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Methacton's Christian Matos on the verge of a breakout

06/05/2024, 2:15pm EDT
By Joseph Santoliquito

By Joseph Santoliquito (@JSantoliquito)

PHILADELPHIA, PA — This was not the way Christian Matos wanted to start his high school basketball career, seated on a padded table in a doctor’s office looking up at an X-ray. At first, it was not distinct, until the doctor pointed to the faint straight line going through one of his bones on the illuminated black screen.

Matos was told he had a broken left tibia, a large difference from what he originally thought was a mere sprained ankle in his very first high school practice. The 6-foot-2 Methacton sophomore guard found himself in a cast, followed by a walking boot from October 2022 to March 2023— wiping out his freshman season.


Christian Matos (above) emerged as one of the best guards in District 1 this season. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Matos has done a very good job of making up for the lost time, exploding in some special performances by dropping 25 points against Central Bucks East in the PIAA District 1 Class 6A playoffs, to popping 28, including four three-pointers, against Miami-bound star Jalil Bethea and Archbishop Wood in the first round of the PIAA state playoffs.

Matos carries the proverbial chip on his shoulders. He plays like a runner trying to come from behind.

That attitude stems from the first day of practice at Methacton. He recalls driving left for a layup, when he landed sideways on his left ankle, putting undue strain on his lower left leg. He limped off the court not thinking much of it—until the next morning, when his left leg was disfigured and swollen.

A visit to the doctors the next day revealed the worst—a broken left tibia. Until then, Matos had never suffered a broken bone in his life.

“I wasn’t depressed about the injury, I was angry, I had that time taken away from me,” Matos said. “I didn’t trust my left leg until last July, in AAU for East Coast Power U16, when we were playing Team Final. Throughout the whole time, I was not running as strong as I could have, because I was favoring my left leg. It stays in the back of your mind that you could get hurt again. You can say that psychologically, I had to get over that hump.”

Matos scored 30 in the AAU game.

He is using this summer to get even stronger. In the 2026 All-City Classic game on Friday at Ben Franklin High School, a prime version of Matos was on display, canning threes from distance, playing stubborn defense and holding his own against some of the most talented sophomores in the city.

It all comes from his furnace of not playing for nine months, burning the ire of watching basketball throughout his freshman year.

He had to deal with the atrophy in his left leg, building that back up again, while catching up to the rest of his class, in addition to building his stamina. It was a small mountain to climb.

He never doubted he would conquer it.

“Endurance was a huge part, my first game back last summer three up-and-backs and I was gassed,” he recalled, laughing. “By the end of last summer, I did a lot of workouts, played summer leagues and AAU, and I felt I was getting better. I had a growth spurt last summer, growing three inches.

“That is the one thing that really scared me. I was afraid the injury was right next to my growth plate. I thought it would affect my growth. But when the bone healed, I started growing again. I emotionally asked myself if I would get back to where I was.”

Matos (with ball) scored 28 points in Methacton's loss to Archbishop Wood in the PIAA 6A state playoffs. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)

Matos vowed to himself that when he returned, it would be with a vengeance.

Methacton finished 19-8 overall last season. He finished his sophomore year with 453 points, averaging a team-best 17.7 points a game over 25 games, after missing his first two games his sophomore season with a sprained right wrist.  

Matos’ first penchant for arriving in big-game scenarios surfaced in the District 1 playback game against Central Bucks East. He scored a game-high 25 points, hitting three 3-pointers. Then, in the state playoffs, he torched a very explosive Wood team for 28. Bethea covered him that game, as did Drexel-bound Josh Reed. Still, Matos shined.

He scored 12 of the Warriors’ 21 first-quarter points, and hit a clutch trey with less then two minutes to play with the Warriors threatening.

Methacton coach Patrick Lockard certainly had no problem putting the game in Matos’ hands.  

“I feel like I can play against anyone, and I do not want to change that attitude. That was my focus going into the Wood game. I had some things to prove,” said Matos, a lefty. “The Wood game boosted my confidence even more. I started playing basketball when I was around five. I never watched basketball in my life. I always played. Being hurt was an experience. Everyone counted me out, like I became invisible.

“I loved it. I wanted that big stage against Wood. No one thought I would be back after I got hurt. I needed that game.”

First and foremost this summer, his priority is to get stronger. It means he has been on a consistent weight-training routine. He has new thresholds he wants to force his body through. The added strength will hopefully translate into shooting better while he is moving, and increasing his defensive anchor.

He walks around 155 pounds right now. He would like to gain 10 pounds before his junior year.

So far, no colleges have given him an offer or contacted him.

That promises to change—soon.

“I think that comes from not being on the radar my freshman year,” Matos said. “I was nowhere this time last year. I was still recovering from the broken tibia. It motivates me. I am ready for what will come. My goal is do as much as I can to get my teammates involved and do whatever I need to do for us to win. I know a lot will be on me. I’m ready for it.”

~~~

Joseph Santoliquito is an award-winning sportswriter based in the Philadelphia area who began writing for CoBL in 2021 and is the president of the Boxing Writers Association of America. He can be followed on Twitter here.


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