By LARRY VAUGHT
Chicago junior guard Charles Matthews said playing in a high level league in Chicago has enabled him to “face a variety of teams and styles” during his career. He also thinks playing for coach Gary DeCesare, a former college coach, gives him an edge.
“He’s helped me a lot. I am used to coaches getting into me. We watch hours of film, go through walk-throughs, pick up tendencies. I am prepared already for doing all that in college,” Matthews said.
That’s why Matthews, who has verbally committed to UK, had no problem with John Calipari’s technicals and ejections in a game at South Carolina this year.
“That just showed me he gets fired up and wants to win and see his team do well. As a player, you like that,” Matthews said.
Matthews plays for the same AAU program that former UK star Anthony Davis did.
“I saw how well he played at Kentucky and won a championship and then was the first pick (in the NBA draft). All that impressed me,” Matthews said. “I also like how all the Calipari guys stay connected. It’s a good family atmosphere.”
He’s heard that from Chicago senior point guard Tyler Ulis, who signed with UK in November.
“We speak every week. I think he will be real good at Kentucky. He is a good defender, gets teammates to play for him and he plays for his team,” Matthews said. “It will be a tremendous chance for me to play with him at Kentucky, but it will also be very competitive. But we work well together. He can get in gaps and I am good with dribble penetration. He’s great at throwing lobs. We can both create plays for each other. Playmakers can always play with other playmakers. That works out well.”
He could see himself fitting well, too, with Mississippi guard Malik Newman, the top recruit in the 2015 class.
“We could play well together. He is a combo guard, too. He hit me up once I committed. So did a few other guys,” Matthews said.
Matthews admits he would like to be a one-and-done player in college, but he knows that’s not easy to do.
“Everybody’s goal and dream is to make the NBA, and Calipari has accomplished that with many players and hopefully I can be another one,” Matthews said. “But I’m not putting all my eggs in one basket. I would be okay staying two years or getting it done in three years. But of course my goal is to be one-and-done just like it is for most players.”