Prior to starting his coaching career in Vietnam, Matthew Van Pelt had traveled to over 25 different countries, gaining basketball experience as a player for nearly ten years.

This experience has greatly contributed to the 32-year-old’s accomplishments in his coaching role in Vietnam.

Over the past two years, Van Pelt has consistently achieved remarkable successes while leading the Vietnamese national basketball team.

He played a crucial role in securing Vietnam’s first-ever silver medal in 3×3 basketball at the 31st Southeast Asian Games in 2022.

As a result of this remarkable achievement, the coach was nominated in the ‘Foreign Expert of the Year’ category at the 2022 Victory Cup.

He also guided the Vietnamese 5×5 basketball team in the FIBA Asia qualifying round.

Coach Matt Van Pelt (R) and the Vietnamese men’s basketball team win the country’s first-ever silver medal in 3x3 basketball at the 31st Southeast Asian Game in 2022. Photo: VBA
Coach Matt Van Pelt (R) and the Vietnamese men’s basketball team win the country’s first-ever silver medal in 3×3 basketball at the 31st Southeast Asian Game in 2022. Photo: VBA

In terms of club achievements, Van Pelt led the Saigon Heat to victory in the VBA championship last year.

This year, the coach and his team have been defending their title at the 2023 VBA finals.

Earlier this year, Van Pelt further excited fans by leading the Saigon Heat to their first-ever appearance in the final of the 2023 ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Invitational.

He documented his experiences and transformed them into an eBook titled “Hoopin’ Abroad: How to have a long, successful career playing professional basketball around the globe,”which is available on Amazon.

The Saigon Heat (in yellow) and Nha Trang Dolphins players compete in the 2023 VBA finals. Photo: VBA
The Saigon Heat (in yellow) and Nha Trang Dolphins players compete in the 2023 VBA finals. Photo: VBA

“Matthew Van Pelt is a professional basketball coach and recently retired professional basketball player from the United States with experience in the game of basketball in more than 25 countries,” reads the introduction to his eBook on Amazon.

“After spending the last decade traveling from one country to another, Van Pelt has gained an in-depth understanding of the international basketball market.”

Before this eBook came to life, Van Pelt honed his writing skills by contributing to a sports blog.

In a statement after his first three years in Vietnam, Van Pelt expressed that basketball in Vietnam, though relatively new compared to other Southeast Asian countries, has garnered significant affection and support.

According to him, the sport has shown remarkable progress, surpassing the expectations one would have for any Southeast Asian tournament.