I must start this interview by saying that I am most thankful for this opportunity because this guy was someone I looked up to in my younger days and wanted to shoot the outside shot just like he did. When I asked him to do this, I sort of half expected a blow off but the man was nothing but friendly and willing. He did not hold back when some of this involved personal business but I could not help but feel like that teenage kid again reading his responses. Without further ado,I present to you the man who shot the three with an Orange three on his jersey, Mr. Matt Roe.
12 Reasons Why.....#3 Matt Roe Was More Then Just A Great Three Point Shooter
1. Matt, I have to start by saying it is an honor for you to do this as a lifelong Orange fan. For those not familiar with you, could you tell us a little about yourself?
Well, I was born in Rochester, NY and have lived in Syracuse since the age of 2. I went to F-M HS. Was lucky enough to play for Syracuse for three years and then transferred to Maryland for 2 years (having to sit out a year).
After college, I tried out twice for the NBA (last cut with Seattle in 1991 and the free agent camp with the Washington Bullets in 1994 but decided to take the guarantee money in Europe. I played 1 year in the CBA for the Sioux Falls Sky Force. I also played six year in Europe (Switzerland and France) and in Israel.
I then was an assistant coach at Fairfield University for three years. I then went into Financial Services as a Financial Advisor at HSBC Bank and three years ago I started my own State Farm agency back in Syracuse, NY. Who says you can never come home??
2. You played for the Syracuse Orangemen basketball team until your junior year. How was your experience on that those teams and if you don't mind me asking, why did you decide to transfer to Maryland?
I don't mind you asking at all. I get that question all the time. I have also heard all the rumors that are entertaining. It is tough on anybody to make a decision like that at 19 years old but looking back- it was not one I would do over again. The bottom line is that I wanted to have a shot at the NBA. Nobody ever thought I could play at a high level Div I program like Syracuse and I did prove a lot of people wrong. The general consensus was that I would not be able to play at the pro level. I was the 4th leading scorer on the SU team behind Sherman Douglas, Stevie Thompson, Derrick Coleman (and also Billy Owens was right there as well and a rising Sophomore). So with Sherman graduating (and he was the one who set me up for the 3's most of the time) and no returning PG, and losing some of my playing time to Dave Johnson at the end of my junior year- I decided to look at other teams. Coach Boeheim always told me I could come back if I didn't like any of my visits. I visited Kentucky, Loyola Marymount, Rutgers and Northwestern. I really had not made up my mind to leave until I got a call from Gary Williams- he had just received the job at University of Maryland. It was a perfect fit for me but I did not know they were about to go on probation. I ended up staying there and averaging about 18 pts a game but we had no exposure and our great PG Walt Williams broke his leg 1/2 into the season. Its funny, the next year- SU really struggled from the 3pt line, had Leron Ellis transfer in and ended up trying Stevie Thompson at the PG position and then moving Michael Edwards there (also Dave Johnson struggled and really did not play much his Sophomore year). I really believe I could have been a "Reid Getty's" (Houston) type of PG for that team and we had a chance to win a National Championship. I cannot change the past, only move forward- but that is the real story.
3. You later played a few years of pro basketball and even did some coaching. Where did you play/coach after you graduated from Maryland and what memories do you have from those days?
Kind of answered that question above. Great memories of Europe playing. Always a pleasure to play the game you love and get paid for it. I coached at Fairfield University which was a struggle for me b/c when you play at a school like SU, you are accustomed to winning all the time. It is tough to coach at a school when you lose more than you win.
4. You are now working as an insurance agent with for State Farm (http://www.mattroe3.com/), how did that come about? Why should someone sign on with you as their insurance agent?
It came about because I love to help people do the right thing and I always wanted to own my own business. With the way this economy has been the past year or so, it seems to be the right move. My job still involves day to day coaching and mentoring with my team of three staff members. I also enjoy financial planning- which State Farm had the #1 rated Mutual Funds by Barron's in 2008.
Why should someone sign up with me- because I am very hard working and I will always do the right things for my clients. We just believe in Superior Service and giving people the best value for their money. It always goes back to hard work for me every time.
5. Those who listen to Orange basketball games may know you also do some work with the voice of the Orange Matt Park. Was that something you always wanted to do or just an opportunity you just could not refuse to do?
Matt Park is one of the best in the business. People have no idea really how talented he is. He makes my job very easy.
For me it was a way to stay involved in my community and a sport I love. I feel very fortunate that Coach Boehiem has given me an opportunity to do the color commentating for the flagship radio station. I am probably the only transfer in the country that is doing the radio for his former school.. Coach Boeheim also was the one who helped me get my first job in coaching with Tim O'Toole and Fairfield so I am very thankful to Coach for that.
6. As a former Orange and someone who watches them play, what are your impressions of this 2008-2009 Orange team? Any guy in particular you just love to watch when the ball is in their hand? I also have to ask, who do you think is the better 3 point shooter, you or Andy Rautins?
I really love watching Jonny Flynn play- he is so competitive. I also enjoy Andy Rautins.
Yes, he is a better shooter than me. He shoots deeper but for my pride I would say the %'s don't lie. But Andy is much more all around than I was- he defends, passes, handles (where my ball handling did not improve until I went over to Europe where you had to create to score 25pts a game).
7. Speaking of Andy, with him on the team now and Brandon Triche coming in next year being local high school athletes and you being one yourself, do you find there is a lot of expectations them to perform and what advice would you give them?
There is always expectations on a local kid. But I firmly believe Coach would not recruit them if he felt they could not play. Andy is very mature for his age and has a great head on his shoulders. I don't know Brandon- but if he is a relative of Howie's- he will be very prepared as well. He seems to have a great feel for the game and plays mature and not flashy or showy. The only advice I would give is to play hard and have fun. College flies by very fast.
I just did an interview with Derrick Coleman in NYC and he is just such a fantastic guy. We have both grown up so much and he is just so into the SU program and giving opportunities to inner-city kids. I got the chills talking to him b/c I was so inspired by him and his great smile and all his memories. He made me feel more guilty about my transfer decision. But for me and him now, it is all about our families and kids. That is what is most important to me. I have a beautiful wife Kristen, six year old daughter Lexie and my son Trevor is four.
8. You played alongside some of Syracuse's biggest names during your tenure on the team. What was that like and do you still keep in touch with any of your former teammates? Any of them clients of State Farm with you as their agent(http://www.mattroe3.com/)?
None of them are clients of State Farm b/c most of them don't live in NY (that is the only State I can write in). Mike Hopkins will be, along with my former roommate and lacrosse goalie Matt Palumb.
As I mentioned, I saw Derrick Coleman and Billy Owens over the weekend at the Big East Tournament. I saw Sherman Douglass a few years ago when Coach was honored by the NYAC in NYC after winning the Championship. Stevie Thompson has come to SU for Exhibition games the past two years. It is hard to stay in touch b/c we all live in different parts of the country.
9. Many Orange fans are very faithful to those who wore Syracuse jerseys and some are not shy about their opinions about the team. Do you enjoy the attention at times or can it be overwhelming at times? What is the best way to approach Matt Roe for a fan interested in a photograph/autograph with you?
Trust me- we all love it- especially when our playing days are over. A lot of people still recognize my name but they don't recognize me now b/c I am bald. It takes people a few looks to figure it out!! But no, anybody can approach me at any time.
10. Do you follow any other sports teams and Orange sports? When your not in the Dome, where are you most likely to see a game? You a homebody or love to interact at sports bars?
I don't go to other sporting events often. I really love watching the games at the Dome. I am really all about work and my family. We spend our summers out on Otisco Lake- boating, fishing, etc. Great way to unwind from work!!
11. Recently Syracuse and Connecticut had a SIX overtime game in the Big East conference tournament. What did you think of the game and is it the best game you have ever seen? What is your favorite memory as a player in a big game situation?
Well, I announced that game (it was my 3rd that day). It was the greatest I have ever seen. I give a lot of respect to the players for their fortitude and to keep coming back every OT except for the 6th and last. That defined HEART and COURAGE to me. The fans were just as great at MSG. Anybody who attended that game will NEVER forget it. Once in a lifetime. The way the fans stood on their feet for each overtime was incredible.
My favorite memory as a player was really not even when I was on the floor playing. Had to be our run in 1987 when we went to the Final Four- but the worst was when Keith Smart hit that jump shot. So it was the highest of the highs and lowest of lows.
12. Your Free Space: Matt Roe, I can not tell you how much I appreciate having you do this for the blog and the Orange fans. Now that I have asked what I wanted to ask, this is your time to say anything you want the fans to know whether it's an opinion on something or pitching State Farm insurance from #3 Matt Roe(http://www.mattroe3.com/). The floor is yours Mr. Roe.
I would love to pitch State Farm b/c all season our radio station has other sponsors and does not allow that but that would probably bore everybody. I will say this though, State Farm except that it is an exceptional company and I love doing what I do as an agent, you would never be disappointed if I was your agent. With that being said, on to hoops and the Syracuse Community.
I just want to thank the ENTIRE Syracuse Community for taking me back with open arms and I am sure some people are upset that I transferred. I have never felt uncomfortable ONE DAY living here. The people of this community have been nothing but supportive for me and my family. It was like I never left and I really appreciate that from the bottom of my heart.
This community has so much to offer- great fans, great schools and a great basketball team!!Thank you very much for this opportunity Chuck- your questions were very original and I had a very good time going back down memory lane!!Thanks
I would be speechless except this is a blog and I have to thank Matt Roe again for agreeing to do this interview. And if you did not previously like his transfer, which as a young man confused me, I must say that each one of us should welcome him back into the family. I have heard the games on the Syracuse ISP with Matt Park and Matt Roe and they do a great job. Oh and if your in the market, check out http://www.mattroe3.com/ . If you will excuse me, I think it's time I get some sleep and head to the Y and sit outside the three point line and remember the days when I wanted to shoot them like Matt.