Matijevic commits to national champs
TribLIVE Sports Videos
Norwin has been one of the WPIAL's top baseball programs over the past few years, and now Knights junior J.J. Matijevic is on his way to one the country's top college programs.
Matijevic, the Knights' starting shortstop and leader in most offensive categories last year, made a verbal commitment earlier this month to play his college ball for the University of Arizona, the 2012 NCAA champions.
With the verbal commitment, Matijevic joins senior teammate Jake Pribanic, a Penn State signee, as Division I recruits from a Knights program that sent four 2012 graduates to D-I schools.
“The competition out west is amazing, and I hope to be able to contribute to their program,” Matijevic said. “The weather's perfect there, the coaches are great, and obviously as national champions, their baseball team is legit.”
Matijevic landed on the Wildcats' radar after attending an event in California last August. From that point, Arizona's coaches stayed in touch with Matijevic, and after he attended the team's camp this fall, a scholarship offer came soon afterward.
“I called them after the camp, they offered me, and I accepted right away,” Matijevic said. “I hope to help them win another national championship when I'm out there.”
The Wildcats were the only Pac-12 Conference team that had offered Matijevic when he accepted, but he had been in contact with many top east coast programs, including Florida State, Connecticut, Ole Miss, Penn State, Pitt and Coastal Carolina.
Arizona's coaches have indicated to Matijevic that he fits into their plans more as a first baseman than as a middle infielder, which means the junior will have some work to do to make the defensive adjustment at the next level.
“They've told me there's a chance I could be starting as a freshman, but I have to work a lot at that position,” Matijevic said.
“This summer was the first time I really played first base, so there's always room for improvement. Playing shortstop in high school helps my footwork a lot, but I'll still need to work a lot at first.”
The junior's hitting is one of the things that most appealed to Arizona's coaches, as Matijevic hit .473 during his sophomore high school season with six home runs, 35 RBI and 22 runs scored on his way to being named Tribune-Review Player of the Year.
Matijevic still sees room for growth in his own game, and even though he has his college plans tentatively settled — he can't officially sign until next year — there are individual goals for the junior to reach.
“It's every kids dream to get drafted out of high school,” Matijevic said. “That's still a goal of mine. Now that I have my college plans set, that's what I'm working on now.”
Matijevic and teammate Pribanic do have the luxury of getting a peek at Division I baseball life from their varsity teammates from last spring, and the Norwin shortstop made sure his friends and former teammates were the first to know of his college decision.
“I talk to those guys all the time. I've talked to Tommy (Quealy) a lot. They were the first people I talked to after I accepted the offer,” Matijevic said.
“When they came home over Thanksgiving, they were telling me what it was like in college. They let me know it's going to be hard, but they've given me a heads-up about what I can expect.”
Matt Grubba is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-388-5830 or email@example.com.
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.
- Kessel addition, better health could have Pens scoring like it’s 1990s
- Steelers cut Scobee, sign free agent kicker Boswell
- Pitt holds off Virginia Tech in ACC opener
- Burnett pitches well in farewell, but Pirates lose to Reds
- New book credits Nunn for Steelers’ 1970s success
- Are Pirates better positioned to win it all this postseason?
- Pirates fans on edge as season again coming down to wild card
- Shaler man charged in death of girl, 6, not prosecuted in repeated alcohol cases
- Would-be Troy Hill carjackers scared off by sirens
- More employers adopt generous leave policies
- Four downs: Williams brothers on the rise