Mattes focused on academics in decision to choose Ivy League school

Cody Allgor | Staff Writer

Mason sophomore guard Margo Mattes takes a shot in the Comets’ win over Lakota West on December 5. Mattes recently verbally committed to continue her academic and athletic career at Princeton University.

 Mason sophomore basketball player Margo Mattes is focused on putting academics before athletics.

Mattes, considered one of the nation’s top sophomores, is known for making great decisions on the court, but on November 13 she made a decision that showed that she is focused on her future after basketball. Mattes announced her decision to verbally commit to Princeton University. Mattes has received multiple division one offers from prestigious universities across the country, but ultimately made the decision to continue her athletic career at the prestigious Ivy League school.

Many different aspects play into every college decision, but having an older sibling on the Princeton campus allowed Mattes to visit and learn the way around. Mattes said the familiarity with Princeton played a big part in the decision.

“Since my sister is a student at Princeton, my family has visited five or six times,” Mattes said. “During those times, I’ve been able to really know my way through campus, and I’ve been able to go to a few basketball games and meet the team and meet the coaches. It started to feel like a second home to me and my family. After that, I just knew.”

Many athletes who play in college wait until their senior years to commit to a university, waiting to see all of the universities that show interest. Mattes did have plenty of other interest, but said that she did not want to lengthen the process when she already had decided where she wanted to go.

“Once I knew that I wanted to go to Princeton and I could take [their offer], I did not want other coaches to spend time talking and trying to recruit me instead of other kids,” Mattes said. “I didn’t think that would be fair to them.”

If Mattes had waited longer in the process, her coaches believed she would get offers from more prominent and well-recognized basketball schools. However, Mattes chose to commit early, and she said that education was a priority in the decision. 

“Academics is the most important thing to me,” Mattes said. “I wasn’t necessarily focused on going to the best basketball school so much as going to the best academic school that I could.”

For a player like Mattes, who has had college interest since middle school, the recruitment process is grueling and takes a lot of effort. Mattes said that it is a relief that it is finally over.

“It definitely is a weight off my shoulders,” Mattes said. “As far as making phone calls and doing other things in the process, even though I really enjoyed it, it is a lot.

Comets head coach Rob Matula has coached multiple recruits, including former McDonald’s All-American Sammie Pusis, who is now playing for Florida State. Matula said that the advice he gives his players is to make the decision on their school when they believe the time is right.

“I’ve always told kids that when you feel it in your heart, then making the early decision is a good thing because it takes pressure off of you,” Matula said. “Now people know, and you can just go out and play.”

Mattes will now have plenty of time to play for Mason before she officially moves on to the collegiate level. Mattes said that she wants to be at the top of her game when she gets to Princeton. 

“I want to be the best that I can and play my hardest when I get there,” Mattes said. “So even though it’s a weight off my shoulders as far as recruiting, I don’t think it changes anything as far as playing the game and getting better.”

Photo by Rilee Malloy