Westmoore’s Matthew Mussett – Academic Athlete of the Month Presented by Republic Bank & Trust

By John Tranchina

After playing on the Westmoore basketball team the past two years under different types of upperclassmen leaders, Matthew Mussett selected the qualities that he liked and didn’t like about them and now as a senior, has formulated his own leadership style. 

“Last year, we had really good leaders and two years ago, the leaders were kind of sub-par, so from some previous years, I kind of had a mixture of good examples and bad examples,” he said. “I just put those all together and made it into the kind of leader I try to be.” 

Mussett prefers to utilize a more positive approach.

“Instead of teaching by yelling or degrading someone,” he said, “I think a good leader lifts a person up, tells them what they did wrong and then tells them to fix it next time, and tells them that they’re good, just try to keep them in that mindset.” 

The Jaguars are in need of a good leader, too, because they lost several starters off of last season’s team that went 6-17 and lasted just one game in the Class 6A regional playoffs. Despite their inexperience, Mussett still believes that Westmoore can surprise some people this year by embracing the underdog role. Through games of Dec. 9, they were 1-1.

“I feel like most people, most teams will think of us as an easy win and just go to the next game, but I feel like we’re going to have some upsets and we’re going to be an underdog most of the season,” he said. “We did lose a lot of seniors and only have a couple of people coming back, so people are doubting us.” 

In order to do his part helping the team on the court, Mussett has been working on his shooting a lot in preparation for the season, as well as his mental mindset.

“I’ve been working on my confidence and just keep shooting, just trying to find my rhythm throughout the game,” said Mussett, who doesn’t play any other sports but does compete in bass fishing tournaments. “If I don’t make the first couple of shots, just keep shooting. That’s kind of my role, a shooter and then defense. I used to just quit shooting and only pass if I missed a couple of shots, I wouldn’t even shoot again, so just making sure that I believe in myself, that I can make the next shot.”

He has definitely made some progress in both areas and it hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“Matt has stepped into a senior leadership role and is playing with a lot of confidence,” said Westmoore’s first-year coach Todd Millwee. “He has consistently been a leader on and off the court for us.”

Mussett also excels in the classroom, and as a member of the National Honors Society, recognizes that his first priority is to his academics. He will likely attend the University of Oklahoma next year and doesn’t plan to play basketball.

“School comes first and basketball comes second, and if I want to do good in college, I have to be dedicated to schoolwork first,” said Mussett, who is also a member of the FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes). “Also, my mom and dad push me really hard to keep basketball second and school first.”