New York Knicks training camp is underway and rookie Quentin Grimes has gotten his first taste of the NBA grind.
Life has been moving at a non-stop pace for both Grimes and his partner in crime, Matt Branch, who goes by Matt Keep Going.
This past week, I had the chance to talk to Matt. He works as Quentin Grimes’ Business Manager and is CEO of the Keep Going Group.
Matt is more than a business manager. He’s been with Quentin for every step of his NBA journey.
Upon talking to him, you quickly realize how focused, humble, and hungry both Matt Keep Going and Quentin Grimes are for sustained success in the world of basketball.
New York Knicks: Matt Keep Going is a name to remember
Matt lives and breathes basketball.
Like Quentin, he’s from just outside of Houston, Texas. He grew up playing basketball and began coaching the game after he played. He started coaching in the Houston area and that’s how he and Quentin Grimes first connected.
Matt never had any strong-set intention on managing players or running things from the business side. He just wanted to be close to basketball. Matt ended up on the coaching staff for an AAU team that Quentin Grimes would join, and that was the start of something bigger.
“I started coaching. I coach AAU basketball, I had my own team for awhile. I ended up with Q when he was 16 in his sophomore summer, ended up coaching on a staff that he ended up choosing to play for. My intention wasn’t to get into managing players or repping players, I was just a coach and was passionate about it.”
Matt carved his path through not just coaching basketball but being a valuable resource for others. The AAU grind is relentless and you have to put in the work to stick out and build relationships.
“What I excelled in was managing the team. I would drive the vans, do the laundry, and my job was to take care of the players. I’m an acts of service kind of guy. Player personnel was my forte. I understand how important that is to maintain camaraderie on the team.”
Matt and Quentin grew close in those AAU years.
Quentin Grimes was one of the top prospects in his class. Grimes was showing out for his high school team but was making a name for himself on the AAU circuit as well.
The summer before Quentin’s senior year, his last AAU summer, was described by Matt as a “rockstar vibe”. They would travel around the country, receive a ton of attention, and play in packed gyms.
It never got to their heads. Matt and Q remained even-keeled through the rising status and that’s what has made their bond so strong. It’s always been about basketball and basketball only.
As they prepare for life in the NBA, it’s abundantly clear that the same focused, humble mentality persists today.
Matt talked about that period where Quentin Grimes’ status as a prospect was climbing at an accelerated pace.
“It ended up being more than coaching with Q. He respected the fact that I didn’t want to get anything out of him, I wasn’t in awe of him… He really cares about relationships. When he was at college, I was there as a brother. As a fan and believer of his game. I’ve always been there for him, I’ve though the battles on social for him and in the city and he just wanted me to be a part of his journey.”
Adidas selected Grimes to be a part of a group of prospects called “The Path” that included the top recruits in the country: Immanuel Quickley, Zion Williamson, Romeo Langford, Darius Garland, and others. He was on the fast track to NBA stardom.
For those who don’t know Quentin Grimes’ college career story, it was an unusual one, but one that ended up defining the early part of his journey.
Grimes went to play at the University of Kansas in his freshman year and was already being projected as a potential top-5 pick in the NBA Draft. Things at Kansas just didn’t mesh as planned. One thing led to another, and he ended up transferring to the University of Houston.
Grimes continued to work on his craft, growing as an all-around player, and played two spectacular seasons for the Houston Cougars before declaring for the NBA Draft this past year.
We all know what happened next.
Grimes dominated at the NBA combine. Rumors had already begun to swirl that the New York Knicks were enamored with his game.
Matt shared a story about Quentin Grimes’ pro-day in Chicago.
“We walk into his pro day in Chicago. Travis King, who used to represent Amar’e Stoudemire and has been around the game for a while is there with us.
He has relationships with the Knicks, guys in the front office, Thibs. We walk in, the first staff we see sitting there is the New York Knicks.
Travis has been doing this a long time. Thibs and the staff are probably 8 rows up, and another guy is working out. And Travis yells out to Thibs, saying “This is ya’lls guy! I’m telling you man! This is your guy!”
Thibs is stoic and cool about it, and just nodding his head. The fact that he walked in their and was telling him that this was their guy… and this is where we ended up? You can’t make that stuff up.”
As someone who covers the New York Knicks, I can say that it even felt that way from the outside looking in. Quentin’s tenacity, commitment to defense, and complete player profile just seemed to line up perfectly with Tom Thibodeau’s philosophy and approach to the game of basketball. It seemed like it was picking up a lot of steam ahead of draft night.
Quentin Grimes didn’t get invited to the NBA Draft green room. Matt said that they really wanted to get the invite and it felt like he was “left out”.
At the end of the day, none of that extra stuff mattered. When Quentin was drafted into the NBA, being able to share that moment with his friends and family was better than they could have ever imagined.
Of course, Quentin had gotten the call before his name appeared on the screen. That doesn’t make the moment any less intense and emotional.
You can see Matt hyping Quentin up in the video. He said he had his emotional moment later that night when the reality of the situation really began to sink in.
They thought life on the AAU circuit was fast. Life in the NBA was moving at light speed.
It was only a week or so after the draft that Quentin and Matt were on a plane to Las Vegas, joining the New York Knicks for the NBA Summer League.
The chemistry between the young guys seemed apparent right from the jump.
As previously mentioned, Matt knew Immanuel Quickley from the AAU grind. He said that Quickley recognized him and came up to him in Vegas.
We continued to talk about the Summer League, how much fun that group was to watch on the court together, and just how special the young group of guys that the New York Knicks have put together can be.
The big names: Grimes, Quickley, Toppin, and McBride, looked like they had all been playing together for years. They all took turns lighting it up.
Fast forward just a few weeks, and here we are at training camp.
Matt has only been living in New York City for a few weeks. Between the non-stop hustle of the city and the never-ending traffic, he’s embracing it all.
When I asked him about what’s next in his journey, his answer was really two things: Basketball, and being there for others.
Matt’s group, The Keep Going Group LLC, has plans to expand and grow in the coming years.
“I have relationships with a lot of guys in college. I coached a younger team, class of 2025 players. You keep those relationships with the families and make sure everyone is growing. If one of those guys I used to work with makes it up the league, I would love to be involved.
It may not be the extent of me and Q’s relationship. I just want to grow. I just want to grow and never close any doors for myself. Becoming someone in the business that people can respect. I’m a basketball guy first. Basketball will always be first.”
He understands just how much this city loves basketball.
Yes, there are the bright lights of Madison Square Garden and all of the fame that comes with playing for the New York Knicks, but at its core, this city simply loves the game.
Matt compared the game of basketball to the city itself, the intimacy and non-stop pace at which it’s played can truly represent the city as a whole. From the way he describes it, Matt sounds like he’s been here for years.
That loves for the game and that ability to tune out all of the extra noise is why he and Quentin have been so close and have been able to grow together. Their relationship is what sparked the name “Keep Going”.
It’s about being legendary.
Matt said he doesn’t talk too much during Quentin’s games, but he’s there to give him that extra motivation. If he has 24 points at the end of the 3rd quarter, Matt will tell him, “Yea you got 24 points at the end of the third, but keep going. Be legendary, what can you really do?”
That’s what his journey has been about. Staying true to himself, taking all of the bumps along the ride, and keep going.