Yante Maten is doing everything in his power to keep his Georgia career going.
The Bulldogs’ senior forward has had two huge games already in this week’s SEC Tournament, and he’s taking his leadership from the floor to the huddles during timeouts to the next level.
During Thursday’s game against Missouri, Maten knew the exact adjustment his team needed to make on defense. So during the next timeout, he grabbed the coach’s whiteboard and diagramed what the Bulldogs needed to start doing against the Tigers.
Check it out, about 39 seconds into this video (if video doesn’t appear, click here to watch):
“Yeah I was just trying to tell the team that the point guard was on the big man, so we had to do more of a triple switch where he has to get to the corner and come back out,” Maten said to SEC Network’s Laura Rutledge after the game. “And whoever was the help-side big was to switch on where the point guard was.”
It was one of the many highlights in Georgia’s upset win over the Tigers, and you can see how much the rest of team locked right in on Maten as soon as he grabbed the board and sat down. By the end of the clip, you can see his teammates applauding him and getting pumped up as well as Mark Fox and the other coaches coming over to encourage him as well.
“I haven’t really considered it too much,” Maten said with a laugh after Rutledge asked if he’s considered a coaching career when his playing days are over. “But, I mean, it’s always an option.”
That level of leadership, along with his production on the floor is what helped make Maten the AP SEC Player of the Year. And he backed up his timeout talk with a great afternoon in the box score, finishing with yet another double-double of 21 points and 10 rebounds.
Maten and Georgia will look to continue their improbable run through the SEC Tournament, which they need to win in order to make the NCAA Tournament, against Kentucky on Friday afternoon. That game will begin about 30 minutes after the first game of the day, Alabama vs. Auburn, which tips off at 1 p.m. ET.
Georgia and Kentucky met only once this season — in Lexington in each team’s SEC opener — with the Wildcats winning 66-61 in another close game. Such games have become customary in recent seasons when these two teams meet, but Georgia has yet to get over the hump and leave the arena with a win in the matchup.