Costello out to prove his shooting skills with Hawks

Matt Costello says he didn’t get to utilize his outside shot at Michigan State.

The big man is getting that chance in training camp with the Hawks.

Costello impressed Hawks management with the skill during his pre-NBA Draft workout. After he was not selected, he signed a partially guaranteed contract and went to the Las Vegas Summer League with the Hawks. Now, the real work has begun as Costello tries to impress to earn a spot on an overcrowded roster.

“Just their system and how they do things here, it fits my game and how I do things,” Costello said of his choice to join the Hawks. “I wanted to see if I could make an impact here and try to fit into their team. …

“One of the things I didn’t do in college is shoot that much. They’ve given me an opportunity to shoot here, something they saw in the pre-draft workout. I can do it. Also, moving the ball. Here, they play out of their (power forwards) and (centers). They try to play out of the elbows or at the top and let them quarterback a little bit. I feel like I do that pretty well has far as (dribble handoffs), swinging the ball, things like that.”

The 6-foot-9 Costello played four seasons at Michigan State. The forward is the school’s all-time leader in blocks with 146. As a senior, he averaged 10.7 points, 8.2 rebounds, 1.3 assists and 1.2 blocks in 22.9 minutes.

In six games with the Hawks’ summer league entry, Costello averaged 5.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 1.2 assists in 18.2 minutes.

Following summer league, Costello returned home, got married and went on his honeymoon. He returned to Atlanta after Labor Day to begin voluntary workouts. There he experienced the sudden realization of the increase in competition at the NBA level.

“Everybody knows how to play basketball here,” Costello said. “Like, everybody. It doesn’t matter if you are the point guard or the big, you know all the positions. Everybody has a special skill, whether it’s your body, your shooting, your ball-handling. Everybody has something special and most people have two or three tools. It’s more difficult to guard. It makes the basketball more fun.”

Costello knows he is a long shot to make the Hawks final roster. However, he has the chance to prove to the Hawks and the NBA that he can play, something he called a “fantastic opportunity.”

“I’m going to deal with that when it comes,” Costello said. “You never know what can happen. The NBA is a crazy league. That’s what everybody says. I’m just going to keep working hard every day and if it doesn’t work out with the Hawks, it doesn’t work out. But I’m going to give it my best and they are going to know that I’m a good player.”

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