As a fourth grader, Jordan Mathews passed on a big shot in a basketball game. His team lost the championship. Mathews learned to never make that mistake again.
Fast forward to March 23, 2017. Mathews had another chance to step up in a big moment. This time he made it count.
"Coach Few said 'you hit the biggest shot in Gonzaga history'."
That shot is the three-pointer Mathews hit against West Virginia, giving Gonzaga the lead for good. It came at the end of a frantic sequence that the former GU guard remembers in vivid detail.
"I saw it all in slo-mo, like I saw Jevon Carter come behind Nigel and I like yelled at him. I'm like 'Nigel' and he took it and I'm like, 'no way'. Then I see Josh who can barely dunk jump way above Nathan Adrian and just block it and I'm like, 'oh I'm out'."
Nigel Williams-Goss found Mathews on a crosscourt feed in transition, and the shooting guard had already decided what was going to happen next.
"I got the ball and I said, 'I'm shooting this'," Mathews told KREM 2 Sports Director Darnay Tripp on his podcast 'The Press'. "That's like the Mathews gene.
"I like those situations the most because it's very simple, you either make it or you miss it."
Mathews hit the shot with less than a minute left, more than 15 minutes of game time, and more than a half hour in real time since his last shot attempt. While he sat on the bench he and Mark Few predicted the moment that would come.
"He kept on saying, 'I need you to make a shot, I need you to make it'. I'm like, 'Coach Few I got this, we're good'. So I was like I'm going in, I'm going to do what I do."
It's that attitude that has earned praise from his team for being a 'cold killer'.
"When I hit a shot like that I don't feel anything," Mathews said. "I just feel like they knew that was going to happen. I was like, 'yeah I was going to make that'. It's one of those things where it's not like arrogance, but I knew that my if teammates needed a big shot I was going to knock it down. I know I'm good for that."
Mathews has a unique disposition. Like a hired hand, he is emotionless when it comes time to step up in a big moment - as he is after the fact as well.
"Anytime it arises I don't really feel anything.
"I'm not sure what I'm supposed to feel. The only real excitement I felt was when we made the Final Four, and when we made the National Championship game. Other than that I didn't really feel like, I honestly didn't feel anything. Im just like, okay it is what it is."
The NBA hopeful also maintains a level of perspective that allows him to keep the big moments that arise in games from becoming any bigger than they actually are.
"There are grown men out there who lost their job today and they gotta to find food for their families. That's pressure, Basketball, not pressure."
You can hear Mathews' interview with Darnay from 'The Press' below.
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