Athlete of the Week: Wando's Matthew Pegram
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (WCIV) - Matthew Pegram is a 6-foot, 10-inch, 235-pound senior and Wando High who committed to playing at Wofford over the weekend.
Even though Wofford's head coach's name is being tossed around in Charleston as a possible successor to head coach Doug Wojcik, Pegram's pick to head to Wofford was easier than he though.
"I mean, I have a lot of family up there. My great uncle played there. It was a pretty easy decision when it came down to it," he said.
Following in his family's footsteps, Pegram is heading where his coach's career culminated as a player. It's a special opportunity, something he's only now realizing its scope.
"I didn't think it was that big of a deal, but I came to school Monday, the first day and everybody was saying congratulations. People I hadn't talked to before, such a big school, they were congratulating me. It was very cool," Pegram said.
Among them was David Eaton, Wando's basketball coach.
"It's great. I had a great time going to Wofford, playing for Coach Young. You wish for the best for all your players. To know he's going to get a great education and great coaching, that feels really good as a head coach," he said. "It says a lot about this school; it really takes a community to raise great athletes. I think it speaks volumes about what we're all doing here.
Pegram is the man in the middle. After working Wando to their first basketball state title a year ago, he still has unfinished business at the Chop House.
"Our goal again is to win a state championship, not go back-to-back, to win a state championship. Start from the bottom again," he said. "We weren't ranked at the beginning of the year last year, we will be this year, but we're going to act like last year's team. We got a lot to work for. If we play to the best of our ability, work hard in the off season, everything will fall in place."
"His size obviously is awesome. But ever since he came to this program, he has a great basketball IQ. Not a lot of big men have that. He really understands when to shoot, when to pass. He's learned to be a great defender. I think a lot of guys are obsessed with scoring, but he realizes there are a lot of other parts or way to affect the game. He's learned that. Leadership, taking charges, owning the boards, rebounds: he understands the little things," said Eaton.
But it's still a verbal commitment to Wofford. Things could still change, especially as head coach Mike Young continues to be a candidate for the job at College of Charleston.
Before all that, Pegram is focused on the job he has to finish at Wando.
"I'm going out with a bang. I've been here three years so far; we won a state championship last year. A lot of people say there's not much to do but there is - find the freshmen coming in this year and teach them the winning attitude we have and keep it going when I leave," Pegram said.
That's the attitude of a winner and the ABC News 4 Athlete of the Week.?