Eastwick brings Gilman basket of respect Princeton forward seeks 4th NCAA tourney in row

January 04, 1992|By Paul McMullen

David Wingate, Reggie Williams, Reggie Lewis, Duane Ferrell. It's quite an illustrious club, and one Matt Eastwick figures to join this year.

No, Eastwick isn't going to follow those better-known Baltimoreans into the NBA. He will, however, most likely follow their lead and appear in his fourth straight NCAA tournament, as a forward for Princeton.

Not bad for a guy from Gilman School, which despite having one of the state's most well-rounded athletic programs has never been known as a hotbed for Division I basketball prospects.

"Gilman isn't thought of as a basketball school," said Eastwick, whose Tigers face Loyola today at 2 at Reitz Arena. "The inner-city schools and the Catholic League schools have the better basketball tradition. For a lot of the guys I played with at Gilman, basketball was their second or third sport."

Eastwick was a pretty potent pitcher for the Greyhounds and has spent his college summers in an assortment of internships with the Baltimore Orioles, but basketball became his No. 1 sport in his sophomore year at Gilman. That happens when you're already 6 feet 6 at age 16. Even then, Eastwick was leaning toward a Princeton education.

"Reddy Finney, the headmaster, and Sherman Bristow [the Greyhounds' former athletic director] both went to Princeton," Eastwick said. "There were 94 in my graduating class, and eight of us went to Princeton."

In addition, Carl Eastwick, who played some JV football for the Tigers, is Princeton Class of 1966. In tow for his father's 20th reunion, Matt was sent into the maze that is Jadwin Gym, in search of the basketball offices.

"I was wandering around, looking for Coach [Pete] Carril," Eastwick said. "I didn't know what he looked like, and I thought the person I was asking directions from was a janitor. It was Carril."

Carril's first impression of Eastwick wasn't overwhelming either. A solid 6-8 and 235 pounds, Eastwick was an honorable mention All-Metro with averages of 19 points and 12 rebounds as a Gilman senior, but there were weaknesses in his game. He played one summer on a Project Survival team with Devin Boyd [Towson State], Lewis Lambert [Cleveland State] and Craig Amos [St. Joseph's], but seasoning was a must.

"No offense to his prep school, but Matt had a lot to learn when he came to us," Carril said. "Playing against good players in practice every day, Matt accelerated very quickly [gaining a starting berth late in his freshman year]. He's had a good career for us. We've asked him to do a little more of everything as he's gotten older.

"He still needs more confidence. When things aren't going well for him, he hangs his head. Then I get mad at him, he gets mad at me, and he plays a little better."

Eastwick turned down a Morehead Scholarship to North Carolina -- an economics major, he had a 1,390 SAT score -- in part because he wanted to play Division I basketball, a more realistic goal in the Ivy League than as a walk-on in the ACC. He has prospered in a system that uses constant motion and all of the shot clock at the offensive end, and one that has been the nation's defensive leader nine of the last 16 years.

A foot stress fracture limited Eastwick to appearances in only three of the first 19 games during his freshman season, but he started Princeton's last eight in 1988-89. It was the year the Tigers had a one-point loss to Georgetown in the first round of the NCAAs.

As a sophomore, when he averaged career bests of 7.3 points and 3.4 rebounds, Eastwick had 17 points in an NCAA first-round, four-point loss to Arkansas. The Tigers lost in last year's first round by two to Villanova.

Averaging 6.4 points and 2.5 rebounds in close to 24 minutes a game, Eastwick again shares his forward spot with Chris Marquardt. They are among a senior class expected to become the first to win four Ivy League titles since Penn was dominant from 1970-75.

"We were ranked No. 18 in the nation and seeded eighth in our regional when we lost to Villanova last year," Eastwick said. "We're not a novelty act anymore. We're not just happy to get in the NCAAs anymore."

Pete Carril at Princeton

+!Seasons .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .25

Overall record .. 428-221 (.659)

Ivy League record .259-78 (.769)

NCAA tournaments .. .. .. .. ..9

NITs .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..2

Avg. pts. scored per game ..59.8

Avg. pts. given up per game 51.8

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