Matta's rise is a testament to a work ethic that traces back to his hometown, where his father, Jim, was a coach and the athletic director at Hoopeston--East Lynn High. ("All I wanted to be was my dad," Thad says.) You can still detect an Illinois accent in the way Matta says "Hupston," and you can hear the respect in his voice for the town's farmers and for the workers he'd see on break from the American National Can plant.
Now he's bringing the same attitude to Ohio State. If the man from Hoopeston can turn Columbus into a hoops town, anything's possible.