Minnesota State Academy for the Deaf alum Matthew Sherman got to represent the red, white and blue in competition.

Sherman was a member of the gold-medal winning team USA that competed June 27 to July 6 in Lublin, Poland. The stars and stripes were dominant, going 5-0 in the tournament and winning by 29 points per game.

USA pulled away from a nine-point lead to thrash Lithuania 105-77 in the finals to win the 15-team tournament.

“Winning the championship game was the highlight of the whole experience,” said MSAD and Gallaudet University alum Sherman, “because we accomplished what we went there to do.”

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Sherman noted the team’s chemistry was “absolutely fantastic” despite only having a few practices together before venturing overseas.

“We were able to gel together with a system that maximized our talents to play at a higher level as a team,” Sherman said via email. “Our coaches emphasized the importance of understanding our roles and play as a team.”

In pool play, USA beat Greece 69-53 and Japan 93-41. In bracket play, the Americans thumped Spain 105-55 and Russia 91-76 before facing the basketball-crazed nation of Lithuania.

“Other than competing in the world championship for two weeks, we got to know many deaf people who are from all across the world,” Sherman said. “Because of the language differences, we communicated through universal sign language which many could understand. Just like the spoken languages, there are many different languages to choose from in sign language. In our spare time, we got the opportunity to travel around the city of Lublin. We visited old town and saw some historical places.”

Lublin’s population is 339,000 and is about 100 miles southeast of Warsaw.

The 6-foot-4 forward Sherman was the only Minnesotan on the 11-man roster. He hails from Angora, a township in the northeast corner of the state.

The 2016 high school graduate was a standout on successful MSAD teams in football, basketball and track and field.

The USA deaf women’s team won the bronze medal. The Americans were the top team among the two tournaments.

“It is a chance to proudly represent your country,” Sherman said of the first-time opportunity. “It is something that goes beyond which state you come from or what team you belong to when we all got together with a common goal of winning the gold. To be able to do the thing you love for the country you love is almost surreal.”

Reach Sports Editor Mike Randleman at 507-333-3119 or on Twitter @fdnmike.

© Copyright 2019 APG Media of Southern Minnesota. All Rights Reserved.

Sports reporter for the Faribault Daily News. Graduated from Iowa State University in 2016. Originally from Eden Prairie, Minnesota.

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