, rivalry with Twardy Pierniki, a series with Legia and Łukasz Koszarek, which, according to Mathews, is known all over Europe. The gentlemen will soon… work together in the Polish national team.

– I want to play for Poland! However, now I am concentrating on the performance in Anwil Włocławek, but when the time comes, I will be ready – he says in an interview with WP SportoweFakty.

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Karol Wasiek, WP SportoweFakty: Travis Trice became – according to the trainers of PLK – the best player in the regular round. Pan took second place, losing by four points to the player from Śląsk Wrocław. Are you disappointed?

Jonah Mathews, Anwil Włocławek player, selected for the top five of the regular season: Let’s start with the fact that Travis Trice is a great player, very experienced, who has played several seasons in strong European leagues. Was I disappointed? Not. I was very close to Trice and that’s important to me too. In addition, my team took second place and I myself – during the competitions – collected several individual prizes, which also translated into the team results. This makes me very happy.

Marek Popiołek, who worked at HydroTruck Radom this season, you named the best defender in the Energa Basket League. What do you say?

I think I’m one of the best, but other players on our team should be mentioned: Kyndall, Kamil and James. Each of them can play a great defense. I have to admit that since I played in college I focused on playing defensively. I could use my hands and feet, but I have to admit I still have a lot of room for improvement.

During the matches and training sessions you talk a lot with Kamil Łączyński. This is your mentor?

Kamil has taught me a lot, he has been playing this game for many years, he has also won the championship and knows how to play at key moments. As a young player I have to learn this all the time, so when I can I ask him about different situations and solutions. He was always open to me, he gave me several tips, so you could say I found a great teacher. I thank him for that.

What would you say to a man who declared before the season that you would be the best scorer after the regular round, competed with Anwil for medals in PLK and win the international competition. Would you believe it?

In the beginning I just wanted to come here and do everything I could to help the team win as many matches as possible. But as time went on, I saw what kind of team we have, experienced players who can do great things. We started the season with a couple of wins in a row and I felt we had a chance to achieve something really big. I’ve also seen what I can do on the pitch. Big words of appreciation for my colleagues and coaches who have allowed me to be myself and show my full skills.

Do you feel that you can already lead the team to great successes?

Yes. I want to be known as a young player who is not only a team leader, but above all a winner. This is the most important.

What did you learn in the quarterfinal series with Twardymi Pierniki Toruń? (Anwil won it 3:1 – editors note).

What I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter when you roll, it’s all about winning. Of course I want to score points, but as a young player I learn to be patient and to look for the best options for this. You can’t rush the playoffs, you have to be patient. The main thing is to win.

It is said that there was a lot of dirty and unclean game in the series Anwil – Hard Gingerbread. Do you agree with that?

Twarde Pierniki had such a plan for this series, our rivals wanted to get inside our heads like this, but it didn’t work out. I think we’ve gotten into these “games” unnecessarily at some points, but that’s also a good lesson for the future. We must be vigilant and fully focused on our game. Our plan is the most important.

What is your approach to trash-talking? I ask because one of the players told me that you like to talk to your rivals during the game.

I like it, but it comes naturally. It’s not like I’m assuming before the game that I’m going to talk to anyone. There are many emotions during the meeting, each of us wants to win. And remember that trash is part of the game, so don’t be surprised if someone talks to someone in a particular match.

Frasunkiewicz and Jonah Mathews trainer
Frasunkiewicz and Jonah Mathews trainer

Anwil Włocławek will face Legia Warszawa in the semifinals. How do you rate this team?

It is a good team with many experienced and talented players. There are good shooters who can score points in series. I think the key is to limit their attacking actions, to prevent the game from counterattacking. These are very important elements of this competition. We already have a plan ready for this series.

Do you know Lukasz Koszarek?

Of course! He is known all over Europe. He is a very experienced representative of Poland, he has a great career behind him. I know that he has achieved a lot in Zastal Zielona Góra’s team. He’s still a really good player that we need to watch out for in this series.

He is also the director of the Polish national team. Will you soon see each other in one team?

It is possible! If everything goes according to plan, such a scenario is very likely, but I’m calm about it. I don’t think much about him yet.

I understand that you have not changed position and still want to play for the Polish national team?

Of course. I want to play for Poland! Now, however, I am concentrating on the performances in Anwil Włocławek, but when the time comes, I will be ready.

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