Matt Prichard quietly goes about his business. He lets his play on the basketball court do the talking.
Havelock’s senior forward isn’t very vocal, but his contributions are coming through loud and clear.
“I am kind of shy sometimes,” Prichard said. “I’m kind of laid back and not really the type of guy that’s the center of attention.”
Prichard has added an aspect to Havelock’s basketball team it didn’t have last season — a third scoring option.
Prichard is averaging 11.4 points and 8.3 rebounds per game. His point total is behind only senior teammates Zack Bruns (20.5 points) and Pharoh Cooper (12.2).
His rebounding average is a team-best. Prichard also has 31 blocked shots on the season.
“He’s gotten bigger. He’s taller and longer,” Havelock coach Bill Fryczynski said. “He’s always been a good shooter, but he got a little more confidence. He is a better player than he was last year.”
This is Prichard’s second season on varsity. He was used sparingly last season, scoring 3.5 points and grabbing 1.8 rebounds per game. Prichard is now a constant starter for the Rams.
“I think the difference for me is, last year I didn’t play with enough confidence, even though I was about the same height,” Prichard said. “I am playing with more confidence now.”
Prichard said when he was a freshman he was only 5-foot-7. He played his first two years on junior varsity. His growth spurt took him to 6-foot-3, and this season he’s become a valuable asset on the varsity squad.
“My role is to hustle, get rebounds, score when I can and try to be a leader,” Prichard said.
Prichard has four double-doubles on the season. He’s scored in double figures in 12 games, including six in a row. His best scoring outburst was on Dec. 27 when he posted 23 points.
“I am playing better now than I was at the beginning of the season,” Prichard said. “I’m getting more touches and more shots.”
Prichard has seven double figure rebounding games. He ripped down a season-high 16 boards against Jacksonville on Jan. 11. The Rams are scheduled to host Jacksonville on Friday as they look to extend a five-game winning streak that has them battling for the second place in the Coastal 3A Conference.
One of the reasons the Rams are in that position is because Prichard scored 18 points and grabbed 10 rebounds in a 62-59 victory over South Central Tuesday.
“When I rebound, I try to be tough,” Prichard said. “I’m not that big, so I have to be real strong and aggressive. I try to be as aggressive as I can on defense at all times.”
The Rams are 12-7 overall and 9-2 in the conference. West Craven (17-4, 11-0) is first and South Central (13-8, 8-3) is third.
The Rams finished third in the conference last season. With three games remaining in the regular season, Prichard believes they can stay as high as second heading into the Coastal Conference Tournament.
“I think we have a good shot at beating West Craven if we play like I know we can,” Prichard said. “If someone is not scoring, someone else can. There is not too much pressure on anyone.”
Prichard, who hopes to play basketball in college, is one of the reasons the Rams are in contention for a conference title.
Havelock travels to West Carteret on Tuesday before concluding the regular season with a home game against West Craven on Valentine’s Day night.
“This year, I am playing a big role with my rebounding and scoring points,” Prichard said. “I try to use my height as an advantage. When I have a smaller guy on me, I can post up. When I have a bigger guy on me, I can drive to the basket or pull up for a jump shot.”