Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews committed to Michigan today.
The news was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.
Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews is headed to Michigan, source told ESPN.
— Jeff Goodman (@GoodmanESPN) June 21, 2016
Matthews, a Chicago native, will have to sit out the 2016-17 season before having three years of eligibility in Ann Arbor.
The 6-foot-6, 189 pound guard played in every game for Kentucky last season, but saw limited minutes off the bench. He averaged 1.7 points and 1.6 rebounds per game.
Matthews posted some impressive measurables at Kentucky’s combine last fall. He checked in at 6-foot-5 without shoes and 6-foot-6 with shoes, boasted a 6-foot-9 wing span and a 41.5 inch max vertical. Those numbers, including an identical vertical, are very similar to how Glenn Robinson III measured at the NBA Draft Combine two years ago.
Matthews was the first commitment in Kentucky’s 2015 class and he was regarded as a top-25 prospect when he pledged to John Calipari. His stock fell gradually over the course of his high school career and he headed to Lexington ranked 59th in his class. That has the makings of an instant impact player at most schools, but at Kentucky he found himself lost on the bench behind a bunch of guys who will hear their name called at the NBA Draft on Thursday.
Matthews played in every game as an ‘energy guy’ off the bench, but he averaged less than 2 points and 2 rebounds per game. He shot the ball poorly — 46% on twos, 25% (1-of-4) on threes, and 41% on free throws, but most observers reported that he was someone who never could gain confidence in his first year of college basketball.
After undergoing a minor procedure on his hip in the offseason, Matthews opted to transfer.
“I believe he is going to be a productive college player who has the ability to play at the next level,” Calipari said in a news release. “I know Charles’ best basketball is ahead of him, and while I’m saddened to see him go, I support his decision and will help in any way I can.”
Michigan and Xavier quickly surfaced as contenders for Matthews’ services and after visiting each campus he pledged to the Wolverines.
High school footage via Krossover.tv:
When Matthews arrives on campus, he’ll immediately be the best athlete on Michigan’s roster. While the Wolverines would long for his athleticism on this year’s roster, he’ll have even more opportunity in 2017-18 when he gains eligibility and Derrick Walton and Zak Irvin graduate.
Matthews projects to the wing in Michigan’s offense, but he also should be the sort of player with the flexibility to guard multiple positions — perhaps from the one to the four. He has all of the tools to be an immediate impact role player, but if his jump shot can improve to poor to above-average, he has the physical tools to be a star in Michigan’s system.
Matthews also gives Michigan some additional flexibility with respect to the class of 2017. With a year of college basketball and a year of practicing in Ann Arbor, he should be more ready to play than just about anyone the Wolverines sign in the 2017 class. That will be useful given that the Wolverines will be losing a four-year and a three-year starter to graduation.
Michigan still has an additional scholarship open for this year’s roster, which at this point would likely have to be used on a graduate transfer, along with three spots in the class of 2017 and at least two in the class of 2018. Right now the Wolverines have one commitment and four offers outstanding in the class of 2017 and one offer in the class of 2018.