MINNEAPOLIS (Nexstar) — The Texas Tech Red Raiders were an arm’s length away from the national title, but the basketball team’s loss to Virginia does not mark the end.
As some players prepare for their next chapters, guard Matt Mooney and his family reflected on the historic season, their family support, and the Final Four breakout star’s future prospects.
Mooney, a graduate transfer who played at two other schools before landing at Tech, was nearly at a loss for words in the locker room after Monday’s championship game. His head hung low, and he answered reporters’ questions in a whisper. Understandable, considering his dedication to the game.
“He’s devoted to basketball and this is his dream, the NCAA,” his grandfather Sandy said. “That’s all he wanted— the NCAA.”
His siblings say he has an infectious personality and breathes basketball.
“His level of focus, and love for the game, it’s unlike anyone I’ve ever seen,” younger brother Joe said. “He’s playing his best basketball and there’s no better time to do it, right?”
Mary Kate Mooney said she now gets stopped in public and asked about her brother.
“I feel like I’m related to a celebrity,” she said. “So many people are following Matt and know who he is.”
Mooney said Sunday his family support at games throughout the season and into the college basketball tournament has helped him. He currently lives with his brother in Lubbock.
“He moved down to Lubbock with me when I decided to go there and got a job in sales and we live together,” Mooney said. “He has been supporting me all along, and then the rest of my family, they have been supporting me all along too.”
“It’s great to be able to have them come out here for the “Final Four and have them sitting on the sidelines, it’s awesome to have them here,” Mooney added.
Mooney’s other sister, Rachel, said she attends as many games as possible.
“To kind of be there throughout the whole season and then to make it here is crazy,” she said, sitting in the hotel lobby in Minneapolis where the Red Raiders stayed.
Mooney’s options are bright. As he and some of his teammates plan the next steps in their budding basketball careers, Mooney’s mom says scouts and agents are watching closely.
“He is certainly getting some NBA looks and comments,” his mom said. “Scouts and agents have been at the hotel already, we are already having those opportunities come in those conversations.
“That would be his dream to play beyond and I pray that he has that opportunity,” she said.