The search for his next chapter is over for Frederick’s Matias Aldana. The choice is in: the senior basketball player will move on to Black Hills State University in Spearfish, S.D.
“I was excited to have the opportunity to visit Black Hills State University and receive the invitation from Coach (Ryan) Thompson,” Aldana said. “During the recruitment process, my family and I have kept all possibilities open. I, personally, was waiting to feel it in my gut. My parents coached me about the gut feeling, and I felt it when we visited."
His official visit sealed the deal.
“The other factor that impacted my decision was the connection I felt with the coaches,” Aldana said. “They were genuine, transparent, and I felt a strong sense of community and positive culture, not just within the program, but the university.”
Aldana helped the then-Warriors and present Golden Eagles to the state basketball semifinals the past two seasons. He averaged almost 10 points, six rebounds and two assists per game this season. His stat line also included two steals and 1.6 blocked shots per contest.
Aldana drew some interest from several colleges, including: Augustana College in Rock Island, Ill., Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon, Lassen Community College in Susanville, Calif., the University of Wisconsin-Superior, William Penn University in Oskaloosa, Iowa, and Carroll College in Helena, Mont.
“I spoke to my family about the possibilities of being away from home,” Aldana said. “They were very supportive of keeping all options on the table and always reminded me that no matter where I go to study and play, home is always home.”
Aldana wants to study sports management. But BHSU's exercise science program also caught his attention. Fortunately, he has some time to figure it out.
“After college, I am interested in pursuing a career that makes me happy and successful,” he said. “At this time I am not sure what that looks like exactly. I am in pursuit of exploring and finding my way. As for basketball, my relationship with hoops will alway live in my heart and soul. It has taught me so much about life and about me. I do know that basketball and its memories will always live in my spirit.”
Like many other high-school athletes, Aldana felt the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Many (college) players exercised the fifth-year option, which impacted available opportunities across all sports,” Aldana said. “I feel extremely grateful and blessed to even have the opportunity to play at the next level and compete, considering how limited spots are on teams.”
He said he was scared, nervous and excited about what’s to come. But he's ready to take it all in stride.
“I am scared of leaving my family. I come from a traditional Mexican-American family that has provided me support, love, motivation and inspiration,” Aldana said. “I will keep that close to my heart as I move through this journey. I am excited for the future and all that is to come. I am nervous as the unknown sometimes can bring those feelings but the excitement balances that out.”
Aldana also played on the Golden Eagles’ football team in the fall. But he's grateful for his time at Frederick and will look fondly on it always. It's time to move forward, though, and he's thankful.
“I just would like to thank God, my family, and all my coaches that believed in me and have supported me in this journey, all the teachers that have impacted my life and taught me many valuable lessons,” Aldana said.
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