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Matt McCarthy settling into new role, school at Episcopal Academy

12/14/2023, 11:30pm EST
By Mike Livingston

By Mike Livingston (@liv_twts22)

WYNDMOOR  — When Matt McCarthy transferred into Episcopal Academy to begin the 2023-24 school year, there was one question he was being asked; ‘Are you related to Kevin?’

Matt, a 6-foot-3 junior guard, made the decision to reclassify and transfer to Episcopal this summer, leaving Archmere Academy (Del.). That meant teaming up in the backcourt with the Churchmen’s standout guard, Kevin McCarthy, which meant people were bound to ask the obvious.

“I heard that question all the time,” Matt McCarthy said. “People on Twitter, as soon as I said was going [to Episcopal], were like, ‘Are you related to Kevin?’ I get to school, ‘Are you related to Kevin?’ We started messing with people, telling them we were.”

While the two McCarthys aren’t related, they still bring a similar intensity and talent to the floor.

Kevin was Episcopal’s top option last season, averaging 18.3 points, 6.0 rebounds, and a steal per game, and continues to be an on-the-court favorite of head coach Taylor Wright

Episcopal Academy junior Matt McCarthy scored 11 points in Thursday's win over La Salle.

Matt, a three-year varsity player who averaged 14.7 ppg last season at Archmere, is fitting into the lineup as an everyday starter and finding his role quickly. 

Kevin McCarthy led Episcopal Academy with 29 points (seven threes) in Thursday’s 63-48 win over La Salle. Matt did his part too, chipping in 11 points, four assists, three steals, and taking a charge — something he tries to do at least once per game.

“It’s a little bit different here,” Matt said. “I’m more of a playmaker, more of a defender when you have a lot of other guys who can score the ball. It’s been a little bit of an adjustment because there (Archmere) I was the main guy. Every night, I had to score the ball a lot and take some bad shots. 

“Here I don’t have to settle. Some guys can make shots everywhere, so it’s being more of a playmaker. It’s been a little bit of an adjustment but it’s better basketball now and I like it.”

Matt plays AAU in the spring and summer for East Coast Power. The coaches there helped him sort out his options when he decided to reclassify and transfer. Though EA was never McCarthy’s only choice, it was a top option along with the Haverford School. 

He’d spent time as a teammate with Churchmen senior Tyler Beaulieu as far back as sixth grade. Matt shadowed Beaulieu while he was deciding which school to attend, which was also when Beaulieu introduced him to his future teammates for the first time. 

The Aston native didn’t have a terrible commute to his former digs at Archmere, and while Episcopal was a little further away it is still only a 30-minute drive.

“I knew the Inter-Ac would probably be a good spot for me,” Matt said. “I shadowed at EA and I shadowed at Haverford and then I kind of just knew from there. … I knew Tyler and Calvin (Szoradi) and some of those guys from playing East Coast Power in the past. It was an easy transition.”

Matt first played with EA in June during the scholastic live periods, shortly after the end of the school year. He worked out with Kevin and fellow newcomer Langston Foster, a 6-foot-3 junior guard from Lower Merion, with Wright during the summer.

That’s when the McCarthys began to build a rapport. 

“He takes a lot of pressure off me,” Kevin said. “Just shooting the ball, he’s a good shooter, he can get to the basket. He’s strong with the ball. He’s a huge help this year.”

“I’ve learned that he’s a dog. A really strong kid and a good defender. He gives me a lot of work in practice. He pushes me in practice to become better everyday.”

Matt gives Wright another backcourt player who has experience in late-game moments. 

He had the ball in his hands Thursday against La Salle’s late-game pressure down the stretch, going 5-for-6 from the line and scoring eight of 11 points in the fourth quarter

“He’s a gym rat,” Wright said. “Just loves being in the gym, loves talking about basketball, loves being around the gym, asks great questions and wants to get better. And I think he’s one of those guys as he gets more accustomed to our program and the guys in the school, he’s going to be a real leader for us.”

Matt said Archmere wasn’t a basketball powerhouse but he helped the program capture league titles in his freshman and sophomore seasons.

EA is looking to make amends on a rough few years, in which the team has struggled to eclipse the .500 mark, a streak that dates back to 2017. The Churchmen went 8-13 last year and finished 1-9 in the league

It’s going to be difficult for EA in a tightly contested Inter-Ac  playing against the likes of league favorites Penn Charter and Malvern Prep, along with the ever-competitive Germantown Academy and Springside Chestnut Hill squads. But Matt is hoping he can help an experienced senior class along with a few promising sophomores and juniors make a splash this season. 

“We’re still trying to gel everything together and take it game by game but in the back of my mind definitely the main goal is to win the Inter-Ac and do well here,” Matt said.

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