TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (seminoles.com) – Academic success matters to Florida State freshman Matthew Cleveland. Always has. Always will.
Cleveland graduated from Pace Academy in Atlanta with a 4.16 grade point average in the spring of 2021. He quickly transitioned to life as a college student and earned a perfect 4.0 grade point average during his first summer at Florida State.
Cleveland begins his first full semester having earned eight credits towards his degree in Sport Management – and most classes for freshmen have barely even begun.
“Academics have always been a priority in my family since I started kindergarten,” said Cleveland. “Our parents would always reward my siblings and me for doing well in school.”
While Cleveland has been heralded for his success on the basketball court, it’s in the classroom where he has really made his mark. Throughout his high school academic career, he earned only three grades below an A grade and never below a C grade.
Upon his arrival at Florida State, Cleveland made up his mind that he would work to ensure there are no grades less than an A.
“Many times in high school I was borderline of having all A grades and all 100 percent scores, but I would short cut some assignments,” said Cleveland. “I made sure that once I got to Florida State, I completed every assignment to the best of my abilities.”
The academic transition from high school to college is one of the biggest obstacles for every student.
“One of the greatest challenges in a student’s academic career is the adjustment in their first term from the structure of high school to the necessity of individual time management in the college environment,” said Charlie Hogan, the Associate Director of the Academic Support Unit for Athletics at Florida State. “Matthew’s ability to excel in the fast-paced summer session at Florida State while juggling a full schedule of academic and athletic requirements bodes well for his future academic pursuits.”
Cleveland has certainly made the correct choice to ensure his academic success while playing for the coaching staff that will help him achieve at the highest levels.
Since his arrival at Florida State in 2002, Hamilton has coached some of the nation’s most successful basketball players, in the classroom and on the court.
In the last five seasons, the Seminole Men’s Basketball players have earned a total of 38 ACC Academic Honor Roll selections and had nine players named to the All-ACC Academic Men’s Basketball Team. Hamilton ensures that his players leave campus with incredible basketball memories and one thing that can never be taken away from them – their degrees. Since the start of the 2003 season, a total of 71 of 73 players (97.3 percent) who have played through their senior seasons under Hamilton and his staff have earned their degrees.
On the court, Florida State is one of three teams in the nation that has played in the Sweet 16 of each of the last three NCAA Tournaments (Florida State, Gonzaga, Michigan), has finished 12th or higher in the national polls in each of the last three seasons and has appeared in both of the last two ACC Championship games (2019 against Duke and 2021 against Georgia Tech).
While his basketball success is important to Cleveland, his goals extend well beyond the court.
“My academic goal for my career here at Florida State is to always keep my GPA above a 3.7,” said Cleveland. “I believe that if I can achieve my goals in the classroom, then my other goals such as Dean’s List and All-ACC Academic honors are things I can accomplish.”
Cleveland received 27 high major scholarship offers when he was choosing which college he wanted to attend. He earned offers from Stanford, Michigan, Georgia Tech and North Carolina before ultimately choosing Florida State and Head Coach Leonard Hamilton.
“I attribute my academic success to the discipline and lessons my parents taught me at a young age,” said Cleveland. “They taught me about keeping your priorities in order. school is high on my list of priorities, so I always make sure that I finish my work on time and that I do it to the best of my ability.”
The two most important lessons Cleveland has carried with him are time management and work ethic.
“By transferring these characteristics from high school to college, it helps keep order and peace of mind so that I can get everything done in a timely manner,” said Cleveland.