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February 26, 2014

Matthews is UK's latest five-star commitment

A new class, another five-star for John Calipari

Kentucky added its first commit to the 2015 class, when guard Charles Matthews popped for the Wildcats Wednesday morning at his Chicago St. Rita high school.

"When I graduate from St. Rita, I will be a student-athlete at Kentucky," Charles Matthews said in a ceremony that was streamed live online.

The 6-foot-5, 180-pound Chicago native cut his list Monday and had a final five of Kentucky, Kansas, Marquette, Michigan State and Illinois, but ultimately decided he wanted to play his college basketball in Lexington, Ky. Matthews is the No. 11 player in the 2015 Rivals150.

Matthews visited UK in September for the Kentucky Basketball Alumni Charity Game.

"I had a good gut feeling since I went there," Matthews said in a news conference after his announcement. "It was kinda pointless beating around the bushes with other coaches. That's the place I wanted to be."

And when Calipari visited Matthews on Monday and Matthews shortly announced later he wanted to commit, it seemed like that was the topic of conversation when Calipari visted.

Matthews said at his commitment presser that wasn't the case.

"I saw a lot of people thinking that but we didn't even talk about me committing," Matthews said. "He was just really there to let me know to keep playing hard and continue to getting better. Really showing support and coming up here.

"Committing wasn't even part of the talk, I just felt that was the place I wanted to be so I just went on and did it."

Big brother knows best and Matthews big brother, Dominique Matthews could see Kentucky was the right fit for Kentucky.

"I committed basically because of Dominique," Matthews said. "He told me 'There's not even no point they just keep on waiting on around, just go in there and get it done.'"

Throughout his recruiting process Matthews and others said that having a strong relationship with the coaching staff would be key.

And Matthews said Calipari made him feel comfortable.

"I just felt comfortable with the coaching staff," Matthews said. "I just thought I had a chance to get better and win and hopefully make it to the NBA afterwards."

And the decision to go to a school like Kentucky seemed like a no brainer to those close to Matthews.

"I think the history and tradition speaks for itself," Tim Anderson, Matthews' mentor, trainer and former coach said prior to the commitment. "And having the opportunity to play for someone who's going to coach you as hard, and give you that amount of freedom to play and showcase your talents is always a great thing for a high school kid."

Matthews is five-star No. 24 for Calipari since he took over the UK job in 2009. He has had 11 plays go pro after one year, but Calipari's track record with sending guys to the NBA isn't the main reason Matthews picked the Wildcats.

"Of course you know Kentucky is the poster child for getting kids to the next level, but Charles and his family don't consider Kentucky highly because of that," Anderson said. "They consider Kentucky highly because of the people there.

"You're going to get yourself to the next level. Those guys are going to give you a platform but you'll have to work your tail off."

Matthews will likely join his former AAU teammate Tyler Ulis in 2015, assuming Ulis sticks around for his sophomore season.
"Yeah, I spoke to Tyler," Matthews said. "That's my man so we talk a lot.

"…Yeah that will be a lot of fun. We had a lot of fun this recent summer with Meanstreets so looking forward to continuing that."

The two shared a backcourt for Meanstreets, a Chicago based AAU team. When Matthews arrives to UK, chemistry with other players will need to be established, but not with Ulis.

"The games where we had the opportunity to have both of them on the floor I think they played well together," Meanstreets coach Terrence Wilburn said. "Tyler looked for Charles a lot, especially at the rim. Charles got a lot of lobs from little Tyler. And Charles is one of those guys that wants the ball and needs the ball as well. I think it will fit well at Kentucky, but Charles is a go-to guy as well."

Now Matthews can put recruiting behind him. At least for himself. Now the recruited becomes the recruiter.

"I'm going to try and lure in some of the other top players from my class and hopefully we can get it done," Matthews said.

Minnesota NEWS


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