Report: Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews commits to Michigan

Dylan Burkhardt

Kentucky transfer Charles Matthews committed to Michigan today.

The news was first reported by ESPN’s Jeff Goodman.

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.


College breakdown via

High school footage via

Bottom Line

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.

  • Wayman Britt

    Great news. Beilein will improve his jump shot, I am just glad UM will have somebody who can play defensive. Love that he can guard 1 thru 4.

  • bobohle

    All Right!!! His defense will be a real plus.

  • jkuofm27

    In recruiting, big fish help catch other big fish. Hopefully this is a start of positive recruiting changes with the new staff. Not that it was terrible, but they definitely have missed on the larger targets the last few years. I love the athleticism and defensive focus that Matthews should bring.

  • Bigrange

    Hopefully we can bring in another athletic wing. There will be plenty of bigs but we need players like Wilkes or Bowen to solidify this team.

  • Champswest

    And the momentum continues to build. It’s great to be a Michigan Wolverine.

  • Tony DeMaria

    Out of curiosity, what percentage of top 100 prospects who transfer from high major school to another high major school end up successful? I am not trying to imply anything about Matthews transfer to UM, I’m happy about it, I am just curious as I can’t think of too many examples of this working out for teams, but I’m sure there’s actually a ton and I just have a horrible memory!

    • Kyle Wiltjer is a great example of a transfer out of Kentucky who was very successful.

    • Historyofviolence

      Michael Gbinige from Duke to SYRACUSE

      Robert Carter Georgia Tech to Maryland

      Rashieed Solomon – Duke To Maryland

      Rodney Purvis.

      That’s a few to name . You can also add Epe Udoh as well if you consider him a top recruit.

  • Fab 5 Legends

    i think this is a great transfer! he will be a contributer in this Michigan offense in my opinion…love his length, and seems like a tough player banging downlow for rebounds…he is a step above Audrey Dawkins overall…

  • Timothy David

    2017 roster with X, MAAR, Duncan, and now Matthews looks very promising. Big time pick up!

  • Historyofviolence

    This was a great pick up!!! No more talk about losing recruits to Xavier . This kid will be a pro. Cant wait to see how our roster shapes up in 2017! We have a right handed Bernard Robinson j.r!