Updated: Jul 22
The prestigious Pangos All-American Camp, an invite-only event featuring the top high school prospects in the nation, returned this summer after it was cancelled due to the pandemic last year. Pro Insight was on hand to evaluate the event and caught up with Matas Buzelis of Brewster Academy (NH) and Mac Irvin Fire (IL). Buzelis was selected to the Top-60 Cream of the Crop Game and had 12 points (2/5 3FG) and four rebounds in the showcase. A rising junior with unique offensive skills for his size (6’9’), Buzelis plays unselfishly and possesses a smooth jumper, functional handle, and underrated court vision.
As part of the Pro Insight Q&A series, Buzelis talked about potentially representing Lithuanian on the global stage one day, growing up as a swimmer, his recruitment update, and more.
For the next installment of the Pro Insight Q&A series, we present 2023 prospect Matas Buzelis, from Willowbrook, Illinois:
Pro Insight: What has been your impression of Pangos All-American Camp?
Matas Buzelis: It's a really great experience for me to play against the top players in the country. Camp is well organized and competition is tough. Dinos Trigonis has been doing this for years so he is a pro at this.
PI: Talk a bit about your background.
MB: I am a first-generation American. Both my parents came from Lithuania 20+ years ago and settled in Chicago. We speak the Lithuanian language at home. I play for Mac Irvin Fire EYBL (IL) and Full Package Athletics (IL). Also Brewster Academy is my school.
PI: Do you have any aspirations to play for Lithuania in the future?
MB: Of course! Actually after the EYBL tournament I will be going to U18 Lithuanian National Team camp.
PI: Did you play any other sports growing up?
MB: Yes I did. I was actually a pretty good swimmer. Also played tennis, and soccer.
PI: What were your swim races?
MB: My bests were 50-meter 100-meter breaststroke. Basically all strokes in short distances.
PI: Has anything you learned in swimming translated into basketball?
MB: Swimming teaches you to breathe, move against resistance of water, you have your heart rate up all the time. Definitely builds endurance. Almost every muscle is used in swimming so you really move differently in the water — also swim meets taught me how to remain calm in the chaos.
PI: Who have you enjoyed playing with on your Pangos team?
MB: I enjoyed everyone on my team. You gotta go to work with people you get.
PI: For those who aren’t familiar with your game, describe your biggest strengths.
MB: My biggest strength is I share the ball really well, and I'm just an overall fun person to play with. I'm athletic and versatile. I love playing point guard but I can play whatever position you want me to. I am unselfish and can make the difficult pass, I read screens well, I am a good shooter, and good in the catch and shoot. Also love playing defense. I play European basketball with American style.
PI: Do you feel the game is more fun when moving the ball and playing free?
MB: Yes, for sure. That's like the best way to play I think in my opinion. Everyone shares the ball. Everyone's involved. Everyone has a role on the team and it just makes the game 10 times more fun.
PI: Who do you model your game after or try to study on film?
MB: I like to watch Bradley Beal, Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Jayson Tatum.
PI: What have you been working on this summer?
MB: Right now I am working on my mid range, the one foot stuff, acceleration, step backs, reading screens, and being a screen. This summer we really worked on catch and shoot because usually I was shooting off the dribble, but since I got taller again I can move around and play on the wing. I think I really progressed on that. Getting stronger is always a priority, too.
PI: How has your AAU season been with Mac Irvin Fire so far?
MB: It's been good. We're going to a Nike tournament to compete soon so it’s exciting.
PI: J.J. Taylor, he's on your AAU squad. What is it like playing with him?
MB: It's awesome. He's amazing. He's a great team player. And he is also just a fun person to be around.
PI: What is your recruitment update?
MB: I am talking to a lot of coaches. Trying to get to know everyone and learn as much as I can. Basically listening is a key.
PI: Who are you hearing from the most lately?
MB: Schools who are recruiting me or I have offers from I hear from them often.
PI: What are you ultimately looking for in a school of your choice?
MB: For me it’s not going to be about the program, it’s going to come down to that one person — the Head Coach — and his style of play. Someone who is looking for a 6’10” guard, who can develop me the best and just who can play the best team basketball. That's like the main thing for me.
PI: At the end of the day, what do you hope to be remembered for?
MB: I want to be remembered for just being a good human, a fun person to be around and fun guy that can play ball.