Matt Carlino shows up to the Marriott Center before each game dressed in his BYU uniform, ready to go. His energy is electrifying, and his confidence provides a comfort to the many BYU basketball fans who cheer his name after he makes a play.
Many of his biggest fans have noticed the changing role of the 6’2″ junior point guard from Arcadia, Ariz. in recent games.
Recently, Carlino became BYU’s own sixth man after being benched by head coach Dave Rose. The role has proven to be a hard adjustment for Carlino, but so far he has stayed positive about the transition.
“At this point, I just want to keep getting better by staying consistent in what I do and improve on the areas of the game that a point guard should improve on like controlling the game, getting other guys involved and knocking down my shots when I have them,” Carlino said.
By becoming the sixth man, Carlino has developed a role at BYU in his ability to come off the bench to rescue a tired, slowing team, completely transforming it and bringing the game back to life.
In the Jan. 11 game against Loyola Marymount, Carlino came off the bench in the first half to score 12 points, bringing the Cougars back into the game and ultimately helping the team hold out for a win.
On Jan. 16 against San Francisco, he contributed from the sixth man role again, tallying 17 points on 5-9 shooting in an 83-76 win over the Dons.
“He has accepted his role and done a really good job with (it),” said teammate Tyler Haws. “He is a team guy and willing to play any role, and this has ended up being a really positive thing for us.”
Rose likewise notices Carlino’s talent and energy, noting that with tough opponents approaching, the team is going to need his boost.
“He has been playing really well, and he had a great game this last Saturday night. The minutes that he gave us were really solid. He came in and really helped our team,” Rose said. “He gave us a good lift off the bench, which is a good sign. He has been something that our team needed and will need for future games.”
In the end, Carlino has found a place where he fits, filling a role and helping his teammates in a way no other player can match.
“When I go out there I try to really play with emotion and passion, and I think that rubs off on the other guys,” Carlino said. “We have won the last few games, so I really hope we keep that up, and I don’t want to relax on any games.”
The Cougars’ schedule gets more challenging from here, something that doesn’t seem to faze Carlino one bit. He plans to go out and give everything he’s got, including his spark.