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The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

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Matthews Coaches Top Talent at NCAA Academy

Darrick Matthews was selected to coach at a basketball academy in Memphis, Tennessee
Darrick Matthews uses one of his limited timeouts to bring his team together during the NCAA academy.

Darrick Matthews, USAO’s head women’s basketball coach, was selected to coach at the 2023 NCAA College Basketball Academy in Memphis, Tennessee in late July. Matthews said he was honored to be part of the debut year for the women’s academy. The four-day camp started July 28 and concluded July 31. The players and coaches gathered at the Memphis Sports and Event Center for the academy.

Matthews was one of 76 women’s basketball coaches selected to coach at the academy. He coached alongside David Foley, Saint Mary’s University of Minnesota, and together they lead a team of eight players. The purpose of the academy is to continue to strengthen the game of women’s basketball, evaluate top talent, and give back to the sport according to Matthews.

“We’re trying to get eight players to come together. The whole point was not really to win a championship – we all try to do that at our own school. The whole point was just trying to get them to see how it is to be a part of a college program,” Matthews said.

The day-to-day schedule for Matthews was chalked full of events. He said he started his mornings with a 5 a.m. workout with Foley, a quick breakfast around 6:15 a.m., and then jumping on the charter bus at the gym at 6:45 a.m. Then Matthews and his team would have a morning game, around 9 or 10 a.m. before moving to life skills in the early afternoon.

An important part of the academy was teaching the players and their chaperons about being college athletes. The life skills portion of the camp brought in guest speakers to talk about recruitment, eligibility, the NCAA, and other useful information.

Afterwards, the teams would head back to the gym for their afternoon game. After the final game of the day, Matthews said he would head back to his hotel where he relaxed and mingled with other coaches and players.

A few notable coaches that Matthews got to meet included Dawn Staley, head coach at South Carolina University; Kim Mulkey, head coach at Louisiana State University; Geno Auriemma, head coach at the University of Connecticut; Diana Richard, head coach at Temple University; and Bobbie Kelsey, former coach at Wisconsin University.

Returning to Matthews’s personal experience, he said he brought back some valuable information to his team at USAO. He said the NCAA camp taught his to simplify the game of basketball because everyone learns differently or has been exposed to different terminology. He also said that he learned a lot from Foley and the women on his team.

“I learned that in order to effectively coach and guide them, it is crucial to quickly establish trust and open lines of communication. By taking the time to understand each athlete’s individual goals, strengths, and weaknesses, I was able to tailor my coaching approach to meet their specific needs. This not only helped them improve their skills and performance, but also fostered a positive and supportive team environment,” Matthews said. “Additionally, I realized the significance of providing constructive feedback and encouragement to help athletes grow and develop both on and off the field.”

Matthews said that he hopes the players realized the importance of embracing every opportunity that comes their way. He said his team taught him that success is not just about talent, but also the willingness to push yourself and constantly striving to be better. He continued to say that they reminded him how important it is to set goals, stay focused, and finding ways to give back.

“I hope to apply this mindset in my own pursuits, taking advantage of the opportunities that come my way and approaching them with the same level of determination and drive that I witnessed in the athletes at the NCAA academy,” Matthews said.

Matthews will begin his eighth year as USAO’s head women’s basketball coach this fall.


Emily Loughridge is a third-year communication major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

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About the Contributor
Emily Loughridge
Emily Loughridge, Editor-in-Chief
Emily is a fourth-year communication major from Union City. Emily is obtaining minors in psychology and liberal arts, as well. She has been on staff for The Trend since the fall of 2021 and loves working with the writers on ideas! Emily also works in the Sports Information Department on campus as the Student Assistant. When she isn't studying or working, Emily can normally be found watching Scrubs, Reba, or How I Met Your Mother and enjoying ice cream with her boyfriend.   Experience with The Trend: Editor-in-Chief: Dec. 2022 - present Managing Editor: May 2022 - Nov. 2022 Contributing Writer: Aug. 2021 - April 2022