Mustang slay Warriors 3-2 - Take the series lead
Guelph goes bye bye
UWO ballers named to All-Star teams
From unknown to unbelievable
Janischewski named to CIAU All-Canadian team
From unknown to unbelievable
By Jordan Bell
The first player to hit the floor.
It's been used a million times to describe Matthew Thomas Tweedie, forward and co-captain of the Western Mustangs men's basketball team. The dilemma that arises: It never seems to lose its lustre.
In an age when school yard hoops has come to dominate the hardwood, Tweedie's game represents a glimpse of the past. A tireless workhorse, he combines deft outside shooting, a knack for finding the open man, and defensive skills that run un-paralleled across the country.
"I think I bring a work ethic that some of the younger guys can look up to," Tweedie said. "On the floor I can shoot and distribute relatively well. I'm not really outstanding at anything, but I can do most things OK."
The enigma that is Tweedie has been a regular on the London hoops scene. A graduate of Sir Frederick Banting Secondary School, his reputation as the hometown hero has made him a crowd favourite. Western head coach Craig Boydell emphatically states that there are two traits that separate Tweedie from other players.
"He's certainly flamboyant, but he combines that with being hard-working in a way that's paid off."
This flamboyance was born in his youth, when basketball ruled life, and anything less than victory was unacceptable. Herb Hunter, former teacher and coach at Orchard Park Elementary School [Tweedie's alma mater], reminisced of a young Tweedie, at the beginning of his journey to basketball glory.
"He was quite a shy kid," Hunter explained. "But Matt hated to lose, and I believe this will to win has made him the player he is now."
Athleticism is a much needed trait when attempting to reach the upper echelon of basketball in Canada. To be able to survive in a league such as the Ontario University Athletics without hoops or lightning speed is a feat of epic proportions. Tweedie has done just this, and models himself after a certain former NBA superstar.
"I would compare myself to Chris Mullin," Tweedie stated. "He's not blessed with the best physical skills, but he is always in good shape and he works hard."
Tweedie has graduated with a degree in sociology, and is taking courses to broaden his "academic horizons." The fifth-year player does not plan on forgetting his roots though, and contributing to the sports world is definitely in his future.
"I would like to stay involved in sports," Tweedie said. "Coaching would also be something I would like to do."
Western basketball has a storied legacy. From the great teams led by John Steifelmeyer, to the more recent ones led by Micah Bourdeau, each player takes something special from their experience.
"Its been an unbelievably enjoyable experience," Tweedie said. "I have met some of my best friends in the world, and have been coached by the best staff in the country. It's been a blast."
Matt Tweedie has a story. In the style of inspiring films like Rudy and Hoosiers, Tweedie shows that an un-recruited, under-appreciated high school has-been can make it at one of the most fabled institutions of higher education in Canada.
So the next time you peruse the box score to find the high-scorer remember, there is one category not on there intangibles. Intangibles are what make teams champions, and on this box score, Matt Tweedie sets the tone.