Always a Panther – Panther Turns Pro Basketball Player

Matt McQuaid knew from the time he was a little boy that he wanted to play professional basketball. At the age of 24, that dream has become a reality.

The 2015 Duncanville High School graduate played college ball for Michigan State.  He was one of the team captains who led the Spartans to a 2019 Big Ten title and a berth in the 2019 NCAA Final Four.

Most athletes admire and want to emulate professionals who have forged the path before them. The one who left McQuaid star stuck was fellow Michigan State basketball great and NBA All-Star Magic Johnson.

“It was kind of crazy when I first shook his hand and he knew my name,” McQuaid said.  “I walked away and was like, ‘Hey, Magic Johnson knows who I am.’”

McQuaid earned a reputation for his flawless three point shot in high school. Moving to the college level, he had to develop stronger defense skills to get more court time. He credits his mom, Duncanville High School Campus Technology Instructor Karen McQuaid and Assistant Athletic Director Rob McQuaid for supporting him the entire time.

“My family has helped me along the way since I was little. My mom and dad have played a big part,” McQuaid said.

After going undrafted by the NBA, Matt got picked up by the Fraport Skyliners, a professional basketball team in Germany. In addition to living in a foreign country, graduating from college and taking on life as an adult has changed his entire process.

“There’s a lot of responsibility – you’re figuring out how to live on your own,” Matt said. “There’s definitely a lot more you need to take care of on and off the court.”

And Matt admits to missing his family and being homesick for his favorite Texas treats. “I haven’t had Whataburger in a really long time,” Matt said. “It’s one thing I really miss and all the Mexican food. I really miss that. It’s got my heart.”

Matt is sacrificing some of the comforts of home so he can pursue his passion.

“I want to play as long as I can. I’ve always wanted to play in the NBA but God has a plan for everybody. I’m taking it day by day – one step at a time.”