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Matiss Kulackovskis: Latvian enhances Ryan basketball team

Brendan Scanlon

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Sometimes, it is scary for a kid to transfer to a different neighborhood school. The kid does not know many kids, he has to adapt to his new classes, and if he is an athlete, he has to join a new team.

Imagine coming to not only a new school but a new country halfway across the world. That is the new life of Matiss Kulackovskis.  Kulackovskis is an 18-year-old high school student who lived the first 17 years of his life in Latvia. Last summer, Kulackovskis made the decision to live in America and have Archbishop Ryan be the place where he would finish his high school education.

“At first, the transition was scary and I did not know how the kids would view me. To my surprise, they welcomed me with open arms,” Kulackovskis said.

Kulackovskis already knew a few kids in the school before his first day of class, which made the move a little easier. Kulackovskis is on the Archbishop Ryan basketball team which holds summer workouts. At these workouts, Kulackovskis met kids who would become his second family.

“I would see them everyday and they became great friends of mine,” Kulackovskis said.

Kulackovskis is a huge contributor on the team, too. He was a starter last year and now is second on the team in scoring this year. Recently, he has been named to first team All Catholic for his senior campaign – a huge honor for a league that has been so talented for so long. His next goal is to attend a Division I college.

Kulackovskis definitely has the talent to achieve this goal, and he just received his first full scholarship to Bowling Green, a Division I school in Ohio. Other schools are expected to offer him scholarships shortly.

No one could be happier for him than fellow Archbishop Ryan student and basketball teammate Devon Vargas. This is because Kulackovskis and Vargas are roommates. Kulackovskis has lived with Vargas since this summer. Vargas said he has never had a problem with the 6’7” European.

“He has been like a brother to me and I never regret the decision to have him come live with me.” Vargas said.

This recent offer to Bowling Green means Kulackovskis will yet again be making another big move to a new unknown place, Ohio.

“I have moved before so for now I am just excited for the opportunities America is offering me” Kulackovskis said.

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