Raise your hand if you’ve heard of Matt Van Komen before. Us neither. That’s ok, because unless you’re a fan of Utah squad Pleasant Grove it would be a bit of a surprise to know anything about an obscure teen hoops player from rural Utah. That is, until you learn that Van Komen is 14-years-old and already stands 7-foot-4.
That’s right. The Lehi native is the nation’s tallest freshman, and one of the tallest players in the country full stop. The son of two former college basketball players focuses on fundamentals in the paint and is rapidly emerging as a force beyond with his remarkable height and reach. As his AAU coach Kevin Nixon made clear in an article from the Darnell Dickson Daily Herald, Van Komen is a game-changing defender from far beyond the paint.
“We stick Matt in the middle on defense and opponents don’t have to drive to the rim for him to be effective,” Nixon told the Daily Herald. “Even if they pull up from 15 feet, he’s blocking shots. Big kids inside have to be really crafty or jump really high to get shots off on him.
“If you project it, with the progress Matt has made over the past two years and four more years of high school basketball, the sky is the limit. He can be a special kid,”
Just how special he turns out to be remains to be seen, but he certainly has the strength, skill and potential to be a program changer at the next level if he continues to improve.