Vincentian forward Rathz quietly played big role for basketball team
By Jerry Clark
Published: Wednesday, March 27, 2013, 9:00 p.m.
No matter how well a senior season goes, a player must move along to the next adventure when the campaign ends.
Only a handful of seniors get to leave fresh off a championship, and one of those seniors is Vincentian forward Matt Rathz.
Rathz went from a role player last year to a starting forward on this season's basketball team. And although he enjoyed being more of a factor in each game, he said the life lessons he learned from being a part of this team are what will help carry him in the next phase of his life.
“I know it seems corny, but there are some life lessons I think only sports can teach you,” Rathz said. “I learned a lot from coach (George) Yokitis and Vincentian basketball and made friends and relationships I hope last a long time.”
Rathz said it all starts with Yokitis, who instills the ideal that nothing can beat hard work.
“People, the media, can say whatever they want, but we control what happens between the lines (on the court),” Rathz said. “Hard work gave us confidence, and we realize we can control the final score by how we play.”
Rathz said this season was a lot of fun, because many of the opponents the Royals conquered were bigger or faster. By each player playing hard, doing his job and looking out for his teammates, the Royals lost only two games all season and won a WPIAL championship, their second in three years.
Rathz and his teammates hit the gym days after the season last year, and it was that big offseason when he got in the best shape of his playing career. He was able to come out and crash the boards better than ever and give the Royals a bigger presence inside.
“I usually played more of a perimeter game, but without a true center, I knew I needed to improve inside,” Rathz said. “I attacked the ball on the glass more; that is where my game improved.”
Yokitis said Rathz is a special kid who really did all he could to sacrifice for the better of the team.
“He went in and did the dirty work,” Yokitis said. “He matched up with the other teams' big men, and he held his own.
“He is a smart kid, does his homework and is totally dedicated to being a great teammate.”
His work in the classroom landed him an opportunity to attend Michigan, an prospect about which he is excited.
“I visited my sister, who is a sophomore there,” Rathz said. “It is a great college town, and having my sister there will help me.”
Rathz said he will study liberal arts and look into careers in that field.
Yokitis said he will miss Rathz as a person and as a player.
“Matt did a lot of little things,” Yokitis said. “He is a great teammate and helped us stretch a defense.”
Jerry Clark is a sports editor for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-779-6979 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Serra Catholic’s PIAA path and foe familiar
- West Mifflin ponders late breakdowns in PIAA playoff loss
- Hampton, Luther prove too tall a task for Allderdice
- Fox Chapel star Mathias fired up for states
- North Allegheny girls enjoy ‘bounce back’ win over WPIAL champion Penn-Trafford
- Blackhawk fights past sloppy 1st half to beat Mercyhurst
- Defensive stop sets tone in Erie McDowell win over Kiski Area
- After long layoff, Frazier, Mt. Pleasant girls set for PIAA tournament
- Minnie paces Lincoln Park in PIAA opening-round rout of Johnsonburg
- PIAA boys basketball roundup: Chartiers Valley pulls out first-round victory
- Greensburg Central Catholic boys roll past Bald Eagle in PIAA opener