Pomona-Pitzer forward Matthew Eberle PO ’22 credits everyone from his father to his former teammates for his success on the basketball court. Ultimately, though, it’s been his own mindset that has made him unstoppable and secured him a spot playing ball professionally in Switzerland.
“[My father is] the one who put me into basketball and got me into it in the first place and he was there all throughout to drive me to games and fly with me to other cities to play club tournaments,” Eberle said. “I think he would have the most impact on my playing career up until college … He’s still an impactful guy on my career in college.”
In his junior year of high school, Eberle began to really consider the possibility of a collegiate career. He started participating in camps around the country where he would be exposed to DIII scouts.
During this recruiting process, Eberle, who hails from Los Altos, California, became intrigued by the unique opportunities given to DIII athletes.
“[DIII is] a pretty cool setup, with being at a really good school and also being able to play high-level basketball. Pomona really spoke to me being on the West Coast and also being in a great conference.”
Once he arrived at Pomona, Eberle began to make the most out of every minute of practice and gametime. Eberle describes himself as an extremely competitive person, which speaks to his many accomplishments over his time as a Sagehen and especially in his senior year.
When asked about his aptitude for the game, Eberle noted that channeling his emotions helped him mature as a basketball player.
“I learned how to kind of control my competitiveness and make it kind of work for me on the court,” he said. “I think once you get to the college game and you have the skills, you have kind of the physical tools that it just goes on to be about mindset, like who wants to win more, which player is going to do the most to help their team win.”
Coming in as a first-year, Eberle entered a thriving team. In 2018-2019, P-P finished with a record of 26-3 while having two of the best players in Sagehens history — program leading scorer Micah Elan PZ ’20 and third leading scorer Daniel Rosenbaum PO ’19.
These mentors established a winning team culture, contributing towards putting him on a path for success later in his college career.
“[Rosenbaum] has had a lot of mentorship in my game, and I’ve strived to play like him throughout the years … and be the leader that he always was,” Eberle said. “So I think that’s one guy who has had a big impact on [my] game.”
Eberle’s sophomore season culminated in the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. He turned a tough situation into a positive one and grinded to become a better and stronger player, taking the lessons he learned from his first two years with him.
“Being a competitive person, I couldn’t come back to school without being a whole new player, totally different than what I was when I left. I think that motivated me to really work in 2021 and [at the] end of 2020 when things started opening back up a little bit,” he said.
Eberle’s senior year was remarkable. He averaged 18 points per game on very efficient shooting splits. The standout aspect of his game was by far three-point shooting, hitting at an impressive 44 percent clip on six attempts per game.
Eberle notes that his success this season was very much accredited to a change in position. Katsiaficas moved Eberle from small-forward to power-forward midway through the season. This helped Eberle take advantage of his matchups on offense and make the most of his impressive shooting ability.
Eberle rounded out his career on a high note. Winning their third SCIAC championship in a row was a great accomplishment for Eberle and the Sagehens. Eberle earned second team all-region and first team all-SCIAC.
He expressed gratitude for his teammates and coaches for supporting him throughout his career and his successful senior season.
“I appreciate all my coaches and all my teammates,” he said. “I love them a lot.”
Eberle will take the lessons and skills learned from his time playing for Pomona-Pitzer and incorporate them into a career playing professionally in Switzerland
“I have dual citizenship there,” he explained. “We’ll see where it takes me, but I’m excited to keep the career going.”